Mama, are you last on your priority list? Do you make sure everyone and everything else is taken care of before you are?
If you are nodding your head, you are not alone. Prioritizing ourselves as mothers is challenging! Modern motherhood is not easy and there are so many expectations, pressures, societal norms and practical barriers that get in the way. However, prioritizing yourself is essential. It allows you to show up in your life as the best version of yourself, be there for others, and do great, meaningful work. It is also imperative to your health and well-being.
If you keep giving and doing everything for others and putting your own needs last, eventually your tank will be empty. You won't have anything else to give. It is all too easy to become resentful, exhausted, and disconnected from who you want to be, all of which can negatively impact the exact people you are trying to care for – namely, your children. It is necessary to get your own needs met to continue to be there fully for them.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but spending time looking after yourself makes you less selfish and actually kinder, more compassionate and able to hold space for others more easily; whereas, when you are depleted, overwhelmed or chronically stressed, you are going to be more selfish and have less capacity to be there for others.
If you are not already convinced that you should prioritize yourself for your own sake, consider doing so for your children. Taking care of yourself is an essential part of taking care of your children because your kids deserve the best version of you – the one that is vibrant, happy and well. Heck, your partner, friends and the future of the world deserve this version of you too. Your health and happiness are the greatest gifts you can give your children. When you are healthy and happy, you show up, respond to and engage with your kids from a completely different place than when you are exhausted, stressed and unwell.
What do you want your kids to learn from you? Your actions speak loudly. If your kids are anything like mine, they notice EVERYTHING you do – including those habits that you weren't even conscious of yourself. Be the example for your kids. Better yet, live the example for your kids. I say this not to add more pressure but to motivate. Often, we need bigger reasons outside of ourselves to make and sustain changes. And I know as a mom myself, there is no greater motivation than to help my little ones.
Taking care of yourself is the best way you can take care of your kids – and don't forget it. You cannot give what you want to your kids if you have nothing left in you to give. You will struggle to be a vibrant, playful and present mom if you are not adequately tending to your own health and needs.
What are some ways that you can start prioritizing yourself? Start small. Pack yourself a lunch as you pack your little ones'. Take a couple of deep breaths before tending to your frustrated preschooler. Ask your partner to clean up after dinner tonight. Book in a yoga class once a week.
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