I wanted to talk to you about something that resonate with me very deeply. The unspoken taboo of taking care of yourself being a mum. It is something that I struggled with after having my first born, and still is something that I have to make a conscious effort to work towards.
My struggle to accept that self care is vital
After having my son, I was so overwhelmed with how much I loved him. I knew I would love my kids, but did not imagine just how much! I felt guilty to do anything for myself. I thought to be a great mum, I had to do everything for my son. I didn’t want to be away from my son, not for one second unless it was aaaaaaaaaabsolutely necessary.
Eventually, I completely neglected myself and could not care less what I looked like! If it was acceptable to run errands in pyjamas, I would. I just didn’t care. I completely forgot how to take care of myself. All my focus and attention was on him.
Having said that, I would dress appropriately if I was going to church or events, however, I didn’t (and still struggles) to accept why I should make efforts if I am not going to anywhere special??? In my mind, I was only completing errands and it didn’t matter. That’s when I’ll see people I have not seen for a while and will suddenly feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. So I guess somehow, I knew it was not appropriate to walk around looking like a zombie just because I am mum.
What changed my mindset
I feel like as young girls especially if you’re from an traditional and ethnic background as myself, we have been taught that as mothers, we are to completely focus on the needs of our family. Taking care of our own needs and putting ourselves first seems to be frowned upon.
However, I began realising that not taking care of myself first left me out of balance. After having my daughter, something just changed. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be her role model. However, I really forgot how to take care of myself. I forgot to love myself, so suddenly I was looking and depending on my nearest and dearest to fill that void. Hence, I placed so much expectation on others to make me happy.
It’s responsible to take care of you first
After my confidence level broke down, I had to coach myself, and everyday I make a conscious effort to make sure I take care of me. I am not there yet. Its a journey that I have decided to embark on recently. It’s still very much a learning curve.
I learnt, though as shallow and cliche as it may be, if you look good you feel good. It doesn’t need to break the bank. Simple things like getting the kids to bed early enough so I can do things I love like blogging, reading the bible and movies all made such a difference. Once in a while I will link up with my girls and go out for a meal or have a girls night in. I don’t feel guilty or afraid to do those things anymore. I deserve it.
I realised eventually that, the happier I became, the better I was as a mother. It may not be a tangible reality for my family but from experience I realised that when I am stressed and sad, that vibe dominated the house. And when I am not stressed or miserable, it yields the opposite effect.
Don’t get me wrong
I am not saying that we need to disregard our children and everyone. However, you have to be as good to you as you want to be to your children.
You need to be in a better shape, especially mentally in order for you to truly take care of your family. You cannot give what you don’t have. Ever heard of the saying ‘misery loves company’. You need to have love to give love. Happy mum – happy baby/child/family.
I am speaking to myself as I write this now. I want to stress that I haven’t got the hang of it yet (so if you ever bump into me somewhere looking a hot mess, eerm yhh it’s a journey!). However, I am making a conscious effort to change my mindset and educate myself so I can support my family the best way I can.
Thanks for reading! Remember sharing is caring 🙂