Well today is the day once again and if you are a mom or mom-adjacent, depending on your life situation you are either going to be reveling in the day, wishing it would never end or praying fervently for midnight to reach. I have been a mother for 15+ years and truthfully I have felt both depending on the year and the circumstance (2015 was rough). It so happens that in these 15+ years I have learnt (and am continuing to learn) things about my own mothering process that help me to understand my journey and accept the joys and challenges along the way. So here are five self-care type mantras that I keep in mind as a mother (it’s only five things and it won’t be long, I know you have to settle down to brunch, homemade cards that smell like glue, the forever recitation of ‘M is for the million things’….or that Boys II Men song on repeat):
- REMEMBER ON YOUR WORST DAY, YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST – I cannot emphasis enough how much this thought process has saved me and it is probably my number one motherhood affirmation that gets me through the challenging times. I believe in maintaining ah balance and I know some people don’t ascribe to it because it means that you are pushing yourself to achieve perfection in all areas in your life but for me it really means that I need to keep my eye on the ball even when it’s not in play. There are back to back days when I am killing it and there are back to back days of total failure. So when work overwhelms, house in disorder, physical self needs attention, gremlinz driving me up a blasted wall, I recognize things are off-kilter and acknowledge that I need to to put one ball down by my feet to keep the rest in the air. That is me, doing my best and keeping it balanced. I survived and tomorrow is another day. Now on the point of gremlinz and walls…
- REMEMBER YOUR CHILDREN, WHILE JOYFUL, SUCK THE VERY LIFE OUT OF YOU – This is the only reason that being a mother is a tiresome thing. The only reason. You gave them life, they need more. Whether it is physically where you feel like a cow on demand for the babies or mentally/emotionally where they drain your very soul, children are parasitic in nature and they know it. (I say that with love plus a nurse told me that in pre-natal clinic in 2008). The good news? They give you what they consider to be adequate time to restore. When you ask? That moment when you gaze at your baby’s smiling eyes making you forget the screaming and the nipple-tugging. That moment when your toddler is asleep and looks like an absolute angel who left a trail of destruction in his/her wake. That moment your teen gives you a random hug that brings tears to your eyes. Get it? Now as long as you have this in mind, you operate to suit.
- REMEMBER TO FIND YOUR TRIBE –
Motherhood is not a journey to trod alone. I know that there are some out there who have no choice but you really need someone. It may not be a village which is ideal but it may just be one tanty in the village. You need someone, this can’t be done on the lonesome. Your mind will play the most hurtful tricks on you and madness will set in. It’s like being alone in a desert or on a deserted island seeing mirages. You need at least a camel or volleyball to talk to. You may not have someone around you physically but you need someone (or two or village) to reach out to when you need it. Find your tribe.
4. REMEMBER TO BE SELFISH WHEN YOU NEED OXYGEN
Repeat after me: Self-care is not a luxury.
Self-care is a necessity. You can’t pour from an empty cup and all that. Motherhood by its very nature is a sacrifice of your womb, your vagina, your figure, your mind, your free time, your job, your tv, your snacks, your life! (See number 2 above). While sacrifice is necessary, again, operate to suit. There is a reason capitalism has snatched up ‘self-care’ and ‘me-time’, there is a need for it (and in the extreme sense they make you feel that you need it more than you actually do so you buy more bath bombs but I digress). Identify what brings you back to yourself and prioritize it. It does not have to be long baths, manicures, scented candles or wine (to be clear I’m lying on that last one, it MUST be wine, but again, I digress). Just know what it is that positively feeds your mind and soul and make it as important as feeding those blasted parasites.
5. I know I said four but REMEMBER TO CREATE THE LIFE THAT EXCITES YOU – This gem is not mine but it guides me daily. (Check out more gems from Reese Dennis, thanks mama!). This incorporates all of the above and then some. We aren’t all the same moms and we are not on the same journey. Some of us make this shit look realllll good (especially on social media) and some of us are floundering which is completely ok until it isn’t. I think it is CRITICAL that we don’t lose ourselves in this whole process and the very best of you is needed to show up for the rest of those who need you.
So I hope wasn’t too long as that it helps. to those of you who feel YAY! or MEHH today, I pray you have a restful and peaceful one. Your are the Divine in human form, so don’t forget that. Happy Mother’s Day!!!