Do you put yourself first?
[SELF-CARE] [SELF-LOVE] [FAMILY LIFE] [MOTHERHOOD]
When I graduated from Architecture School, I weighted 81 lbs. When I resigned to my first full-time job, I was suffering from gastritis. By the time my firstborn turned one, I was an emotional mess in the brink of a depression. As you can read, I’ve never been good at self-care. This year my son turns 10 years old, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned in the last decade regarding the balance of motherhood and self-care.
I didn’t take that lesson.
I don’t blame Motherhood about my lack of self-care habits. Of course, that turning into a mom worked like a magnifying glass and made the lack of nurturing more significant and evident. However, I also recognize that I wasn’t conscious of the need for taking care of myself. Self-care wasn’t a topic that we talked or practice in my family or that I had the chance to study at school.
By the time I had my second child, it was evident that I needed to take care of myself. Even though my body seemed to work well, my mind and emotional being were hurting badly. I was starting to resent my husband and to regret every decision that I’ve had made in the last ten years. In the middle of that pain and in what I now consider a revelatory moment in my life I heard: “You have to take care of yourself.”
“Under the excuse of motherhood, and being an immigrant, I’ve had abandoned my inner self. I had a black hole inside of me, and like a car without fuel, I needed to recharge.”
I made the decision to listen to what I’ve had heard, and in small steps, I started to put myself in the center of my day, and fill it with small recharging rituals. I began to listen more to my body and soul and brought into my life more of what made me feel alive. Many years later I can share the five most essential strides that I still use to recharge:
- I start my day in silence. Every day I wake up at least 30 minutes before my family. I use this time to focus on myself and my needs through meditation, exercise, and reading.
- I connect daily with what brings me joy. Next time I will tell you the story of my Abuela’s earrings, but for now, I can tell you that every day I choose an outfit that makes me feel beautiful. No matter the agenda I’m wearing nice clothes and earrings!
- I take Mom Vacations. Once a year I leave my kids and partner and travel with friends. Traveling without family gives me the opportunity to rest and to get to know myself more deeply. It requires a lot of planning and overcoming guilt but is worth it.
- I connect with people that I admire. I regularly join women’s events and gatherings. I plan coffee dates and mom’s night out with friends. Just listening to other women stories and experiences makes me feel in perspective and inspired.
- I say NO. The four previous habits don’t occur by luck. Like any woman, I have multiple roles to fill, so I carefully plan my self-care space as part of my day, and I often say no to things that will work against it. I put myself first.
I don’t write this as a recipe that everyone should follow. This is meant to be more like an invitation to look up in your life and identify those rituals, moments or spaces connected with your self-care. As a mom, I want you to dedicate this upcoming Valentine’s season to put your own personal care and self-love first, and to invite other moms to do the same.
Are you willing to help me? Share your self-care story on social media with the hashtag #momfirst
Do you want to join a community of joyful and empowered moms like you? Subscribe to emme here!