I vaguely remember the days where I could clean my house only once a week and it was actually tough to find things to cook for one person. Whatever I wanted, I did, and there were really few constraints. Now, I cook and clean for three and there are always caregivers, family, and playdates filling up the house.
My world of few constraints is gone, and it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle. But, through it all, there is a constant reminder within me to take care of myself so that I can serve others. For me, this extends far beyond self-care and into maintaining a sense of identity and growth. This consciousness around creating space for myself stems from seeing my mother overgive in her life to the point that it hurt her happiness and health.
I’ve seen role-models of mothers who appear put together, work out, have a life mission they are chasing, and still keep up with their home life. This feels right. But it’s also super easy to forget about yourself in the midst of it all and lose yourself to being busy all the time. When there are so many duties and little voices requesting your attention it’s nice to have reminders to also take a few minutes to take care of yourself, and sometimes that means saying no to the constant pull for your attention.
Within all of the Could you…?, Should you…?, and Mommy, I want…’s it can be hard to ask yourself, What do I want? But you have to! See, I’ve seen what happens when you don’t: depression, reaching for identity, health issues, worry, lack of sleep, regret. You don’t want the moment your kids go off to college to be the first time in a decade that you’ve checked in with yourself, and your kids don’t want that for you either!
No child wants to see their parent diminished by duties and tasks. They don’t want to see their parents deteriorated by lack of self-care. Or, to see their parents cry because they aren’t living a life that fills them with joy. What they want is to walk beside a parent that takes a little bit of time out of a life of service to fill up themselves! They want parents who live lives they can continue to be in awe of after the childhood admiration wears off. They want parents who are examples of the life they want for their children: examples of prosperity, joy, and health which come from the conscious prioritization of one’s own care and growth.
So, take a moment today and ask yourself, What do I want? If it’s a few moments alone, find a healthy way to take time for yourself, and I’m not talking about hiding from your children in the restroom! Take on the task of creating a stress-free space that allows you to decompress and grow so that your whole self can help the whole beings you are raising.
This may take creativity and vulnerability. There were certainly times I held in my need for “me-time” because I was too scared and too proud to drop my little one off with a friend or childcare provider. But, once I gave myself permission to let go of being the person who was always there, always caring, always creating ideal scenarios for everyone else, I started seeing creative partnerships and investments in myself that paid back a million-times in joy because I was actually able to enjoy the time I did have with my child and husband because I gave myself the space I needed to nourish my needs. And, as a result, we are all happier!
It’s your turn to give yourself permission to make space for yourself. You can be an amazing mom who also does yoga, eats well, reads books, and goes to the restroom by herself (sometimes)! Take inventory of what you need so that you can start creating space for your own growth and ultimately live a better, happier life that your kids will be proud and happy to be a part of.