The Elephant in the Playroom

There’s an elephant in the playroom that is plaguing mothers everywhere. In the age of Pinterest, mommy groups, and social media, women are feeling pressure more than ever to live up to the impossible 2018 standards of motherhood. There is a cult-like praise around women who devote their entire selves to their parenting journey and it’s tricking mothers into believing that they need to lose themselves in order to be a successful parent.

Ladies, listen up.

Taking care of yourself does not make you a terrible, selfish mother. In fact, several studies have actually shown higher levels of happiness and lower levels of anxiety in children whose parents participate in regular self-care.

Think of yourself as a glass.

The more you fill yourself up, the more you have to give. But if you never replenish your water source, you eventually empty. The tiny water spots that remain evaporate, and you have nothing left to give but an empty cup.

An empty cup can look like a lot of different things.

When you’re empty, you may find that you’re more tired than usual and you may be reaching for that extra cup (or three) of coffee to get yourself through the day.

You might forget to eat throughout the day, causing you to binge later on or skim the leftover chicken nuggets on your kid’s plate instead of fueling your body with the nutrients it desperately needs.

Maybe empty for you looks like distraction. You scroll on social media and checkout because you’re drained and just can’t muster up the energy to play with anymore blocks or read another story.

An empty glass will look different for everyone but you’ll know it when it happens, and unfortunately so many women continue on empty because they feel like that’s just how it’s supposed to be.

The phrase, “the days are long but the years are short” gets thrown around like a badge of honor, but in truth, we are not meant to only enjoy our lives in hindsight.

Mama, it is time to stop putting yourself on the shelf. You are worthy of the joy you want your own children to possess, and the best way to for them to learn what true happiness looks like is to show them through your own personal life.

Children are sponges, the kind that absorb both the words and actions of those who surround them. Showing them a mother who regularly partakes in activities to better love and care for herself is one of the most powerful things you can do for them.

Don’t let your glass collect dust while your children and your life grow and pass before your eyes. Fill that beauty up and feel the cool rush of joy flood through you.

I know it can be hard to break the habit of shelving yourself, which is why I’ve included a few ideas to help get you started below.

5 Ways to Add Self-Care Into Your Daily Routine

  1. Set your morning intentions. Keep a notebook by your bed and before your feet even hit the floor, grab your journal and write down an intention for your day, followed by three things you are grateful for.

  2. Take a deep breath. As a mom, you always have a ton of things to do, so check in with your body regularly. Am I tense? Is my mind spinning? How am I breathing? Schedule a set time to practice abdominal breathing. This is a quick exercise of 3-5 quality breaths that you can do in the morning after you wake up, or right before lunch. It's up to you! Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, sending your body into relaxation (fat-loss) mode regardless of how many errands you have on your plate.

  3. Meditate. You don’t have to meditate for hours to get great, calming results. Apps like Headspace allow you to do quick, guided meditations under 10 minutes. You can also check out YouTube for some great ones.

  4. Journal. Sometimes the best way to take care of ourselves is to simply put all of our thoughts down on paper. Don’t filter yourself and instead, let your heart spill out on those pages and see how relieving it is.

  5. Fuel your body. Block out a small chunk of time once a week to prepare your meals in advance. That way, you aren’t skipping meals or grabbing junk because you don’t have time. When you feed your body well, it thanks you for it by increasing your energy levels, lowering your stress, and helping you lose fat which gives you more confidence.

When you became a mom, you decided to do one of most noble, difficult things in the world. But that doesn’t mean you should lose yourself. Remember, the more you fill your cup, the more you can give. You’ve got this, mama.

Elizabeth Reyes