Where do we learn how to take care of ourselves? I've been ponding this lately as I feel my way through my parenting journey and really feeling the discomfort it has bought to me that maybe I'm not as good at taking care of myself as I thought.
You see I know that I need to be good to take care of my children and family but what does 'good' mean? For me it means vital, that I have vitality and the energy to meet all the needs of my families and my own. Well right there I know that I am not 'good' by my definition. So that leads me to talking about having our own definitions of 'good' and what that means for us. I feel it will change as we go through different phases of our life and it is important that we know what 'good' means so that we are not trying to be something to live up to someone elses or societies view of 'good'.
For example last year I had my third baby so it was a real year of adjustment, going slow and being kind to ourselves and not feel like we were not doing enough. You see I have always been on the go, love working, striving to achieve a goal and while that was still important for me last year, the goals were much simpler.. like doing the grocery shopping once a week :) Making sure the goal met me where I was at with the demands and responsibilities I had in my life and not trying to train for half marathon or do something too physically demanding as I knew I would be setting myself up to fail.
Now I would like to feel vital and I am learning through study, being retrospective and talking to lots of Mummas on how we can take better care of ourselves and discovering why we haven't been able to do so with ease once we start having our babes.
Our society has a lot to answer for, I feel we don't give the role that parents, mothers, fathers play enough credit and support that is required from every aspect of life... from family, friends, community and where we work. We have unrealistic expectations on what we should be doing as Mothers in this age as our mothers and mothers before us never really spoke openly about the challenges of being a mother and where more support was needed. It never saw the light of day and as a result we didn't have the modelling of what it meant to take care of ourselves so we could take the kind of care we want to for our families. I personally cant ever remember seeing my Mother say what she needed or having a certain time in the week that was time for her that was supported by my Dad. I grew up in a family unit where the love was big but it was strained, my Mother was trying so hard to be everything for her kids that she totally neglected herself. I always get told that it was the times, that's how it was done. Dad worked 6 days a week and in the process mountains of resentment and unspoken needs not being met lead to big meltdowns and eventually the marriage ended. I know that is not everyone's experience but I can almost guess that needs not being met was happening in the majority of family dynamics.
What I have learned is 1. To check in with myself daily - and asking myself how am I feeling (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) and feeling where I need a top up.
2. If my kids are out of whack chances are I'm the one who is and they are feeling off my energy so I need to change something
3. To take my supplements before I give my children there's - otherwise I will forget myself or get distracted!
4. Check in with my husband to connect and discuss if more space needs to be created for self-care
5. I tell my children that I am having some 'Mummy time' I am starting the dialog now and creating healthy role modelling for them and creating space for me.
I know our journey is forever changing and we are evolving. I look forward to being kinder to myself, checking in with myself more often and asking for what I need and not expecting anyone else to just 'know' what that might be, I am sure my husband will be stoked with the last one!!