Self Love. Love thy Self.—When speaking about motherhood, we often graze pass the importance of first loving yourself in order to be the best example of love for your own child. Motherhood goes far beyond a role. It’s who you are and what you are. Motherhood has so much to do with our ways of thinking, acting, and everything else in between. It’s a state of being. Regardless of whether you are new at this or seasoned, motherhood requires that we give up an extension of ourselves to another human being in order to teach them, nurture them, and love them in ways that help them develop and be their best selves. But how can they love themselves any better than we love our own selves? We are supposed to lead by example, right?
“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.”
– Cardinal Mermillod
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One thing that I’ve realized after becoming a mother myself is that it is so easy to lose yourself in the process. I guess for some mothers, they don’t have the luxury of struggling with this much, but for the mamas who have been through this, I understand. Juggling a little one, coping with your body changes (both good + bad), balancing your career (if applicable), while watering your aspirations (hopes + dreams), along with Life’s daily demands, can definitely be hard at times. This is especially true if you’re holding it down by yourself (perhaps as a single mom). I definitely know how hard those first few months (and maybe even years) can be. Fortunately, some women don’t have to fight through too many issues, but then there are those who struggle daily to push through physical (and mentally) changes that leave them barely grasping for air. It’s real. It’ a real fight. And it’s so easy to get lost in the routine and focus of another person (often neglecting yourself in the process), and so many other things that have to manage. However, it’s so important that we realize the power of self-love. As a mom of a toddler, I’m learning to take a few moments for myself in between it all. The only way that I can give my little guy the best in all areas is by being the best in those areas myself. That means that I must educate myself in the best way possible on the things that I’m unsure of (whether it be in parenting or anything else for that matter), take a few minutes to relax, engage in activities that I love + enjoy, and anything else that boosts my psyche in a positive way!
As a mother, it’s super important to do the things that keep you sane. Don’t leave yourself subject to the constant hustle and never giving your body, mind, and soul a chance to recover and refresh. I’ve learned that it’s OK to need a bit of time to just unwind. Don’t place any guilt on yourself for needing it either. Trust me, I do understand the guilt that comes with motherhood and trying to get this thing RIGHT! But I’m accepting that it’s a long journey that will have a series of hiccups and laughter, too. You won’t always know the answer. You may make mistakes. And you may even be a bit confused or frustrated with the way things happen sometimes. But always know that you and so many other mothers (including myself) have struggled or is currently struggling with this. There’s no manual to parenting. There’s so much to do and learn, but it’ll all fall into place soon enough. Just continue to do what feels right for you and your child. You’ll start to see the fruits of your labor.
More importantly, as I’ve previously mentioned, taking care of yourself somewhere in between the billion and one things that you have to do is a must. Whatever that looks like for you doesn’t matter. Do what works—as long as you leave feeling a couple notches higher in your relaxation. It could be something extremely simple or something that grabs a good chunk of your time throughout the day (planned perfectly of course!). It’s all about what works for you, mama. So here are a few of my suggestions that I’ve done so far:
Clean your house or apartment.
This always works for me. Cleaning is such a destressor for me personally and I often enjoy redecorating and moving things around for a revamped look. Being creative makes me happy! Plus, I love to play music while cleaning, so I get a good “two for one” moment. Haha!
Self-love mantra: “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.”
This one seems kind of weird for most, but it’s important to understand the power of our words. If you’re anything like me, you may sometimes rehearse all the things that could, has, or will go wrong; or even how much you didn’t perform in a specific area that you wanted to (even as a mother). However, it’s super important to rehearse the good. While we don’t always have the benefit of being THE BEST AT EVERYTHING, we must understand that our best is still good enough! This leaves less room for the bad and it gives you clarity on how to better react to the things that may not always happen the way that we’d hope, whether it be in motherhood or life.
Any women’s favorite two words. TREAT YOURSELF, Mamas! Feel free to have that extra slice of cake. Buy that bag. Get those pair of shoes or whatever else that would illuminate your moment. I often use my “me time” while at the nail salon and treat myself to an entire spa experience. It’s a great way to relax while also building your self-esteem and mindset toward self-love and you take care of yourself in every way possible in the process.
Try something new: dance classes, cooking lessons, yoga.
Sometimes you just need to try something new and revisit the parts of yourself that dared to be adventurous. Most things that produce a “fun feeling” are also helping us to see the positives within ourselves, which boosts our self esteem. More importantly, doing something new or different creates another thing to look forward to and makes us feel free from the requirements that we have to fulfill daily.
Let go of comparison to others.
The most important of all (to me, anyway!)-Letting go of the comparison to others. This especially happens in motherhood, when we find ourselves comparing the way we raise our child, the things we give them, or the experiences we create. Often times, I see mothers who compare breastfeeding timelines or the food their child eats compared to another. Perhaps, you compare your child’s development to other kids their age or maybe your family’s lifestyle, etc. All in all, the best type of self-love that you can give to yourself is by not comparing your haves + have-nots to someone else’s. This in turn teaches your little one to accept themselves and what they posses. Understand that you are enough and that no one is YOU and that is your power!
There you have it! 5 Hacks to Practicing Self-Love in Motherhood (And in General)!
“It is not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you are not.”- Self
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Are you practicing self-love? Anything specifically that you do?
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