Hey there young mom,
In this time that most of us are staying-at-home-trying-to-work-and-look-after-the-kids-at-the-same-time-moms it can be super frustrating to hear everyone around us talking about how this Corona time really gives us the chance to slow down and grow. What?! For you as mom it is probably busier than ever trying to juggle all balls at the same time and delivering quality in all departments. Staying sane is the number one priority. How will being selfish help you stay sane and become the best mom you can be?
As a mom of young children, having them around constantly is a blessing and a huge challenge at the same time. Of course you can see them grow up more close than if they were going to daycare or grandma and granddad while you work. You get to spend more time and play with them, connect with them closely. And you have enough cuddles in times where social distancing is the new norm.
But taking care of the children, the household AND work at the same time (and actually deliver the quality you want in each of those departments) is demanding.
You are always in the ‘ON’ mode, now more than ever and it may seem that going into the ‘OFF’ mode for a while and relax seems to be something of a distant time in the past.
To keep up the good work and most importantly to keep yourself sane, you must be selfish! And I mean this in the best way possible :-).
Let’s do a little experiment while you are reading. Give yourself a grade for your wellbeing at this moment between 1 and 10. Got it? Ok great, keep reading.
What does being selfish mean?
Most of us see being selfish as a bad thing. I know I did! But being selfish can actually be a good thing when you take in account that being selfish means the following:
Being selfish = being in touch with yourself, knowing your needs and your boundaries and honor them!
Be in touch with yourself
This may sound vague and spiritual, but being in touch with yourself is step number one to be the best version of you.
While you are reading this, how do you feel?
Can you feel your body as you are reading this?
What are the sensations and emotions that you are experiencing?
Just take a moment now to breathe in and out for three times and consciously feel what is going on.
In … out. In… out. In… out.
You probably feel a bit different than before you did that. More in touch with yourself. Even if you were confronted with sensations that you might not like so much, you are more connected and aware.
Know that whatever you experience, it is ok!
As a young mom you can get lost in getting things done and attend to what everybody else needs. Our bodies are literally wired to look after the children and respond to their every need. It is only logical that we tend to forget ourselves and our own needs in the process.
That is why it’s super important to be aware of this tendency and make sure we are in touch with ourselves as much as we can. Just taking a few deep breaths and feeling what is going on changes everything! I know it does for me and I encourage you to make it a habit to do this a few times every day, just to make sure you are in touch with whatever is going on for you. Hang up a sticky-note or put a reminder in your phone now if you must, to remind yourself to take a few conscious breaths now and again.
And when you do this, there is a chance the judging mind comes in and it always has an opinion about everything that is going on for you…
Realize that this most critical part of you only wants the absolute best for you. That is why these thoughts creep in. Judging thoughts are a way to create the desire to be better, to do better. The thing is, they don’t feel so good and they often discourage us in the process, so they have the opposite effect.
Allowing the thoughts and sensations you experience when you breathe to be whatever they are, without having to change them is key. Just breathe, tune in and allow and you’ll be more in touch with yourself.
Know your needs
What do you need?
Is it easy for you to answer this question right now?
Go on, answer it, what do you really need?
It isn’t always easy to know instantly. Especially when you are incredibly busy as a mom running around taking care of everyone else, it’s often difficult to answer this question. Do I need sleep, eat, a cup of tea, some time alone…? Maybe all of the above…
Notice that when you don’t know what you need you are not in touch with yourself. By not being in touch with yourself and not knowing what you need it is easier to get lost and not know where your boundaries are until it is too late. And we all know how that feels…
When you are in touch with yourself you can more easily feel what your needs are. So, take a breath, relax and observe what is going on for you right now. What are the sensations you are feeling? Observe any thoughts you have and allow anything to be there, without having to change anything. Ask yourself again: What do I need?
Trust that whatever is coming up for you in whatever way, it is ok.
It’s a big step to know your needs, and honoring them is the next. Some needs can be easily met within minutes, others are somewhat challenging and sometimes simply not possible.
When you really need a holiday, but you don’t have the time, money or opportunity to travel, this is not possible at all. In such a case, ask yourself what it is that you want to get from this need. In case of a holiday that could be relaxing on a beach and calming down with your family. Be creative and see if you can find another way to get this need met. For instance, you could go to your local lake for the afternoon. If it is quality time with your family that you actually desire, you can plan time to do something fun together. Whatever comes up for you that you need, see if you can make it as easy and attainable as possible.
Of course, when you are clear on your needs, it’s not always possible to get what you need instantly. When you really need a yoga class or do some stretching for instance, but it is the middle of the day and you also want to do cleaning, cooking, some work and your child doesn’t want to sleep, it is hard!
In those moments, you can plan what you need, like time for a yoga class, in a moment that will work for you in the near future. Carve time out of your schedule in the evening, the weekend, to take an hour for yourself and do what you most need. Only the planning ahead and knowing that your needs will be met soon, will give you instant calm in your head and your body.
And then follow up and take that time to do what you need. This will give you the chance to recharge yourself, regain the energy that you need so much to keep the day-to-day business as a mom running. The tendency of most mothers is to give, give, give. To keep a healthy balance, there must also be time to take in and relax.
By knowing your needs and honoring them you take the chance to recharge yourself. You taking time to recharge creates a healthy balance for yourself and therefore for your family. It is super important that you are healthy and balanced in order to be the best mom you can be.
So mom, are you clear on what you need? Plan to take the time for it in your schedule right now!
Respect your boundaries
When was the last time you crossed your boundaries?
Were you aware of the moment that it happened, or was it in hindsight you realized?
What happens for you when you cross your boundaries?
It is so important to respect your own boundaries to keep performing optimally and be the best version of yourself. When you are crossing your boundaries, you usually get presented with the bill pretty soon after. We usually realize this too late when they have been crossed (again!). Yep, first class experience here!
Unconsciously crossing boundaries isn’t helpful for anyone. Not for yourself and not for your environment. If you cross your boundaries and are confronted with the results such as being exhausted, getting a headache, feeling anything but your best self or even worse, your family will also be affected.
It is a challenge to respect your boundaries with all your ambitions and getting your wish list for the day done in the small amount of time you have, of course delivering excellent quality in everything you do.
The first step is to know your boundaries, which is a difficult thing in itself for a lot of us. Being in touch with yourself and knowing your needs will help you determine where your boundaries are. You will feel if they are close or if you are in your comfort zone by how you feel.
When you tune in and you are feeling great, you are definitely in the comfort zone. When you tune in and you feel a little tired and could use a shower, but taking one tonight also feels ok, you are within your limits and there is some stretch there. When you tune in and you feel a headache coming up and you are craving coffee, but don’t even feel you have time to make it, you are definitely reaching or crossing a boundary.
Wherever you are on the spectrum between comfort zone and way past your boundaries, you know best where your boundaries are. By practicing to tune in and name your needs, you will become more aware of them. When you know where your boundaries are, you will feel more in charge to stay within your own limits by honoring your needs and recharge in time, creating a healthy balance.
Sometimes you just don’t have any choice but to cross your boundaries. When you have a sick child that needs extra care and wants to drink from your breast constantly, there simply isn’t time or space to meet your own needs at that moment. There are different priorities in such times and chances are that your boundaries are crossed.
It will make all the difference when you are conscious that you cross them and know why, while being in touch with yourself. Try being curious for all the sensations and feelings that come along with crossing your boundary and accepting them without having to change them. This will give you the resilience to bounce back quickly into your comfort zone the moment you can, without some of the nasty side effects of crossing boundaries unconsciously.
Whenever you can, respect your boundaries!
Mom, be your best self and be selfish
How good does it feel to be in touch with yourself, know your needs and your boundaries and to honor them? Pretty good right?!
Make it a daily practice to tune in a few moments a day, to meet your needs and respect your boundaries. This will help you to be the best version of yourself: energetic, balanced and healthy, feeling good.
When you feel good, this radiates on to your family, your co-workers and your partner. What is the best for you is also the best for them, even though in the moment it sometimes is hard to take time for yourself. In the long run this will definitely be more sustainable for you.
Know that by taking care of yourself you become the best version of you. From that place you take better care of your environment and you can fully share the amazing being that you are. As a mother, as a partner, as colleague, as the authentic you!
Take care of your needs and plan them right now if you haven’t done yet and fully enjoy the results.
And to finish that experiment, give yourself a grade for your wellbeing right now between 1 and 10 again. Did it change since you started reading? I hope so!
If it did, I have two actions for you to keep the good vibes up:
- Share your take-away from this article and leave a reply
- Think of the first dear person that comes to mind who could use inspiration and send the link to this article to them, or share it on your social pages
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