As a partner and mother, I show up for my family regularly and consistently, and most of the time without complaining, even when I don’t want to or it feels like too much. Sometimes the day-to-day grind of motherhood is so all-consuming, draining, and exhausting that it leaves very little space for showing up for myself. After all… who wants to add another item to the ol’ checklist?!
Do you find that it’s hard for you to set up breaks? Schedule doctor/therapy/dentist/hair/massage/etc. appointments for yourself, and then actually GO to them? Keep commitments you’ve made with family and friends? Keep promises to yourself about self-support efforts (sleep/exercise/fueling your body/rest/play)?
Mama, you are not alone.
I get it. It’s soooooo hard to prioritize things that are good for us as whole-human beings. And so often we KNOW the thing is good for us, and it’s still hard to do the thing.
Here are some reasons I have found TO DO THE THING especially when I don’t want to:
- I matter, and my well-being is important. Full stop. I want you to repeat this one.
- Keeping my promises and commitments to myself builds self-trust and self-respect.
- Modeling. I don’t want to reinforce the current cultural motherhood stereotypes – I want my daughter and my sons to know that women and mothers taking care of their own needs is common, normal, and expected.
Where to Start
- Small. I like to make sure my expectations and the commitments I’m making are realistic and doable. I work hard not to overcommit. And in the cases that I do overcommit, I’m much more likely to adjust my expectations and/or commitments to match my current capacity.
- Be picky. I frequently remind myself that every time I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else. This is one of my golden rules when it comes to setting boundaries, and I no longer say yes to things out of a sense of obligation. The cost is far too high and this helps me be accountable to protecting my time. It can be so easy to fall into people-pleasing to accommodate others and break our plans with ourselves. If it’s on the calendar, or even if it’s not but it’s important for you, make it non-negotiable and do your best to protect that time that you have carved out for YOU.
- Do it anyway. If you’re anything like me, you often set plans with friends, initially feel a lot of excitement, but as the day moves closer, excitement is replaced with impending dread. One of two things happens now – you break the plans and perhaps feel initial relief but also some guilt, or you decide to push through that dread and go anyway. Often, in situations where I know I’m going for me and not only out of a sense of obligation to others and I can push myself over that hump of dread, I end up feeling glad that I went and my cup is a little bit fuller.
What does showing up look like for you?
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