Carving out time for you, being honest and realistic, taking stock of your own needs and desires, and getting support along the way can lead to more conscious and joyful mothering.
1. Be More Selfish
The selfish I’m talking about is taking time out for YOU. In being more selfish we model self-care for our kids. When we give unconditionally we rob our children the opportunity to practice independence and responsibility. They learn from us when we say, “Mommy needs a time out.” Or, “Mommy needs to go exercise so I’m more relaxed and feel better.” Putting ourselves first replenishes us so we can ultimately be more present and attentive to our children. How can you be more selfish?
2. Tell It Like It Is
Life is difficult and scary for us adults too. In trying to make our kids happy we try to shield them from all types of disappointment. We don’t cancel the playdate. We don’t postpone the party. We console them with distractions like gifts or treats. This is actually the bad kind of selfish– we can’t bear to see them suffer. It’s about our needs and inability to deal with disappointment, not theirs. Let them cry, complain, even shout. And be there for them. Remind them that it won’t feel like this forever. It is human to feel disappointed, sad and angry. What could you be more honest with your children about? How can you help them be more flexible and resilient?
3. Embrace Your Envy
Now we know it doesn’t serve us to compare ourselves to other moms and still we do. Instead of ignoring your envy, take it as information about your needs. Don’t push it away and pretend you don’t feel it or that your shouldn’t feel that way because it’s wrong. Denying your envy makes it stronger. Plus you miss an opportunity to tune into what’s true for you. I’m not saying let it consume you, I’m saying interpret it as a signal about what you need. Notice when the green monster emerges. What does that person have that you want? What’s missing? What shifts can you make to feel more fulfilled and happy? (Read more.)
4. Be More Like Dads
I know this is a generalization, but I’m going to say it anyway. Many of the dads I have come across don’t have a problem asking for help—when dealing with their kids, that is. I don’t know if it’s because parenting has historically been viewed as a woman’s domain. When dads ask for help they often do so without apology. There seems to be no shame, it’s a matter of fact. They find ways to not have to do it all on their own. We moms often think we’re supposed to have it all together. We’re supposed to be self-sufficient and competent at all costs. Who are we to think we don’t need and deserve help? What are the ways you can invite more loving support in your life?
Which one of these will you try?
With love, Eloiza