I don’t think so. I’m sure you’ll put enough calories in your body to physically live but I see Mamas, time and time again, barely surviving through each day. Parenting has become an exhausted struggle and the result is often rage that surfaces suddenly and fuels shame and guilt; or it is a desire to run away and opt out. This isn’t living.
If you’ve been on an aeroplane you’ll know that, during the safety announcement, they insist that you put your own oxygen mask on before you help anyone else. The reason is that you risk your own life, and those of others, if you don’t first take care of your own need for breathable air.
You also can’t pour from an empty teapot. Imagine that you are the teapot and your children are cups. If you don’t have any tea in you because you were so busy ensuring there was tea in the cups but you didn’t add fresh teabags and water then everyone runs dry.
Self Care is two fold:
- Meeting your essential needs
- Creating a Sanctuary
Let’s keep this simple. I think there are five basic needs that we all have and we can focus on these to begin with. I want you to look at how you are meeting these needs in yourself more than in your children – primal instinct should ensure that you don’t neglect your children.
- Eat nourishing food
- Drink plenty of water
- Make time for rest/sleep
- Move your body, outdoors ideally
- Connection – with others and with yourself
My experience is that when life gets challenging in some way my self care is the first thing that goes out the window. I’ll turn to sugary foods, I’ll stop exercising and I’ll faff on Facebook instead of going to bed at a reasonable time or enjoying a quiet cup of tea with a good book.
Creating a Sanctuary
Do you have a space in your home that you can retreat to? It could be a chair in your living room with a lovely throw, some cushions and a couple of candles. It might be your bedroom – decluttered, fairy lights and bedding that excites you. Perhaps it’s an outdoor space that you love to go to, hug a tree and listen to nature.
These spaces are so important. They say to us, “I am important. I am valued. I am loved. I am worthy. It is safe for me to honour myself.”
I’ve recently been reading a lot about the Danish concept of Hygge. I can’t get enough of it actually! It is the act of creating cosy experiences, togetherness and intimacy. We can do this for ourselves and I think that cosy experiences, togetherness and intimacy with ourselves is exactly what I mean by creating your sanctuary.
Don’t try and change everything at once!
If you are stuck in rage or a desire to run for the hills, look at the list of your essential needs and choose one to focus on. Choose the one that feels easiest and excites you in some way. That is a wonderful Yes to yourself. As that becomes an easier part of your daily self care then move on to another essential need. And through this process of small steps, look for opportunities to create your sanctuary.
I’d love to help you if you need me too. There can be lots of reasons why we are resistant to prioritising a Yes to ourselves. In my one-to-one work with clients we get to the bottom of these issues and clear them out using EFT and other energy techniques. I would love to help you experience transformation so that you can thrive instead of survive as a parent. If you’d like to explore this work with me, book a free 30 minute call here.