Self-care is something many mothers forget about. Many of us focus on our families’ well-being most and we don’t have much time and energy left to even think of looking after our own needs. However, self-love is something we can (and ought to!) practice on an every-day basis, actually every minute of our day.
How was your day? How are you feeling?
Tired? Frustrated because of what your kids did? Angry because of what your kids didn’t do?
Or maybe happy, because you or your family have achieved something great or you’ve done something fun?
Whatever they are, your emotions are important. Your emotions are a way in which your body wants to tell you something. Emotions aren’t good or bad. They’re information.
Listen to your body
What is it telling you? Don’t push them away even if your emotions aren’t pleasant.
If you’re sad, it means something bad has happened. You have the right to feel sad.
If you’re afraid, it means something’s threatening your safety. You have the right to feel afraid.
If you’re frustrated, it means your expectations haven’t been met. You have the right to feel frustrated.
If you’re bored, it means you have too little stimuli. You have the right to feel bored.
If you’re angry, it means something needs to be changed. You have the right to feel angry.
If you’re happy, it means something good has happened. You have the right to feel happy.
If you’re proud, it means you or someone close to you has done a good job. You have the right to feel proud.
If you’re ashamed, it means you did something you weren’t happy about. You have the right to feel ashamed.
If you feel at peace, it means there’s nothing you need to worry about at the moment. You have the right to feel at peace.
These are but a few examples. There’s a whole range of emotions we may feel in various situations. They’re all information our body sends to us. Don’t reject it just because it may be unpleasant.
Your body is your best friend. Your best friend may tell you that you look bad and you won’t get mad, you’ll thank her! Think of your body and your emotions in a similar way. Accept your emotions as they are. That’s the key to self-love. Your emotions are important. YOU are important.
Let me show you why you are so precious.
Whatever you do, your actions and your decisions influence your kids. That’s a huge responsibility.
Your mood affects everyone around you. Just like other family members’ feelings affect your emotional state. We might say that emotions are contagious. This is because from early childhood we learn to empathize with others.
What it means for you as a mother is that you can steer the general mood in your home in a subtle way. If you want your children to be calmer, happier, or more grateful, you can create such an atmosphere. They will not only sense the mood but also learn how to act in various situations by looking at you as a model of behavior.
This is why YOU are so important. This is why YOU should be the one you care about most.
Listen to your heart
I know it’s not that simple to be a mother. We ask ourselves thousands of questions every day and still doubt every decision we’ve made.
It is good to ask questions. That means you think about what you’re doing. That means you don’t take the first answer for granted and follow it blindly.
What people say (and everyone has their own opinion about everything concerning kids) may not be true. What people say may be outdated. Lastly, what people say may be good advice for someone else, but not fitting for your case.
We hear so much contradictory advice that we begin to doubt our own intuition and common sense. As a mother, I realized that my own common sense is usually the best course of action and, most importantly, it is my own. If someone says I did something wrong, I know at least I did what I decided was best for my kids, not what someone else claimed to be the right choice.
For example, I got severely criticized for co-sleeping with my baby. It was considered teaching the baby bad habits. But it was my decision. I believed and I still do that it has more pros than cons for my family. My firstborn, Victor, sometimes wouldn’t fall asleep without me close to him. We kept breastfeeding for two years. Co-sleeping made nursing at night so easy, I usually didn’t even remember it in the morning. When my second child, Amelia, was born, I didn’t even try to keep her in the crib.
Remember, you ARE doing a great job. A tough job. Whatever you do, I’m sure you always do your best.
The results, on the other hand, depend on so many other factors that you cannot control all of them. Even the weather has an influence on your kids’ mood and behavior!
So be good to yourself, just like you are to other family members.
It doesn’t matter what people say. It doesn’t matter how much they criticize. They see but a fraction of your real efforts and tremendous work. Do what you believe is best and be sure about your decisions.
Just do your thing and appreciate what a great job you’re doing.