Moms are notorious for neglecting self-love.
“Self-love gives us a baseline of positive and graceful thinking towards our own selves as individuals. This attitude gives us the courage to recognize our flaws and take the steps needed to improve upon them. With self-love, we do not base our self worth on the ability to overcome flaws. Instead, we are able to recognize all the wonderful parts of ourselves while still knowing that it is important to be open and honest with ourselves about what we’d like to be better about.”
That quote came from an article in this week’s collection of Smart Reads entitled Is Self-Awareness More Important Than Self-Love?
It’s a beautiful sentiment, eh?
How many of you mamas read that and thought:
a) Ain’t got time for that
b) Sounds like something other people do
c) It’s a good thing my therapist is on speed-dial
d) I’m going to need my boots, a shovel, a garbage bag, and some duct tape
Turns out self-love, like other-people-love, can be complicated and messy. There’s no drive-thru.
But, come on, Rachel, moms are busy loving on everyone else. It’s like, numero uno on our job description. Are you going to tell us we’re doing it wrong?
No, but, I am going to offer, for your consideration, that if you really believe you’re in this game for the benefit of loving everyone else, you’re gonna have to get courageous and move self-love higher on your priority list. In fact, it may actually be a key step in the fight against mental illness among our youth today.
Whoa, that got heavy fast!
Uh-huh. Buckle your boots and grab your shovel.
In researching the topic of self-love this week, every other self-(something) came up… self-awareness, self-worth, self-esteem, self-care. Turns out they are all facets of self-love.
So, knowing this and understanding the importance, one is left to ponder why moms are so quick to neglect it.
While the quick answer likely boils down to time and energy, another idea struck me… another couple of “self” words popped up… Self-love has the stigma of being selfish where moms are supposed to be selfless. But are we supposed to be selfless? Is this stigma perhaps dated?
In the spirit of selflessness, moms burn the candle at both ends, day after day, attempting to manage their workload. We anticipate and meet the needs and demands of everyone else at the cost of our own.
Exhibiting self-love is not selfish, it’s an opportunity to emulate inner strength, confidence and all of those important “self” words mentioned above. It’s getting realistic about the expectations we set for ourselves. It’s coming to terms with a reality that doesn’t leave us overwhelmed and exhausted. Self-love is giving yourself grace because the alternative is ultimately serving no one.
Consider the impact this could have on your kids.
In this week’s Insightful Video, Niko Everett explores the topic of self-esteem and youth. Her talk has some dismal moments, but her message hit home. I encourage you to spend the 9.5 minutes to watch it for yourself.
One of my biggest takeaways from it is the reminder that our kids are sponges. They are watching and listening and taking it all in. They are influenced by their peers, the media and by us. And, let’s not forget the irony that, for better or for worse, we all eventually turn into our mothers.
Are you the “for better” mother that your child will turn into? (I’ll pause there while you book your next therapy appointment.)
So much pressure!
I mentioned the media. There is so much pressure – on all humans, not just kids – to measure up. Moms are perhaps the biggest offenders. We doom-scroll social media wondering how “that mom” with three kids under five, is the heart-shaped pancake mom (not the Lucky Charms mom), keeps her all-organic pantry rainbow-organized, and has time to post pictures of all of the things in her perfectly curated Instagram account. WTH!
I’m guessing she’s exhausted, has very few genuine relationships, and she still feels like she’s not measuring up. (If this is you, go ahead and purchase that multi-session “Valentine’s Day” package your therapist is offering).
I’m making a lot of references to therapy. I’m not mocking it. We are in a mental health crisis! I’m on Team Make-it-Mainstream. The more days I spend on this planet, the more I realize EVERYONE should be in therapy. And, we shouldn’t wait until we feel “broken” to get started. I digress.
Whether you’re on the therapy train or not, it’s time to get on the self-love train. Get beyond the stigma that it’s selfish and learn all you can about it. Embrace the impact it has on not only you, but everyone around you. That doesn’t sound selfish now does it?
So, where do we start with self-love? It’s a bit awkward… Do I show up with flowers on the first date? Uh, I suppose you could, but here’s what we suggest…
4 things moms can do to stop neglecting self-love:
- Be self-aware: Get to know yourself. Who are you and where do you stand on all of this? Are you rocking the self-love thing or could you use some work on it? Look at yourself through the lens of your kids; what do they see?
- Establish your self-worth: The key to moving forward from this point is believing that you’re worth it! It’s not just a term of endearment. Your worth carries value and impact and shapes your future self!
- Grow your self-esteem: When you start believing in yourself, it will be apparent in the way you carry yourself, the way you present yourself, and even in the words and tone you use. People will notice that something is different about you…“did you get your hair done?”… and your inner glow will be infectious (that’s a good thing; I feel the need to clarify that in these pandemic times).
- Practice self-care: This can encompass so many things… doing one of those fun alien-looking skin-care masks, practicing yoga, finding a hobby (are adult coloring books still in fashion?), spending less time scrolling, curling up with a good book, indulging in dark chocolate and a hot cuppa tea or a glass of wine, taking a bath, taking a nap in your car while you’re kids are at swim practice (hey, we do what we can, where we can, with what we’ve got). The possibilities are endless.
The key is being intentional!
Plan your self-care; literally put it on your weekly calendar. Then, promise yourself that you’ll actually follow through with it. Let your family know that this time is important to you and make arrangements so you won’t be interrupted. Look forward to it and most importantly, enjoy it!
Do these things for yourself and also for your loved ones. Let them see you taking care of YOU so they can sponge it up and grow into confident adults who’ve always known self-love.
Be courageous and lean into the messiness of self-love!
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