As a mom, when was the last time you really did something for yourself? Odds are, you probably don't remember. Or if you do remember, it was quite a long time ago. The problem with motherhood is that we have a tendency to put our children's, husbands, and everyone else's needs before our own. It often feels like that's what we were meant to do.
Moms have the natural ability to nurture everyone around them, but the problem with motherhood is that we spend so much time nurturing everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves. A mom simply has to take care of herself and continue to grow in her own life, or it's only a matter of time before she finds herself unable to help her children grow.
Hare five simple ways moms can help themselves to personally grow.
- 1. Take yourself on a date. Just as married couples need regular dates and time alone together, you also need some time to yourself. A mom's days are full of requests and demands from everyone. She needs regular dates when the only demands she hears are from her own mind. You can never grow if you don't take a little bit of time to indulge your own interests now and then. Spend some time enjoying "me time" at your favorite bookstore or have lunch out with the girls one day. It can even be as simple as spending some quiet moments with your journal at the park.
- 2. Plan ahead and let others help you. As moms, we often feel the need to be super women. We find a way to bake three dozen cupcakes for our child's bake sale, work overtime to prepare for an important presentation for work, and still have a perfectly cooked dinner on the table at six p.m. The problem with this scenario is that it usually means that the things you need to get done, simply don't get done. Each night just make it a point to plan for the next day. Prioritize what you need to get done and rank your to-do's in order of importance. Figure out how to delegate some of your tasks and ask your family to help you. Chances are, they will appreciate being able to help "Super Mom" save the day.
- 3. Write a self-affirmation statement that gives you power and repeat it to yourself every day. Remember that the things we focus on in life are the things that we enact. Writing a self-affirmation statement is one thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful way of life. It should affirm something you enjoy doing and set a goal for self-care. Affirmations are terrific ways to empower us. Identify two places where you will see your affirming statements several times per day. Some ideas for locations include the bathroom mirror, the steering wheel of your car, or on your work computer.
- 4. Blend the things you need to do with your family activities. It's been said that you should work smarter, not harder, and the same truth applies to motherhood. Get creative with the things you need to accomplish by doing them at the same time as your family activities. When you are choosing an activity for your child, ask yourself how you can care for yourself while caring for your children. Think about what you can bring with you while waiting in the carpool line. It might be a book on tape, your calendar, or a puzzle book that will take your mind off of work. If you've been missing out on exercise, take your kids to the park and let them play while you take a walk or run around the park.
- 5. Set a personal goal for yourself and then make time to meet it. Growing is all about meeting our goals, and you're the only one who can make time to do it. Only you know what you truly want to do, although you may have forgotten exactly what it is. Spend some time getting to know yourself again and remember all the parts you gave up in order to be what you think of as the perfect mom. Once you realize what it is you've been missing, set a goal to accomplish it, and then put yourself to the task. Get your family involved in your goal, and they're sure to cheer you along every step of the way.
Growing is something that comes naturally to all of us, and it's up to us to ensure that we don't forget to grow ourselves along the way. Take control of your life back and remember to nurture yourself so you can continue to nurture others.
Mia Redrick, Mom Strategist is a mom of three, author and speaker empowering one million mothers to practice better self-care. Redrick is the author of Time for mom-Me: 5 Essential Strategies for A Mother's Self-Care. For tips from The Mom Strategist visit www.findingdefinitions.com.