Somewhere between changing diapers, sleepless nights, daily to-do lists, and expectations of just being a mother and a wife have caused me to shift from being in tune with myself and my needs. I can't remember the exact day I lost myself to the high demands of motherhood. Imagine working a job 24/7 for five years, nonstop, with no breaks, no time off, and no holidays. Always working around the clock. Does that not scream "BURN OUT." This has been my lifestyle for so many years.
Thankfully, with other incredible parents' advice, 1825 days later, I am finally beginning to reclaim my life. After soo many years, I deserve every ounce of space, time and relaxation.
For the past few years, I have wrapped my entire life around my kids. After having a baby, most parents put themselves on the back burner, meanwhile convincing themselves that it's okay. I often find myself saying, "after the kids grow up, I will start doing more for myself," or trying my hardest to avoid judgements by justifying the habit. Gone are the days of worry about every little movement my kids made or even leaving them for few minutes. It is so liberating to worry less and take care of myself mentally, physically and emotionally. My 24/7 parenting lifestyle is finally shifting, and it feels good.
The shift has allowed me to adopt a different perspective by including myself in my day-to-day tasks. It sounds crazy, but I had to start putting myself in my daily planner to remind myself of the importance of "TAKING A BREAK" to avoid burnout.
How Did I Shift From 24/7 Parenting?
Well, for me, it's creating a schedule that aligned with that of my spouse: Monday-Friday, I would take care of most of the parental duties, house chores, and on Saturdays and Sundays, my spouse would take over. This way, I can spend time taking care of myself. As the kids get older and more independent, releasing myself becomes more comfortable, easy, and guilt-free.
Do I Feel Guilty?
Yes, of course, I feel guilty. My kids are my world; I enjoy everything about them, and being in their presence brings me joy. But, motherhood can get draining, and you can get so caught up that you begin to lose yourself while your confidence and self-worthiness diminishes. It requires a constant reminder of the damage self-neglect can cause to free yourself from the guilt. Most rewardingly, the family benefits from having a mother that is confident and happy within her skin. Once guilt no longer holds you captive, you can begin to give off positive energy. I can distribute more happy moments with less chaos and more peaceful family time without feeling burnout. Win, win for both myself and my family.
What Self-Care Isn't?
Self-care doesn't only mean spas, candle-lit dinners, or just kicking your foot up and relaxing. Self-care is finding a few minutes or hours out of your busy day to focus on building yourself, rebranding yourself, and reclaiming your identity and connecting with the things that made you happy.
What Self-Care Looks Like For Me.
Self-care for me is merely having a few minutes or hours to take care of myself. It's making a plan and executing that plan. Self-care ensures that I focus solely on my needs and putting myself first by engaging in activities that keep me in a peaceful frame of mind. Anything that keeps me relaxed and at peace.
Importance of Self-Care.
Self-care is essential for your mental health. It can completely revitalize you and put you in a positive frame of mind.
Here are five tips I applied to my life to release myself from autopilot mode and reclaim my life.
1. First and foremost, release yourself from guilt.
Guilt only keeps you bondage, trapped and stagnant. Release yourself and remind yourself that your goal is to raise healthy and resilient kids by taking care of yourself. Kids observe their parents and seeing their parents taking care of themselves can help them understand the importance of self-love to become confident individuals with healthy self-worth.
2. Make time for yourself. You can have a nice calm relaxing bath, spend some time polishing your nails, get your hair and makeup done, clear spaces that are cluttered, engage in activities that you once enjoyed or even a long walk or drive.
3. Take a break from chores. This was hard for me; an ounce of mess would put me in stress mode. Releasing myself from thinking I'm a superwoman was the best decision I ever made. So, you might see piles of laundry or even toys around the house. I am not perfect. I've given up that thinking once I decided to provide myself with some TLC. A common saying I've heard "Rome was not built in one day." I now understand that somethings can be left undone Until another day.
4. Reconnect with your passion. Neglecting myself is the easiest thing I have ever done; maybe that's why it lingered for so long. Our fire dims, and we begin to lose that light. But get up and ignite that fire again. Get it burning as you rediscover who you are. What are your passions? What did you enjoy doing that you no longer do? Do you have any hidden talent? Whatever it is, find things that interest you and get that fire burning again.
5. Lastly, but most importantly, rekindle your relationship. Get together with your spouse and have a night of fun. It is in these moments we can find ourselves and remember our life before kids.
Just remember don’t feel guilty, you are also a priority. TAKE A BREAK! you need it. Reclaim your identity and live a happy and fulfilled life With your family.