Put Yourself First, Mom
The Summer of Self-Care would not be complete without a message for the mothers of Impact who have a tendency to take care of everyone but yourself. Dads, please take no offense – and consider sharing this with a mother or sister in your life who needs a reminder to take care of herself! Trust us – we ALL need this reminder. THANKS, Erika, for stating it so beautifully!
It breaks my heart:
- A woman who, taking care of everyone else first, ends up giving away so much of herself that she neglects herself.
- A woman who in the quest of loving those dearest to her, compromises and sacrifices to such a point that she loses part of herself.
Both scenarios are part of the same problem.
Women grow up with the belief that we need to be perfect, we need to put everyone else's needs and desires before our own. We are raised with the idea that we must embody the impossible ideal of “the perfect woman,” “the perfect mother,” “the perfect wife,” or “the perfect daughter.”
The problem: We wake up one day and realize don't recognize the woman looking back at us in the mirror.
We end up asking some variation of:Where is the woman I used to be? When did I lose my confidence and my fearlessness, my drive and my strength?
Unfortunately, many women realize what has happened too late. Her wake-up call comes in the form of an illness, perhaps cancer, or a child's diagnosis of complex challenges. Or her wake-up call comes as a total surprise when one day her partner or husband simply disappears from her life, either emotionally or physically.
Too many women find themselves on their own, without a penny to their name, and perhaps two or three children in tow.
We have to stop feeling guilty for putting ourselves first, for going after our dreams, for wanting more, for wanting something different, for daring to dream. There is nothing to feel guilty about.
I know that when you were growing up you may have heard messages like, “Life isn't about you. Who do you think you are?” Well, here's a surprise: YOUR LIFE is about you, and it always has been! When you decide to make it about you -- you will truly become fulfilled, free, healthy, and rested. And that is when you'll have the capacity to give fully to the family you love.
When you fill your life with what you love and what you need, that fulfillment will allow you to give freely to others. You can't give what you don't have! When you fill your bucket first, you will be free to be present in a more meaningful way.
And your children will follow your example!
As women, we have to stop believing this fairy-tale that letting someone else be in charge of our lives is safe. This fairy-tale that tells us either directly or subliminally that our only job is to be “the perfect woman,” to serve everyone else, and that if we do so, everything will be okay.
As women, we need to remind ourselves how powerful and strong we are, and we need to step into that power. We are here to lead others to greatness, but to do that, we need to first start with leading our own lives.
“Woman, you choose,
and continue to choose
to be who you are.
You came here to thrive.
The odds are steep,
but you need to know that
the game is rigged in your favor.
You know what you are doing.See that your demons aren't real,
and although fear is part of the deal,
love is all you need,
and love starts from within.
Remember, you are never alone”
~ Erika Ferenczi
Just take the first step. There are all sorts of ways to fill your bucket. It looks different for everyone. It might be:
- 15-minute nap
- Saying no to that extra task
- Buying a book and actually READ it
- Taking some time away from the house
Whatever that first step is for you, just take it. You'll be glad you did. And remember, you are worth it!