What Mothercare Really is and Why We Need to Prioritise It
There are days when I have a deep desire to jump in the car and drive far away, just for a day, to change routine, scenario, the coffee that I drink. I have been a mother for almost 2 years, and I have been completely devoted to my little ray of sunshine, but there still are days when I have this urgency to do something new.
To me, this urgency is called self-care.
Having a massage, going to the hairdresser aren’t entirely ways of taking care of myself as I don’t particularly enjoy having my back pocked by a couple of elbows, and I do really detest spending time with the tint on.
To me, self-care has a deeper meaning, and it does involve spiritual growth and sense of purpose. It is a time for myself where I can grow, and I don’t feel a mere extension of my child’s life.
According to a survey by HealthyWomen and Working Mother, 78 percent of women said they often neglect taking care of themselves because they are too busy taking care of their family.
“We need to begin to think about ‘Mothercare’ as an integral and essential part of child care,” says author Dayna Kurtz, “The truth is being a mother-martyr serves no one, but choosing Mothercare benefits everyone.”
What is Mothercare and can we apply it to our lives?
Get in touch with your needs and express them
I have spent enough of my life in silence and it really didn’t serve me. I also spent the first postpartum months struggling with an ever crying, never sleeping baby, avoiding to ask for help as I had a weird sense of pride hanging over my shoulders.
I know better and I have learned from my mistakes. Knowing what I want and where I’m going gave me clarity and a sense of (kind) entitlement. I now value my time, and I’m not afraid to share my thoughts and let people know what I want and need.
Do something different (every day)
I try to do something different every day; it sparks my creativity and makes me feel alive. Sometimes it can be catching the ferry to work instead of jumping on the usual bus. Other days it can be going to a different café’ to have breakfast with my adored daughter.
Doing something different takes me out of the rat park, and switches on the neurotransmitters, making me excited with expectations. It is also my chance to try new foods, see different places and get to know people.
What can you do differently today?
Choose a different class at your gym, turn right instead of left when you live the house, meditate for 2 minutes, journal before going to sleep, swap a cappuccino with a chai. You decide what your difference is.
Outsource or ask for support
I don’t know why we believe we have to do everything ourselves; that belief has been ingrained in my brain and soul since I was a little child. Truth is that I started blooming only when I let that go. My admin skills are very poor, I find finance-care super boring, and it takes me the longest time to go through a ledger; so why on earth do I need to do that, when there are people out there that make a living out of it? And this can be applied to doing grocery, dinner, doing your Instagram or marketing plan.
You are the only one who knows where your strengths and weaknesses are, so don’t be afraid to value your talent and delegate everything else. I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there that are thrilled to help. And think about all the time you can save and spend with your family or yourself.
Make it non-negotiable
I need time for myself, although I get depleted. Seriously depleted.
I make it very clear to the people around me that I need MY time, and I’m not afraid to ask for it. It has not always been the case; back in the past, I used to say yes to everything (FOMO), ending up spreading myself too thin. It took me a while to realise that saying no, and focusing on what gives me joy and purpose, is a long-lasting recipe for the life I want.
Some weeks are great and everything goes as planned. Your family doesn’t get sick, you are on top of the world, and everything around you ticks accordingly. Other times your child may stop sleeping at night, or get injured. Or you may get overworked and unwell. Life is made of ebbs and flows and we need to embrace them whenever they come.
Life and motherhood aren’t perfect, and we need to start to be ok with it.
When life goes unplanned, and you don’t get that precious time for yourself, carve a few minutes here and there in your daily routine until better times come along.