Now I have three beautiful children – my eldest who I was gifted when I met my husband, and two I gave birth to. They fill me with love and joy, but also much frustration and angst!
I spend countless hours every week running around after them – helping with homework, putting a bandaid on a minuscule little cut that absolutely HAD to have a bandaid, finding the footy socks, driving to netball training…..
And then there’s the emotional running around – listening to my teenager cry when she’s fought with a friend, stressing out about homework and assessments at school, anxiety about going to school and don’t even get me started on the PMT in this house!
Rushing Women’s Syndrome
I am a HUGE fan of Dr Libby. I first came across her when I found her TED talk called Rushing Women’s Syndrome (she has a book too). In her TED talk, she discusses how women still essentially have the same ‘cave woman’ biochemistry, yet our lives are filled with so many more stressors now. As mothers, we are constantly running from one place to another, looking after those we love and forgetting to look after ourselves.
It was after watching this talk that I decided that enough was enough – I need to put myself at the top of my priority list.
To be able to look after our families well, we need to first look after ourselves.
When we are on a plane, and we’re watching the safety video or demonstration, it tells us to put on our oxygen mask before helping a child or someone else. This is what we need to be doing in our every day life – helping ourselves!
I know that for me, when I start to get run down or overwhelmed, the first thing that usually goes is the food. I stop meal planning, I grab quick and easy meals, I drink more coffee and wine than I know I should, and I crave sugar.
My sleep suffers, my patience runs thin and my anxiety sneaks up on me.
I know I need to stop and take a breath and nourish myself – I teach it to all the women I know!! But I am not always good at taking my own advice.
I think that as mothers, we tend to think that doing something for ourselves is selfish, that we have too many other things to do, or that it’s our ‘job’ to just get stuff done – but we don’t need to do this at the expense of our health and wellbeing.
Taking time out for yourself could be as simple as making a cup of tea and sitting out in the sun for 10 minutes, having a long shower or sneaking under the bed covers to read a book. Or, schedule in some time for yourself – I find that if I actually schedule things ahead of time, they will actually happen.
So, for Mother’s Day, here’s what I want you to do….
1. Make a list of all the things you would like to do
It could be take a yoga class, book a massage, have your hair done or go out for lunch somewhere new with some friends.
2. Book these into your calendar!
Whether it’s once a day, once a week or once a month, book it in! Sign up for a yoga class each week, make an appointment at the hairdresser for a months time, plan to meet your girlfriends monthly for coffee or lunch. Write these into your calendar!
3. Don’t cancel!
Most importantly – don’t cancel your appointment with yourself! Would you cancel on a girlfriend if they needed some chat time with you? No – then don’t cancel on yourself! I know life is busy and stuff comes up, but you will be better able to handle it all if you take a little bit of time out for yourself on a regular basis.
There’s an app for that!
I have also found some great apps for little bits of time out during each day that have made a world of difference to my stress levels.
Modeled after a practice in Buddhist monasteries, Mindfulness Bells are a powerful practice to remind you of your intention to be mindful. Activate the Mindfulness Bell and it sends you gentle reminders of your intention for your practice through the day.
Turn it on, then as you’re going about your day, a bell and notification will remind you to be mindful of what you’re doing at a random intervals between half an hour and an hour and a half.
Smiling Mind is modern meditation for young people. It is a unique web and App-based program, designed to help bring balance to young lives.
It is a not-for-profit initiative based on a process that provides a sense of clarity, calm and contentment.
Happify has turned a decade’s worth of research into a series of activities and games that train your brain and build skills for lasting happiness.
So happy Mother’s Day all the beautiful, amazing and committed mothers out there!