Let me ask you a question. If you did something for yourself, splashed out and bought yourself something extravagant or went out for a boozy lunch with mates and left your kids behind, would you feel guilty?
Brought up by parents of the old generation, I was raised to believe that as a mother, a woman, my husband and children were to be my top priority. Any other way of thinking was deemed selfish and a failure of my womanly duties.
I held up my end of the bargain. I did everything for my kids. I gave up sleep, time, money, and any sense of self I once had to be the best mother I could be. Then I broke down. I was of no use to anyone. In that moment I realised I needed to look after myself. In order to be a good mother, a good wife, a good person, I had to put myself first. That’s not selfish, that’s survival. And as women, we should never be told otherwise.
So here are seven ways to bring back your sparkle and be the best mother you can be.
- Have a child free night
Whether you go out with your mates, your lover, your childless friends, have a night out that doesn’t only involve leaving the kids at home, but not even thinking about them. Immerse yourself in the things you loved before the kids came into your life. Don’t talk about them don’t think about them and don’t for a second feel bad about it. Be you. Be present. Don’t think about the washing or school lunches. Just embrace your wonderful self and enjoy yourself.
- Date night
If you have a partner, it’s so important to make time for them and your relationship. Go back to your early days of dating. Get to know each other all over again. If you don’t have a partner, reconnect with your mates, your family, anyone in your life that can nourish your connectivity. Fulfilling relationships give you a sense of purpose and fill a need to love and be loved. The more you feel love, the more you can give to your children.
- Get your nails done/new bag/ welding iron
Psychology studies have shown that retail therapy is actually a thing. It triggers happy chemicals in the brain. You can’t argue with science. We often forgo purchases for things we want in order to get things the children need or the mundane. It’s hard as parents (particularly if you have left a well paying job) to keep on top of finances. But if there is a pair of shoes winking at you, a gorgeous bag you have had your eye on for months or a particular welding iron that takes your fancy, spoil yourself. You deserve it.
- Get some sleep
All my new mums with babies, I feel you rolling your eyes at me. Before you scroll on, hear me out. Get the dad, babysitter, grandmother, neighbours cousin, whoever you find to take your kids far away. Crawl into bed and even if you can’t sleep, just lay there quietly. Enjoy the peace. After particularly gruelling nights, don’t be afraid to ask for your help. Sleep is such an important part of your general health and wellbeing and can lead to an array of complications if you’re not getting enough.
- Lose yourself
As an art lover, one of my favourite things to do before kids was spend a whole day at a gallery and get lost in all the amazing works or art. Find something that fires up your imagination, a good book, a movie, something that will have you completely immersed in a world other than your own reality. Get caught up in characters, brush strokes and let your imagination run wild.
- Be still
I can’t bang on about mediation enough. The benefits of mindfulness are immense. But I get that it’s not for everyone. So if it’s not your bag just make some time for yourself, daily, weekly, whatever it may be and just collect your thoughts. Sit in silence and think about where you are now, where you want to be, things that are important to you, what you want to achieve. Here are a couple of questions to get you started.
- Leave your guilt at the door
For the love of all things holy, when ever you are making time for yourself, doing something to replenish your soul, don’t ever for a moment feel guilty about it. Know your worth and the importance of your role. In order to do your job properly, you need to be kind to yourself. Let’s abolish this out-dated way of thinking and start a revolution of self-care.