Notes On…

Why Self-Care Feels So Hard For Mums

Mental Health, Notes

I have not always had a healthy relationship with self-care. I can be a martyr which is not good for me or anyone around me. I often throw my toys out of the pram – usually when I’ve neglected me for a while. The whole ‘self-care’ isn’t selfish’ thing didn’t sit well with me for a long time.

What a bonkers thing that was?! Think of all the times I could have set aside for myself? The books I might have read. The massages enjoyed and the simple act of allowing myself to let go that I denied me.

Self-care isn’t easy and, as mums, we could be busy looking after other people all the time. Looking after others wears you down. You can only do it to your best abulity when you are happy, healthy and nourished.

If you have a tricky relationship with looking after you, here are some reasons why:

  • It is hardest to do when you need it most. I know this. When I was a broken new mum, doing anything for myself was simply not contemplatable. I felt so crap that I didn’t feel worthy of self care. Please do as I say not as I did on this one. If it feels too hard for you to do, that means you MUST do it. It means that you are struggling and you need help.
  • Other people won’t like it. They will probably huff a little bit about it. That is their problem – not yours.
  • Self-care doesn’t mean avoiding what you don’t want to do. Sometimes it means doing just want you don’t want to do now to make time for later. You might have to clear that pile of washing or prepare a detailed list for your other half so that you can have some time to yourself.
  • Some people won’t like the new boundaries you create to protect yourself. Self care means saying no sometimes. Not everyone is going to like that. That’s ok. You are not here to please everyone.
  • Don’t help other people to your own detriment. It’s wonderful that you remember to text your friends who need you but you don’t have to do that late at night. If other people are calling on you for emotional support, remember that you can ask for it in return. You have to be happy and strong enough to be giving that support.
  • Neglecting yourself to look after your family might seem like an act of love but its not really. Giving from a place of emptiness will lead to burnout and also resentment. You will resent them and eventually yourself. That leads to arguments which lead to anger and then to the Dark Side. Steer yourself towards the light.
  • You might have to let go of something to make space for self care. That might mean people. Yes, scary but ok. Avoid energy vampires. It’s certainly going to mean letting go of habits that don’t serve you. You can make time for a walk if you get off your phone for an extra 30 minutes. You can make time to read a book if you turn the TV off a little earlier.
  • You’re going to have to be honest with yourself. You are going to have to have a kind word with yourself. You will need to ask yourself what it is you need the most and then formulate a plan to get it. No excuses. Yes, you do need to cook tea but that doesn’t mean you can’t batch cook, stick some in the freezer and free up time for a bath, walk, yoga class, cup of tea with your bestie. You are wasting time with ‘stuff’ when it could be spent on you. I know this because I do exactly the same thing. I have to battle with this one all the time but it is worth it.

Please remember that self-care doesn’t mean ‘me first’ or ‘only me’. It means ‘me too’. It means ‘I am entitled to look after myself in the same way that I look after you’.

What would you say to a worn out friend? Say that to yourself as well. Please do one thing just for you today. You are so worth it!!

Notes On…