Enough is enough.
It’s time for you to make yourselves a priority.
I know how hard it is when you first become a mother.
And I fully understand there is a period of time when all you might be able to manage is taking care of a newborn.
But that phase should not last twelve years.
It shouldn’t last twelve months.
To be honest, I don’t even think it should last twelve weeks.
Just because you produced a human being from your own body, it does not mean that you have to be the one to drop everything that was ever important to you before becoming a parent indefinitely.
Because you know what?
When you stop being a priority, you cannot live up to your parenting potential.
You cannot live up to your marital potential.
You cannot live up to your human potential.
Becoming a mother is not synonymous with becoming a martyr.
So if you are using the reason or rationale or excuse that you cannot make yourself a priority because you feel guilty, it’s time to throw that bullsh*t right out the window.
The day when your kids don’t need you so much anymore — and I’m not talking about when they leave for college, but when they leave for kindergarten — will be here faster than you can imagine.
MUCH FASTER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.
And when that day comes, you are going to want to have an identity that is more multi-faceted than simply being the mother of your children.
Aside from wondering what your purpose is when you put all your eggs in the being-a-mother-and-taking-care-of-everyone-else basket and then nobody really needs to be taken care of anymore, it’s super important to do things that bring you fulfillment and pleasure and meaning because at some point in your life, things are not going to go according to plan. You are going to fail. Parenting is FULL of challenges. There will be times you mess up.
And if your only focus and priority is being a mother and you are struggling in the mothering department, you are going to want something else in your life to buoy you up.
Something else that you can identify with and identify as.
Something else that gives you purpose.
Whether it’s knitting or singing or scrapbooking or running or dancing or writing or WHATEVER it is, you need something else for those trying times when parenthood is giving you a run for your money.
AND THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF TRYING TIMES.
There is another reason to keep yourself a priority.
Aside from needing interests and activities and other purposes in your life in addition to being a mother, you need to take care of yourself.
Becoming a mother does not mean that self-care goes out the window.
In fact, becoming a mother means you need to take BETTER care of yourself.
It’s not just about you anymore. People are counting on you!
Your health needs to be a priority. Your fitness — both mental and physical — needs to be a priority!!!
There is NO GUILT in taking care of yourself.
That is not a luxury.
It’s kind of mandatory once you become a mother.
But so often we go the other way. We go backwards!
We completely stop taking care of ourselves and making our health and our bodies and our brains a priority when kids enter the picture.
You are allowed to be a priority in your life.
In fact, YOU SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST.
When you stop making yourself a priority, all parts of you suffer.
You become weaker when you need to become stronger.
You need healthy and fulfilling ways to relieve stress. Because there will be stress!
Neglecting yourself also makes you resentful and angry and bitter.
And being resentful and angry and bitter does NOT make you a better mother!
It doesn’t help you to be more patient, it doesn’t help you to be more present, and it doesn’t help you to be more available.
IT DOES JUST THE OPPOSITE.
If you do anything this year, put yourself at the top of your list of priorities, and remove any and all guilt you feel around that.
You deserve health, happiness, and fulfillment.
These things do not go out the window when you give birth.
If you are not a priority in your life, take some time to figure out where it is you want to be and what it is you want to do.
START DOING IT.
I noticed Yogibo advertisements in your blog today. I just bought two covers to replace the ones I own.
I hope they sponsored you with a freebie or two.
Great post as always.
Roberta Dellacioppa says
I agree with you on alot that was said here, but I think the problem starts with how we treat Morherhood and Pregnancy in this country. Having a baby is a harrowing, traumatic, and yes beautiful event for woman. But these days we treat it as nothing of the sort. Woman are expected to “drop and go”, and jump back into their old life. And sometimes yes, even the pressure to “make yourself a priority” more pressure in itself. You mentioned you feel we shouldn’t even give it 12 weeks. I feel we don’t give woman enough time as it is to bond, and get use to being a mom, and this new life that we have. I just feel giving birth, maternity leave, and mostly the way we treat motherhood has become too simplified. It’s a very complicated process, and needs to be revamped. Just my thoughts.