Sometimes being the mom feels like being the supporting cast of the family. You earn badges no one sees, wear hats no one ever notices, and you get the thankless job of being the unsung hero of the family. Even when daddy gets to wear his superman cape proudly, you don’t even get any credit for keeping it clean, sis. You play the wall a lot, doing the “behind the scenes” stuff to make sure things flow smoothly around the house. You keep wardrobes clean, wipe away tears, and have the most delicious dinner popping on the stove in a single bound. And that’s just a touch of the magic you perform before you ever leave the house!
That’s why with all the responsibilities that come along with being a mom and wife, you must make sure you’re doing a great job of taking care of YOU. Because you can only go so long with ignoring your own needs before you burn out, sis.
Why Is Self-Care So Important as a Mom and Wife?
1. You Gotta Recharge Those Batteries. As a mom and wife, you process so many things in the run of a day. First of all, you're responsible for your children’s needs. For them to thrive, you have to give them the best care. Then as a wife, you’re offering your husband the love and support he needs as well. For me, this means I'm always in the middle of making plans-- meal plans, grocery lists, household needs, and streamlining it all. I keep up with softball practice, chorus concerts, family functions, and appointments. Yes, mama has systems in place for everybody. This often all takes place before I even add myself to the master calendar.
Adding all of these things to your schedule while leading your own life (working, going to school, and/or working on your creative business) can be overwhelming! But you have to know when to process all the information you receive, file it, and take a mental break from it. Practicing self-care methods like getting adequate rest, praying + meditating, and taking moments daily to relax are SO necessary. Not taking the time to recharge will leave you empty.
2) You Can't Pour from an Empty Cup, Sis. If you haven’t recharged and are running on empty, what can you possibly give anyone else, boo? I ask myself this all the time because I have a tendency to try to run on E. You know how it is. You say yes everytime someone asks you to do something. You offer to do things for others that might not even be in your realm of possibility yet. You’re that listening ear for your friends when they are going through it, because that’s what friends are for, right? And then of course you have ALL THE THINGS to do at home. There’s always something to be done and as the nurturing woman you are, you put on that invisible cape and try to save everything around you. At least that’s what I’ve been known to do.
Once I’d given so much energy to everyone else, I’d be left wondering, “If there’s nothing left, what are you gonna give to you, Dre?” See, as a younger woman I was conditioned to believe it was admirable to do for everyone first and leave yourself last. I watched my grandmama do it. I watched my mama do it. And I picked up that “woman warrior” ideal and thought I was gonna do the same thing. But real talk-- that life drained my grandmama. It drained my mama. And I didn’t wear that warrior woman title well because it drained me too. They could smile through it, but I could not.
If you find yourself at this state of emptiness, it’s hard to get back to full. You have to allow yourself to be poured into with love and support, being vulnerable with friends or your tribe. Neglecting yourself in this way will have you cranky, bitter, irritable, and floating on a wave of emotions. Welcome to burn-out.
3) If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy. Once you find yourself running on fumes, things are tough all over. Everything the kids do gets on your nerves. You won’t hardly be able to stand your husband. And friends? If you’re not avoiding them, you might be sharing your resentment with them so much, they’ll start avoiding you. And while it may seem like everyone is out to get you, the truth is that it’s all on YOU. Not taking the time to recharge, neglecting to give your mind & body the fuel they need to thrive, and giving yourself away without getting anything in return is something you’ve done to yourself. For me this looks like “I’m not happy and because I’m not, I’m causing unhappiness all around me.” Because I didn’t take care of myself, I’m making everyone around me responsible for my needs. I’m screaming at my kids about not cleaning up behind themselves when I’m really mad at myself for doing it for them all the time. I’m mad at my girlfriend for always calling me to complain for hours when I’m the one who allowed her talk away.
But all is not lost. Find a way to carve out some me-time IMMEDIATELY. Use this time to take inventory: list all the things that feed you (mind, body & spirit) and things that distract you or waste time. With these lists, create a self-care plan. Schedule time for the things that feed your spirit daily. Then take a red marker and set time to take breaks. Breathe, pray, meditate and exercise on the daily. And with that other list of things that distract you, create boundaries so that you can free that time up for things that count.
Now I know it seems like I did a lot of ranting about life as a mom and wife, but being both are an honor and a privilege. I am blessed to raise and nurture my three beautiful babies with a loving, hard-working, dedicated, and God-fearing husband. However, when you’re experiencing burn-out, you don’t always see these blessings as they are. So take pride in your roles by taking care of yourself, sis. For your family, for those you love and serve, and most importantly for you. The world needs what you have, but you can’t give it to anybody if you don’t give to yourself first.
The Self Care & Social Queen aka Drea Day is a North Carolina beauty + lifestyle blogger over at www.soshewritesbymissdre.com who rambles endlessly about her love for lipsticks, good books, and 90’s R&B. She also sells tees and things for beautiful dreamers and creatives over at bit.ly/inabeautifulworld