As I sat down to write, I read a posting from a fellow mom questioning the balancing act we, as moms, maintain. Ironic, we are the nurturers, yet we fail at times to nurture ourselves. How easy it becomes to justify to oneself that being present for one’s children is enough. Well, is it? Remember the promise of your own youth, the desire to be something, do something, create something. Why is it we must sublimate or even totally remove the dreams we had for our own lives? Maybe there is a compromise?
Knowing deep inside one’s heart that the raising of children is profoundly important to the fabric of one’s being, we can quickly forget that we must exist outside of our role(s) in life. What happens when your adolescent child pulls away, as they are destined to do, from the need of your comforting embraces? How will you fill yourself up if you can no longer define yourself as Johnny’s mom or Janey’s mom? Maybe the best gift a mom can give to herself is an investment in her emotional and spiritual growth as a separate being to anyone else in the world.
Maintaining adult relationships, spending time on projects that are geared to personal satisfaction, taking a bubble bath with music and candlelight—these are some of the ways to honor yourself as the amazing, complex guardian of the world’s children who is also a person with desires. Just think what more compassionate moms we could be if we were able to recharge doing things for ourselves without feeling guilty for the separateness.
I say we take care of the most important person in our lives first—ourselves. Surprised that I didn’t say taking care of our children first? Truth be told, without taking care of ourselves, we are of no use to our families. Make a commitment, almost like the secret-sisterhood pact, to always honor yourself first by showing kindness to yourself. Then we can be the best we know we are capable of being.