The first time I saw Anita Renfroe’s “Momsense” video, I laughed. The second time, I cried.
Giving birth is a challenge, but being a mother is an art and a science. It requires incredible grace under pressure, skill, and the ability to let much of life’s stress off your back, because we’re “on duty” 24 hours a day.
Does the child wake up screaming in the middle of the night? Mom is up and on them.
Child gets sick at school? Mom to the rescue.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere? Mom calls “Triple A”, or changes it herself.
Now, I’m not saying that dads aren’t responsible people. Is it so. But when mom and dad are BOTH sick, who takes care of the kids?
Yes, that would be mom.
And who runs the business, carries the pearls, scrubs the floors, cooks dinner, does the laundry, and takes care of the house?
Good old mom.
Okay, I admit it, my husband does laundry at my house, but you get the idea that I’m driving here. I won’t take anything away from dad. Dad works hard, but as Anita Renfroe puts it so meticulously in her video, we do (and say) a lot of things for our family. Some good, some less than wonderful, but we are active in the lives of our loved ones. We are taking care of them, we are taking care of them.
Who is watching over us?
When we take care of the store, the children, the husband, the home, what are we doing to take care of ourselves?
Personal care is a growing concern among working mothers. A look at the Wikipedia entry on work-life balance leads me to believe that self-care is even MORE important to mom-entrepreneurs. With many of us building our empires with kids at home, we’re dodging the “guilt” bullet by keeping our kids out of daycare, but we’re even more exhausted trying to “do it all.” It’s no wonder Renfroe chose the William Tell Overture to quickly share all the “isms” we moms concoct on a daily basis. We are so tight that we probably DO talk that fast!
Here are some tips to incorporate into your day to give you a mini dose of self-care:
- Breathe. Waiting in a long line? Take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Use that time to decompress. As others around you become more impatient, see this moment as an opportunity to practice gratitude, patience, and bring a little solitude into your day. When I find myself stuck at a train crossing, I take it as a sign that I need to slow down and refocus. So I do. Taking a deep breath, relaxing your shoulders, and maybe even closing your eyes for a minute. Sometimes my children play, so everyone is more relaxed!
- Clarify. Be clear about what is really important. This can be daily or weekly. Take some time to review your priorities and focus on what is most important. Realize that if you are like me, you will always find SOMETHING that needs to be done, and most days not everything on that list will be accomplished. Instead, focus on what I call the big rocks, the must-do’s that will get your life and business moving through the day.
- Make self-care a priority. Schedule it like any other business appointment. Don’t tell people you’re scheduling self-care (you might feel guilty). Tell people you have a conflicting appointment that you may not be able to reschedule. The first few times, you may feel a pang of guilt. Once you get used to “putting on your own oxygen mask first,” you’ll quickly discover how important it really is to take the time to attend to your own needs.
- Mitigate guilt with selfless rewards. For those moms who really struggle to do anything for themselves (including necessary doctor visits, you know who you are), commit to a selfless reward for taking care of yourself. You can choose to take the kids out for ice cream after your visit to the chiropractor, or give your girlfriend a special thank you gift for taking care of the kids while you take a break from the day. The act of doing something for someone else often helps dispel any feelings of guilt associated with taking care of yourself, because you’ll actually be doing something nice for someone else too!
- Look for ‘joy runners’. It could be a favorite song on your mp3 player or a poem you loved as a child. Maybe it’s a picture or a memory that brings some joy to your day. Strategically place these “corridors of joy” around your space. Like a memory runner, these little reminders give you a little moment of joy every time you find them. Sprinkle them generously around your home, car, and work space, so no space is considered stagnant. Even if that means carrying it in a pocket or purse and taking it out periodically to enjoy it. Joy joggers have micro personal care ways.
It’s been a long time since we moms started being mothers from time to time. Whether it’s a lighthearted jog, a break, or a doctor’s appointment, be sure to take the time to attend to your own needs, as well as all the other needs of your loved ones. The life you save can be your own!
Copyright 2010, Lisa Robbin Young