Today, while checking my social media pages, I came across a conversation between friends. Some mothers of small children were discussing their comfort (or lack there of) with their bodies, how long it had been since they had worn bikinis, and how they are still wearing maternity pants. Another friend, who does not yet have children, commented how she could not wait to have kids and give up too.
Mothers, parents, everyone... Prioritizing the care of tiny humans is NOT the same thing as giving up on yourself.
Having children changes your whole life. It wildly shifts your priorities. You are responsible for the health and care of little people. That is an enormous task and a great deal of pressure. It is also amazing and an honor, of course. But goodness, it takes an unbelievable amount of time and energy and fortitude.
This does NOT mean that I believe you should spend every moment focusing on your children. No, not at all.
You need and deserve breaks.
Time to focus on your own needs, to remember yourself and the things that you enjoy doing. Self care is extremely important. I stress this to all of my postpartum clients in particular.
Self care also looks different for everyone. One person may want nothing more than to curl up in bed with a good book at the end of a long day and just Not. Be. Touched. Someone else may enjoy going for a run. Or going out with friends for drinks and dessert. Some may just need that thirty minutes in the morning to shower and really prepare themselves for the day.
I hope you can find some time to do whatever it takes to make YOU feel good.
But I also know that carving out that time when you are caring for small children can be challenging to say the least.
Whether you stay home, work at home, or work out of the home, if you are raising small kids right now, or helping raise them, or caring for someone else's children even, let me tell you this: You are brave. You are strong. You are selfless.
You are doing what it takes to provide for your family.
You may be sustaining yourself solely on a toddler's leftovers. Or wearing yesterday's yoga pants. Or in the office today wondering how many more days you can get away with using dry shampoo before washing your hair.
You are surviving. You are doing hard work. Work that is not appreciated often enough.
Having small children is a phase of life. Sometimes, a very LONG phase, but a phase nonetheless. Taking a backseat to those kids and their needs is amazingly selfless. And loving. And I expect you *are* appreciated, even if you do not get to hear it.
Whether you are wearing a full face of makeup or not. Have eaten anything besides dry cereal today or not. Killed it at today's big meeting or not.... Realize that you are doing your best.
That is not giving up.
Written by: Kirsten Ludwig