A Toast to Mother’s Day, Everyday!

My wonderful mom

With Mother’s Day coming this Sunday, I wanted to remind all the incredible moms out there of the importance of nurturing ourselves as we take care of our children and families.  And I’m talking about more than the once a year mimosa brunch or bubble bath on Mother’s Day afternoon.  I mean truly nurturing ourselves, with the same care and attention that we give our children and other loved ones on a daily basis!

It’s so hard not to sometimes feel selfish or guilty about putting ourselves first.  Yet, what if I told you that taking care of yourself can actually be one of the most unselfish things you can do for your children?  Start by asking yourself, “When I am physically, emotionally or mentally depleted, am I really giving my best to my children?” If your answer is like mine, you know those low moments are often the times when we cringingly give our children our worst (a mom in my class poignantly related it to the instructions we get on an airplane to put our oxygen masks on first, before deploying our children’s–we can’t help them, if we can’t breathe ourselves)!  So taking care of ourselves before we get to that point can help us give our children what they truly deserve and need from us.

Self-care also models healthy emotional and physical habits for our children.  Magda Gerber, whose RIE philosophy is built upon the foundation of respecting children and their authentic needs, says that one of the best ways to show our children we respect them is to model self-respect.  This concept of self-respect resonated for me and my intention of teaching my children to lead healthy lives. Whenever I neglect myself, what are the messages I am sending my boys? To run themselves into the ground and wait until they get physically ill before they take care of themselves?  By setting healthy boundaries and being compassionate and caring to myself, I hope to model healthy ways for my children to learn to care for and listen to their own needs. Overall, I want them to see that refueling and self-nurturing are just as critical to a healthy balanced lifestyle as diet and exercise are.

So how do we accomplish this in our busy lives? Kathy Peel, a life coach who has written numerous books about balancing busy families, suggests that we start by compiling a list of the things that both exhaust and refuel us during the day–basically to learn what tasks are sapping away the most energy and what activities can restore it. What is so practical about this exercise is that instead of focusing on the special things that may happen once in a while (like Mother’s Day or a spa weekend) it urges us to pinpoint the small things that we can do everyday to help us refuel. The next step is to work to minimize or get support for the tasks on the “exhausting” side, while trying to ensure we make time for the tasks on the “refueling” side.

When I made my list when my boys were younger, the activity that most exhausted me was giving them their baths in the evening (if you read my Black Eyed Peas post, you’ll understand why)! Once I realized this, I worked to minimize my exhaustion by sometimes giving them baths earlier in the day when I had more energy and patience, having my husband, who really enjoyed giving baths take on this task, and eventually when the boys got older, teaching them how to take their own baths and showers.

The main activities that came up on the refueling side were spending a few minutes every morning reading my newspaper while drinking a cup of tea and reading a little before I went to bed. Nothing fancy or glamorous, yet I realized how much these small activities set a calming tone at the beginning of the day, and helped me wind down in the evening. I have been amazed how much they make a difference to the quality of my energy and stress levels during the day.  I also feel my intention validated whenever I hear the boys say, “Oh Mom’s having her down time, we can’t bother her.”   It tells me they are learning to value the importance of Mom’s, and their own, self-care.

Finally, nurturing ourselves can often bring us clarity about our children that may otherwise not happen. In yoga, one of the primary focuses for doing the poses is to clear the mind in order to see things as they truly are. server hosting info . ip address websites I have found that when I am refueled and my mind is clear, I am often able to find solutions or gain insight to the most confusing or stressful parenting dilemmas. So nurturing ourselves also has the potential of helping us learn about, and guide our children in new and innovative ways.

Speaking of nurturing, I wanted to close with a Mother’s Day message of love and gratitude to my incredible Mom, who has helped teach me so much about compassion, self-love and nurturing.  Thanks Mom–I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your modeling of what a wise, strong and compassionate Mom looks like.  I love you.

So here’s a toast to moms everywhere, and to setting the intention of mindful, compassionate moments of self nurturing everyday.  Happy, Happy Mother’s Day, my friends!

Mindful Parenting Playlist Song#4 “Put Your Records On,” by Corinne Bailey Rae

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  • http://www.teamfoye.com jsfoye

    Shaila,
    I am a friend of many of your clients and they passed this along to me. Thank you for your kind words of wisdom and empowering emphasis on taking a little more than we think we “can.”

    Good Mother’s Day to you.
    Sincerely,
    Jocelyn Foye