This morning on my weekly mothers group run, a new mother joined us. She joined the group even though she didn’t know anyone, she had not slept the previous night, it was 35 degrees out and she is not a morning person. She ran with our pacesetter and it did not seem to faze her. She was happy to be outside, grateful to experience “happy morning people,” and proud that she had stuck to her New Years resolution to run.
I remember this feeling. Proud just to get out of bed. Proud to do one thing for myself that I used to do regularly before becoming a mother. This feeling is important because it brings you back to your own center and reminds you of who you are.
The transition to motherhood is so complex and extraordinary that it touches every aspect of our lives. We are forever changed. Some of these changes are so profound that we may lose touch with our center while we focus our attention on birthing, bonding with our infant and caring for one or multiple babies. Every day we are expanding ourselves to include our role as a mother.
This evolutionary process of becoming a mother includes a dramatic shift in time, focus, lifestyle, finances and relationships. For most of us it is not a straightforward progression and there are very few resources to help us along. Problems can arise when we focus too much of our energy on the well being of others and not enough on ourselves. When things get difficult to manage and you find yourself stressed out, a bit of self-care can help maintain your sanity and balance.
One place to start is to reach out to the “old you” and do something that used to make you smile and feel just a bit more alive. This can take 10 minutes or 2 hours, but make sure you set aside the time and set the intention to do it. After doing this, you will find yourself back in control, in charge and replenished with energy to continue with whatever the day brings you.
Here are some examples pulled together from fellow moms and mentors:
• Use a symbol that reminds you to say “yes” to yourself
• Get a pedicure
• Watch your favorite movie
• Practice yoga
• Read a favorite book
• Walk on the beach
• Play your own music in the car
• Take a 10 minute “time out”
• Go to lunch with a friend
• Go for a solo hike
• Browse in a store for nothing in particular
• Do your meditation practice
• Go to a museum or art show
• Take an early morning exercise class without childcare
• Go for a long run
• Play tennis
• Make yourself a meal that only you like
As mothers, we must collectively work on putting ourselves back in the center of our lives.
I promise you that if the new you does something just for yourself, the former you will be waiting there with a smile.
Laura Riordan, Ph.D., is a life coach and mother who works with individuals and couples in times of transition. She is a graduate of Cornell University¹s School of Hotel Administration and in 2006 earned her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology. Laura¹s own passion for a balanced life has been fueled by her long-term yoga practice, extensive travels, continuing education and commitment to community. Laura lives in San Rafael with her husband and daughter. Learn more about working with Laura here.