I came home on Monday after a beautiful BaBs session, feeling so inspired to get better at looking after myself. Our topic this Month was: “Ourselves as women, how do we keep the woman part of ourselves alive, while being busy mothering”? It was a great session, which touched us all and I am sure you can relate as well.
How do you look after yourself and what do you do, to keep that part of your being alive that doesn’t have to do with mothering?
We once had a woman coming to BaBs who was pregnant with number 11. We were all falling over in awe of this woman. “How do you do it?” was what we all wanted to know. Her answer was pretty simple. “When I stopped thinking I had to be something more, that I had to study fx, and let go of all that, I started enjoy myself as a mother”.
This is one interesting perspective, but it is not going to fit everyone. This was a very big point at our BaBs meeting too. We can’t have one way of doing it for all women. We are all going to need something different, but the important thing is that we get what we need to thrive in motherhood and life.
We started our session by talking about how everyone looks after themselves. What works for you right now and we had some great ideas:
- Exercise or Zumba in particular
this is such a happy, high energy, let loose type dancing.
- Walking the dog on the beach by herself every Saturday morning
having it as a set agreement, minimizes discussion and the tendency to just not bother or it is too difficult and resistance in partners who will have to take over
- Simply closing the door for half an hour and taking time out.
setting up life so your kids can manage for a short while
- Handing the baby over and go to the shop yourself for toilet paper
this was a great new mother idea.
- Walking on the beach even if it is just once a fortnight
- Having a bath, even if it is just for 10 minutes
We then also talked about how you can look after yourself, while in the middle of mothering. How can you nourish your soul with small and simple things that doesn’t require being without your kids.
This could be things like:
- Making sure you turn on your oil burner with a nice smell in it
- Put a table cloth on for dinner
- Buy yourself some flowers
- Turn on a candle
- Put on some nice music or even loud music in the car
- Read a good book
- Treat yourself to a special cup of coffee
- Meet up with a friend or friends, even with your kids
We talked about that doing some of these things nearly like a ritual, increases the benefit somehow.
But there is another side to looking after yourself as a woman, not just a mother that needs time out. This is maybe the opposite to the woman with the 11 children. For some women, having something else in your life, apart from being a mother makes all the difference. This could be things like:
even just 2 hours a week at TAFE or a language course or something else
- Join a dancing group or a drama group
- A job you really like, which uses another part of the brain J to mothering
- Having a project like gardening, sewing, writing, music etc
In the end what is common for all of us, is that we need to make sure we don’t run dry. We all agreed that it is so much easier to enjoy our kids, when we are well looked after ourselves. The big issue is to learn what fills you up again, what does looking after yourself look like and how can you nourish your soul in those little ways.
Taking out twenty minutes Sunday night to contemplate what worked for you last week and what didn’t and what will you need this week might be the best thing you can do for yourself. And then arrange straight away in a way that it is likely to happen.