6 tips to help mums rediscover themselves through self-care
As a psychotherapist who works closely with mothers, I see the many, many roles you play. From being the primary caregiver to managing the household and perhaps juggling a career, it’s easy for your own identity to become intertwined with these responsibilities.
The journey of motherhood is beautiful, and it’s also hard. As mums we can so easily find ourselves trying to meet everyone else’s needs before our own. There are so many expectations placed on us. Maybe while we’ve been consumed with what we ‘should’ be doing, what’s best for our children, trying to keep the house looking like a bomb hasn’t gone off, we’ve lost ourselves.
We forget to nurture ourselves and our own identity and that is just as important as all of those other jobs. In fact, I’d say it’s more important.
6 tips to help you look after you:
Acknowledge the Need for Self-Care
Before diving into the practical aspects of self-care, it’s important to acknowledge that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish; it’s essential. As a mother, you give your all to your family, but neglecting your own needs can lead to burnout and a sense of lost identity. Understand that by prioritising self-care, you’re not just benefiting yourself but also creating a healthier and happier environment for your family.
Carve Out “Me” Time
In the whirlwind of motherhood, finding time for yourself might seem like a distant dream. However, setting aside dedicated “me” time is the cornerstone of rediscovering your identity. Whether it’s 15 minutes of reading, a yoga session, a relaxing bath, or pursuing a hobby you once loved, make it a non-negotiable part of your routine. Start small and gradually increase the time as you establish a self-care habit. If you’re thinking ‘but I need to put a wash on’, leave it, it will wait, how dirty are those clothes really? Could someone else do it later? You are more important.
Delegate and Seek Support
Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone. Enlist the support of your partner, family members, or friends. Delegating tasks and responsibilities can free up precious time for self-care. Surround yourself with a supportive network that understands the importance of nurturing your identity and encourages you to prioritise self-care. On average mums are working 16 hours a day, and your ‘employers’ aka your children, aren’t always thoughtful of your needs or give you a break. If you go out to work, you no doubt pick your children up on the way home and have very little headspace between your paid job and your mum role. This is why we need to be proactive is delegating and seeking support. If we don’t see our own self-care as essential, others won’t either.
Connect with Other Mums
Building connections with other mums can be a source of comfort and validation. Joining support groups or online communities can provide a platform to share experiences, seek advice, and realise that you’re not alone in your journey. These connections can also encourage you to prioritise self-care and embrace your identity beyond motherhood. Take your time to find the mums that lift you up, encourage you and leave you feeling good. Remember, we’re not going to get on with everyone, so if you don’t find someone who aligns with your values at first, have faith that you’ll find someone who will.
Boundaries are essential for maintaining your emotional and mental well-being. Learn to say no to commitments that drain your energy or do not align with your priorities. This allows you to create space for activities that resonate with your identity and bring you happiness. It’s easier said than done and this is a common area I work on with mums. We often have a lifetime of conditioning to undo to keep these boundaries but once undone you can free up so much time and mental space.
Being a mum is a learning curve, and it’s okay to make mistakes or have moments of self-doubt. The saying ‘it’s just a phase’ is a two-edged sword, just as we learn how to deal with one thing, we’re thrown something else! There is no manual for raising children, we learn as we go and we learn through making mistakes and making changes based on them. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a friend. Let go of the pressure of perfection and allow yourself to grow through your experiences.
If you’re struggling and would like counselling support, get in touch. I offer the following services in Killinghall, Harrogate:
Ideal if you want to make substantial changes to your day to day life, have a non-judgemental space to express your emotions, process your thoughts and let go of negative beliefs.
A single 90 minute session
This is for you if you have one specific issue you need support with that you feel doesn’t require the traditional longer-term counselling.