Mothers are often seen as the glue that holds families together, tending to the needs of their children, partners, and other family members with endless love, care, and attention.
This is me, 8 years ago with my kids in Portugal. I was a single mum, with three young kids. Interestingly, this was a time in my life where I was laser focussed on putting me first. It was an unsaid, but something I actively did each day. Somehow, I think it felt easier as it was just me. I didn’t have a man in my life to think about or fit into my week. Sounds harsh, but that’s how it felt at the time.
I loved being a single mum. I could throw myself into being a mum and being unapologetically me. I had spent years in an unhappy marriage. It had taken its toll on me, my sense of self, my sense of worth and looking after myself. Through a friendship I had, I had been shown just how worthy and amazing I was. So, just after I turned 40, I left. I couldn’t do it anymore. Not just for me, but for my kids and my ex. All of us now reap the benefits from my life changing decision. I put myself first, even though it felt like a ‘selfish’ act at the time, deep down I knew it wasn’t. I listened to my body and mind screaming at me. I felt I needed to give myself a chance.
I exercised every day, I took care of me with nourishing food, I found fun where I could as well as being able to find time for my family. I made sure I regularly met up with friends and family to ensure I had connection with other adults!
When the kids were with me, which was most of the time, I was focused on them and their needs. When they were at school, it was all about me and my needs. I had chosen to work for myself to give myself the flexibility I needed to care for me and my family. When they were with their dad, I made time to appreciate myself, have fun and be Rachel rather than mum. I reflect and see that I really did give myself the space to grow as a woman in this time and appreciate all the different roles I had, especially that of being a mother.
I am now happily married with an additional stepson. All are growing up fast, aged between 14 and 20, time has flown by. I find it more challenging now to make time for me. I am not sure if that’s because there’s additional members in our family or because the needs of our family have changed. Probably a bit of both. We have worked hard on ‘blending’ our family. I am proud of what we have achieved and how they all see each other as siblings not ‘step’. They love each other dearly and argue like they are all equal. I think we have done an excellent job at bringing our families together. I have become a full-time carer for one of my children, so putting myself first is even more important than ever before. I don’t have the luxury of all my children being at school or work. One is with me all day every day. I am not saying that for sympathy, I am explaining it as I took for granted all my kids being at school. It felt like a rite of passage and when I got ‘everything’ done, so I could give them my undivided attention when they were home. Putting me first has been a journey. It is one that I need to pay more attention to now than ever before. This blog is as much for me as it is for you!
It's important for mums to prioritise their own needs. By putting themselves first, mothers can experience countless benefits that ultimately lead to healthier, happier families.
I want to explore the reasons why mums should prioritise their own needs and how doing so can have a positive impact on everyone in the family.
Self-Care and Personal Fulfilment
It's no secret that being a mum can be demanding, both physically and emotionally. However, practicing self-care is essential for maintaining well-being and personal fulfilment. When mothers invest time in themselves, they are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with parenting. They'll also be more likely to model healthy habits and behaviours for their children, setting the foundation for a lifetime of well-being.
Prioritising oneself doesn't mean neglecting one's family. In fact, it can lead to stronger and more fulfilling relationships. When a mum takes the time to meet her own needs, she can approach her relationships with a renewed sense of energy and perspective. This can lead to better communication, understanding, and connection with her partner and children.
Increased Emotional Resilience
Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes it can feel like we're on an emotional rollercoaster. By taking care of their own emotional well-being, mums can build resilience and better cope with the ups and downs of life. This emotional strength can be contagious, fostering a more resilient family unit that can weather life's challenges together.
Children learn by example, and when they see their mum prioritising her own needs and well-being, they are more likely to grow up with a strong sense of self-worth and independence. This can lead to a healthier sense of self-esteem and an understanding of the importance of self-care, setting the stage for a lifetime of personal growth and development.
Recharging and Rediscovering
Taking time for oneself allows mums to recharge, both mentally and physically. This can lead to increased creativity, better problem-solving skills, and more patience. Mums who prioritise their own needs can also rediscover their passions and interests, helping them to maintain a sense of identity outside of their roles as mothers and partners.
It's important for mums to remember that prioritising their own needs is not a selfish act. Instead, it's a necessary and valuable investment in their overall well-being and the health of their families. By putting themselves first, mothers can experience numerous benefits, such as personal fulfilment, stronger relationships, emotional resilience, empowered children, and the chance to recharge and rediscover themselves.
So, go ahead, mums – put yourselves first and watch as your family becomes happier and healthier.