Ever casually ask a mother "How are things going?” Only to get a response full of listed duties responsibilities and tasks? "OMG potty training little Bobby, super swamped with a new project at work, adding on a guest bathroom by hand, doing my mother's taxes, and building a secret rocket ship prototype for NASA – girl, I am so busy I can't think straight". We have taught ourselves that being busy is the equivalent of importance.
Motherhood is naturally a job of multitasking, juggling, and balancing acts and unfortunately we have begun to wear our 'over extendedness' as a badge of honor - for all to notice, acknowledge, and revere. It's this mindset that puts mothers in situations where we find ourselves 30 lbs heavier, or learn of a life threatening illness at stage 4 – all because we are preoccupied with being occupied.
So how do we begin to change this mindset? By valuing the effort we put in in taking care of ourselves.
Honestly, I have trouble sharing my self-care activities with others. It takes a lot for me to say “just came from taking myself out to eat and treating myself to a mani pedi”. Mother’s guilt rages inside as I feel my proclamations should be about all the other things I am doing or else my fellow matriarchs will look down on me. I had to take a minute to realize that me and my mani/pedi’s have a one up on "Judy" with bed hair, mismatched shoes, and last month’s nail polish stuck in her cuticles.
My power as a mother lies within my ability to MANAGE everything not DO everything. Of course, it’s no secret that the best thing we can do for our families is take care of ourselves. So, next time someone asks “how’s motherhood?” resist the urge to reveal your formula for energy efficient gas. Just whip out pictures of your cute big eared kids (you know you want to anyway) and show off your prize possessions.
Remember, when we stop taking on all the responsibilities and doing everything, we lesson our vulnerability for feeling unappreciated. Nothing’s worse than giving your last, your all – only for it to be over looked. But when we do "too much" we need that appreciation more than usual and fall even lower when we don't get it.
Cherrell Thomas, MA, LPC,NCC, CPCS is a professional counselor, licensed by the state of Georgia and certified by the national board of counselors. With over 7 years in the field, Cherrell has experience in multiple areas of mental health. Through her private practice, HELPFUL THERAPY CENTER LLC, she promotes the power of inner resiliency and encourages her clients to define their own "happy".
However, she may have met her match in her three year old daughter who is teaching her everyday about life, parenting, and the struggle for sanity.
Follow along as we uncover the myths in a candid conversation, only a Mama can identify.
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