Haaning York (currinhastings41)

It is very easy as a mother/parent to neglect one's own self-care. The competing demands of maintaining our children, while also juggling the many other roles and responsibilities inside our lives and careers, can leave hardly any time left over for self-care activities (or inactivities as the case may be). Self-care and self-nurturing are key our well-being and effectiveness as mothers (so when human beings). We not only have our children to love and look after, and our partners where they exist, but also ourselves.

In many ways, we ultimately love and look after others, to the extent we love and care for ourselves. Many of you scanning this article are very proficient at being "other focused", caring for the needs of children, partners, aging parents, friends, neighbours, as well as perhaps also clients, patients and students if your work on the planet involves helping or supporting others. Again, the extent to which you are able to fully show up by yourself behalf, will be reflected in the distance it is possible to support others to take terms of their health and well-being- together with your children. A wise woman once said to me, "we only take people as far as we have gone ourselves." As mothers, we want to take children the fantastic distance towards their health, well-being and happiness, hence a journey we are called to make ourselves.

Being a mother, may be the most complex, amazing, exhausting, and meaningful work that I have ever done in my life so far. All of the tending, loving, giggling, cleaning up, getting snacks, changing diapers, running baths, reading stories, teaching, sleepless nights, adjusting, evolving, coordinating, learning and growing is truly mind boggling. I used to believe the toughest job I ever had was as a kid welfare social worker, than I worked in the emergency department of a hospital and thought that was up there in the "this is challenging work" category. Onward to key note speeches and facilitating training programs before hundreds of people, where my heart would pound loudly in my own ears as I was introduced, seconds from needing to say something brilliant (or at least not foolish) to individuals sitting at round tables with their name tags on. I QUICKLY became a mother and fell to my knees in the humility of the all consuming, miracle of motherhood. Now THIS is hard work! Motherhood, in my experience, is hard, easy, natural, challenging, joyful, soulful and often invisible work.

Self-care has a totally new meaning now since how well I take care of myself will determine, for some reason, how well I look after my children. That said, I also notice the more we look after others, the harder it really is to maintain self-care - there can be so many competing imperatives on our time. With deep respect and compassion for this reality, here are a few tips for prioritiizing your personal self-care as a mother/parent (if you're not a parent - I am hoping you find value in these pointers as you honour your self-care amid what is true that you experienced).

Do what you love - in the event that you only can create 30 minutes a day to deal with yourself - choose activities that you really want to do (what really fills you up, inspires you, nurtures you, supports you - choose these exact things!) - it will ensure it is easier to get to them. Yes, running 5 kms would be good, but maybe you would rather have a bubble bath - so have the bath!

Think integration versus balance - balance might seem such as a distant far fetched notion when you pack kids in to the car, run back in the house to grab your car keys and the lunch bag you forgot on the counter, so let's reframe balance into integration. Integration implies that the really important elements of your life get some of one's attention - so you exercise, eat healthy, and make time for self reflection. But perhaps you can't do all of these things each day - but overall you have a tendency to them throughout a week, per month - this is