Words by psychotherapist Jane Faulkner
With Mothers Day fast approaching, I was thinking back to when I first became a Mum. I remember being overcome with a depth of love I had never felt before. I also remember a huge sense of gratitude washing over me; it was like I had taken part in a sacred ritual and on coming out the other side, I had entered the domain of motherhood. I felt so different- empowered, grown up and responsible. I knew I would do anything for my baby to keep him safe and well. I also had a new level of reverence and respect for women.
As mothers we are such givers, we give everything and then some; some of us give so much that we start to lose ourselves. Many women have this trait; it’s embedded in our conditioning to help others, to give of ourselves and to put ourselves last, however, this way of being is often unsustainable and unhelpful; both to ourselves and to our relationships.
In not caring for ourselves we send a message out to our kids that it’s okay to put ourselves last and to ignore our needs. This message does not serve us and it will not serve our children.
I learnt a few years ago that if I didn’t look after myself everything fell apart- I would become a cranky, resentful wreck and I didn’t enjoy mothering from that place. I had to learn how to regularly check-in with my needs and make sure that I had enough resources in my tank to meet the constant demands made upon me. I had to learn to ignore the conditioning that said looking after me was selfish and I had to learn how to care for myself so that I could care for my family.
So here are 10 ways to support you in your mothering journey…
- Let go of having to be the perfect mother, wife, daughter and friend. Trying to be perfect actually gets on the road of discovering who you are. We start to become who everyone around us wants us to be, we become great at meeting everyone else’s needs and fantastic at forgetting our own needs. When you lose touch with what you need, life can feel like a version of Groundhog Day without any sense of purpose or meaning because you are not allowing ‘you’ to show up!
- Give yourself permission to take time-out every day and check in with yourself. Ask yourself, ‘how am I, what do I need’? Find just 10 minutes to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea without anyone placing demands upon yourself. Often it’s the simple things nourish and restore us.
- Learn to delegate without the guilt. Get clear on tasks, roles, chores that you need to do and tasks that you can delegate to others. You are empowering them to do for themselves.
- Try out new things; we get lost in our role as wife and mother and forget who we are and what makes us tick. Explore your world and what nourishes you, what inspires you and what makes you- you.
- Make time for relationships that nurture you. Go on date nights, go out for lunch, take the time to catch up with friends. Friends are vital for our mental health and well-being and all relationship’s require time and connection to stay healthy.
- Practice receiving- allow others to give to you and be open to the different ways that people try to do this. Learn how to get in touch with what you need, so that you can let those around you know.
- It’s okay to say no. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means you are prioritising something else and looking after yourself. Saying no to things you are not keen on will give you space to say yes to what you are interested in, and people will be clear on where they stand with you.
- Learn how to honour and respect your time and your energy and to set limits and boundaries to ensure that your life is your own, not somebody else’s. When you respect yourself, you teach others to respect you as well.
- Remember what an honour and a gift it is to be a Mum. You are doing an amazing job, parenting and creating the people of tomorrow is what shapes our world, so please give your role as a Mum all the significance and importance it deserves.
- Learn to put yourself first. Airline safety requires the mum to put the oxygen mask on first- the same applies in real life. Look after yourself, eat well, move in a way that feels good, surround yourself with supportive people, laugh lots and enjoy each day as life goes so fast.
Lastly, please don’t make this list another chore; use it to support you in your life. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to ask for help. Being vulnerable lets others in, so it actually supports healthy relationships and gives you permission to reclaim yourself.
Jane Faulkner started her career as a Registered Nurse and has worked in hospitals in Australia and overseas. During her career as a nurse, she supported people through the difficult transitions of illness, grief, death, trauma, mental health issues and childbirth.
Jane has a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy, a Bachelor of Nursing, a Certificate in Initiatic Art Therapy and is certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapist. Yoga is an integral part of her life, she is a Certified Iyengar Teacher and continues to study and teach in the Iyengar yoga tradition. She is an accomplished teacher, therapist, and facilitator and has led many women’s groups and Day Retreats, presented seminars and workshops, and worked with many different community groups and individuals.
Jane is the founder of Equine Assisted Therapy Australia, an organisation that provides training, retreats, programs and individual sessions that aim to provide individuals with a new and authentic ways to grow and learn more about themselves. Connect with Jane HERE.