Why Putting Myself First Makes Me a Better Mum
Words By: Margaret Galang, YMF Founder
Have you ever felt mother’s guilt before? Just the title of this blog makes me feel mother’s guilt! Saying the words “putting myself first” brings on this feeling that I’m being selfish. I think we can feel mother’s guilt over just about anything! As bad as this guilt can make us feel, it comes from the strongest form of love – the unconditional love we have for our children, where we would do anything and everything for them and no matter what they did in this world, nothing would ever take that love away from us. As important as that love for our children is, it is also equally important to give ourselves some of that same love.
It’s true what they say, a happy mum = a happy baby. I’m a big believer in that the energy you put out is the energy you get back. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or anxious, it’s like the kids can feel that and feed off it and they act more agitated, start fighting with each other, and start back chatting me! But when I’m chilled out and happy, I feel like they are too and we get along so much more harmoniously. We give so much of our time and energy to so many other things, so I think it’s only fair to give some of that back to ourselves, especially if it makes us happier, and in turn that happiness spreads to our children and everyone else around us. For me, my “thing” is exercise. It’s important for me to make time for this because it helps me to relieve stress, allows me to put my energy towards something that is improving my health and fitness, helps me feel happier and more confident about my body, and so many other benefits (too many to list). Spending that 45 minutes a day to do that something for myself, then helps me to deal with everything else in a much more positive and productive light. I saw something posted on Facebook the other week and it summed it up perfectly:
“Our children watch every move we make and learn from every action we take. If mummy prioritises her health by going to yoga once a week and daddy goes for a run on the weekend, the kids learn from that. It’s the same with self-care and busy-ness: if you want to raise children who are balanced, have a healthy respect for their jobs but know their boundaries and prioritise what’s really important, you have to do the same. So, if guilt is stopping you from putting your own needs first, think of it as a gift to your children. Not only will you walk back in through that door happier, calmer and more ready to parent, but you will also be showing them what’s important in life. And that is the greatest gift of all.”
Not sure who that was written by, but they are genius and I couldn’t have put it better myself!
Now, I’m talking about exercise in this blog, but exercise doesn’t have to be the “thing” that you do for yourself, it can be anything that is important to you. No matter what it is though, make sure you find the time for it (and try not to feel guilty about it!). Whenever I’m feeling guilty, I always reference back to something they say during the safety speech before you take off on a flight – you know the part where they say you must put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others? I apply that principle to motherhood. As weird as that may sound, it makes perfect sense to me when I’m having an unnecessary mother’s guilt moment. It’s so true though don’t you think? Because how can you be any good to anyone else if you don’t look after yourself first?.. Something to keep in mind!