Written by: Jessica M.
Sometimes, it takes things to go wrong for you to learn how to make things go right.
Last year, after many mental break downs, I finally realized that it was time that I stop with the excuses and do more for “me”.
For years, I watched my mother selflessly raise me and 5 other siblings. She gave up her job to stay home, be our caretaker and in-house 5-star chef. Through what I witnessed growing up, I thought that embracing motherhood meant giving ALL of me to my husband and kids.
-Two pregnancies (that’s 16 months alcohol-free)
-Compounded sleepless nights
-Balancing being a working mom and homemaker
-One combined year of breast pumping
-Sadly shaped post-baby breasts
-Managing x2 the energy of the terrible twos and threes
-Sticky rice food clean-ups
-Countless bath time water splash drama
-“I hate you MOMMMMM!” moments
-Watching my muffin-top not improve
-Hours of frustrating late-night homework
-Endless negotiations over bed time
-Excessive time and dedication to beautiful breakfasts and dinners with little to no reciprocated gratitude
I can go on and on.
It was time to accept that my unending love for my family took a little piece of me every day.
I put myself on hold. I exerted all my energy after work to my family life. I made excuses. I stopped creating goals for myself. I stopped holding myself accountable to my actions. I was angry with my husband for my decisions. How could I hold anyone else accountable for my own happiness?
Society made me feel that I needed to be the best mom while pretending that I was OK.
If I wanted to have and build the patience to watch my son make homemade pancakes every Sunday for breakfast, it was time for a change.
My steps to self-love.
Even writing this article took sacrifice. A) spend time with my husband before he sleeps or B) take a few hours to put my thoughts into words.
With the support of my husband, it was time to re-establish the love for myself and things outside of my marriage and kids that makes me smile.
Ironically, while writing this, Spotify served me the most fitting song for the theme of this article.
Faces’ “Ooh La La is smoothly singing:
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger
It has taken me nearly 10 years into motherhood to realize that if I don’t take care of myself, my family and kids will receive the worst of me.
Scary Mommy shared these ultra-perfect words of inspiration.
Number 1: Connecting with VivaMama
At work, I began to dedicate some time to help build a program called VivaMama. VivaMama has a simple and strong mission. It strives to support parents in the workplace by helping improve our professional and personal lives.
Immediately I connected and had all sorts of wild ideas to help bring it to life. I found fulfillment through tapping into my colleague’s talents to help create programming and to bring working parents together. In time, the VivaMama lead offered the co-lead position to me. I was ecstatic and excited to take it on! This was step one into my journey of rekindling self-love.
The absolute topping on the cake came this past January. At our all-agency meeting, Sarah (my co-lead) and I were awarded the incredible “Cultural Pioneer” award for all our efforts keeping VivaMama alive and running.
Number 2: Taking care of myself.
After allowing myself to be inconsistent for so many years, I finally committed to setting all guilt aside. Big or small, it was important that I make the time to do the things that made ME happy.
Mid-last year, I committed to staying active.
I started consistently going to the gym. Sometimes at 5:30am, other times at 8pm. Whatever worked best before breakfast prep or after dinner was made and cleaned up.
More bike rides, with or without the kids.
Walks, with or without the kids.
A week ago, I joined Class Pass and made a 30-mile drive to join my baby-sister at hot yoga. The class was just what I needed and reconnecting with my sister after over breakfast and coffee was a mega-treat.
Get your hair did.
For the first time in years, I sacrificed three hours of time with my family to get my hair done. Shout-out to Kristen at Vital Touch Salon for making me not feel like a run-down mom and giving me a reason to feel good about myself again.
Number 3: Reconnecting with Friends, new and old.
The biggest void I’ve felt since becoming a parent is friendship. When my husband and I left home in 2007, we left behind beautiful friendships and what felt like an epic social life. A year after moving, we quickly became parents and everything changed. One of my new goals is to finally make the time to be present and reconnect with new and old friends.
A month ago, an old high school girlfriend and I spontaneously went out on a work night for an Amy Winehouse tribute. 2 years ago, I would have NEVER agreed to leave my kids and husband on a work/school night. I finally gave myself the permission to live a little and remember that I was once a free-spirit and it’s OK to have a little fun.
My big commitment and goal for 2019 is to plan more trips to connect with best friends from back home and Texas. These were the ladies that were there during many of my major milestones, and it’s time to put my friendships forward.
Overall, this thing called self-love is a work in progress. I’m still a dedicated wife and mother, but I’m learning to take care of myself again. Knowing that every day that I make the time for me, my family will only benefit ten-fold from my newly built inner happiness.
Admittedly, my sons are becoming more and more independent. As bittersweet as this feels, it’s becoming easier and easier to feel less guilty about doing things for myself. I hope that the stress from the high demands of life, work and parenthood will subside for you and yours. Every day, I try and remind myself that I have a choice. I can let the anxieties of life consume me or I can overcome it through positivity. Hoping to spread love and positivity to you all.
Your fellow mom on the road to discovering self-love.
-Originally written by Jessica M.