What better way to start the month associated with love than taking a moment to talk about self-love? And, while there will be a bit about self-care in here, we’re focusing on more self-love for working moms this time around.
The topics related to self-love, self-care, and the need for grace came up again and again in the 110+ interviews I did with professional part-time working moms. They are not unique in wanting to have self-love as part of their routine. And all moms, especially working moms, need to focus some time on self-love and on taking care of their own needs.
The Battle with Perfection
Many moms are fighting the fight to be perfect in every way. Who doesn’t want to be an amazing mother – fun, loving, creative, and patient? Is one of your intentions to have a healthy, tasty meal on the table each night that your family loves? You’re not alone. And of course we want to create Pinterest-ready birthday parties each year for our kids.
We aim to be the best role models in career, attitude, abilities and everything else. We want to be smart and successful in our careers to show what working moms can do, whether at a company or as an entrepreneur. And we’re trying to be an example of what we can be done as working moms. Watch mommy do it all!
We strive for amazing relationships with our significant other. Of course, that means different things to different people, but we all still strive for happy relationships on the home front. After all, the relationship between a child’s mom and dad is one of the most important in his or her life.
We try to plan the most memorable and fantastic vacations, so that our kids have these wonderful memories. We work hard to have enough money to give our kids everything that they need and, hopefully, everything that they want.
Having it all seem perfect is a lot, though. Why does it have to be perfect? Is this even the right model to give to our kids?
We Apply the Pressure
There is no question that society puts some pressure on moms to be amazing in all areas. What I see, more often than not, is moms putting even more pressure on themselves. As if there wasn’t enough we felt obliged to live up to, we put even more pressure and expectations on ourselves. The expectations are often unreasonable and the goals, unreachable. We strive to have everything worthy of social media and lead the Pinterest-ready or Instragramable life, but is that even remotely reasonable?
Mommy Guilt Rears its Ugly Head
And when we don’t live up to our ridiculously high expectations of ourselves (and those from others either real or perceived), moms often feel guilty. The “should haves” and “could haves” appear. Or mommy guilt creeps in to ask: “Was that enough?” “Maybe it would have been better if I had done ______.”
Instead of celebrating the happy moments and the small and big accomplishments, I hear and see over and over how moms overanalyze and think of what could have been better with a few tweaks or huge changes. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that we can often learn lessons, but sometimes we need to simply enjoy the moment instead of looking for the changes.
The Need for Grace
What can we do to give ourselves a break? What if we treated ourselves the way we do our kids, our significant other, and our friends.
Let’s assume we tried our hardest, which is good enough.
Let’s not analyze to death what went wrong when things seemed to go well and our kids are happy.
Let’s enjoy the moments and brush off the “could have” or “should have.”
Let’s give ourselves some grace and stop trying to be more all the time in everything we do.
You are enough, mama! You’re doing your best! That’s really all you can ask of yourself.
What if we give ourselves a break and realize that it’s OK for our kids to have dino chicken nuggets and mac n’ cheese from a box from time to time. Don’t use that one meal to decide you’re not doing enough for your family. Don’t be afraid to simplify or scale back. Aim for easy in some areas instead of Pinterest perfect all the time. Enjoy the moment. Give yourself some grace.
Ridicule Less & Celebrate More
Instead of asking about how you can do more and be more, tell the inner critic to take a hike. Tell that critical voice to “hush!” And do that as soon as it starts talking.
You are enough. You’re doing enough. Period.
What if we celebrate more and ridicule ourselves less? Celebrate the little wins that build up to big wins instead of only focusing on the big win that might still be steps or leaps away. Build to the big goals, but still take a moment for the small wins that show you’ve reached small goals. You deserve it!
Let’s celebrate our personal and professional wins, big and small. Celebrate the little things and don’t pick them a part. Instead of moving on the next task on the To Do list, stop. Embrace the moment. Celebrate your win! And then celebrate even more in the big moments.
And, if we’re going to talk about more self-love for working moms, then it’s only natural to talk about self-care. Yep, as working mamas, we need some self-care in the mix. Self-care should be very personal, so take a moment to figure out what fills your cup. (Check out my post on self-care if you need a lot more advice on this topic.)
My daily check-in in the morning helps me make little adjustments before I even get out of bed. And, if I need it, I might do a few minutes of meditation. While I don’t specifically do a self-care thing each week, my family and I can often be found hiking a new trail, which definitely helps me with my overall care. And my monthly big moment of self-care is a pedicure. (Plus, when you’re in Austin, Texas, where you can wear sandals 9-10 months out of the year, it’s almost required to have a pedi, even in the middle of winter.)
And don’t forget that it’s a 360-degree view of self-care where you eat nutritional meals, drink the right amount of water, sleep enough for your body, and exercise at least a few days a week. We need to take care of our physical needs as part of our overall self-care.
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Let’s focus on self-love and celebrating whatever we’re doing right. Walk away from the mommy guilt. You understand what you need and your kids need and you’re doing your best. It doesn’t have to be perfect for everyone else. It works for you and your family and that is enough. And somewhere in the mix, take time to take care of yourself.
How are you giving yourself more grace? What helps to quiet your inner critic? What wins will you start celebrating? I would love to hear about what wins you’ll start to celebrate and what celebrating will look like for you and your family.