An 8-year-old little girl is playing with her friend, in the living room. She hears the front door open, and her mom breezes in, the wind in her hair, a smile on her face, rosy cheeks, and a twinkle in her eye. She rushes over to the little girl and gives her a great big hug, and exclaims, “I missed you so much, and I’m so glad to see you!” She starts telling the little girls grand stories about the weekend adventure she just had, making art, eating vibrant food, singing and dancing, relaxing, and connecting with other mamas.
Does this scene remind you of your childhood?
Perhaps for a few of us, it does. If so, what did you think about the mamas you knew, who took great care of themselves?
For many of us, this may have been the rare occurrence, or we may never have witnessed our mothers enjoying healthy, soul-enlivening self-care, at all. In fact, many of us can easily recount stories of our mothers feeling guilt for doing even the smallest thing for themselves.
Take a moment to imagine what it would feel like, as an 8-year-old little girl, seeing your mother demonstrate immaculate self-care. What is the feeling? What questions would you have for her? How do you see her, as a mother, in this scene? What might this give these girls permission to do, as they mother, one day?
Now, take a breath. I think you know where I’m going with this.
We’ve all heard the analogy of the airplane oxygen mask. The flight attendant requests that, in the event of an emergency, all adults put on their own mask, before placing the mask of their child. This may seem counterintuitive at first. But, if the adult were to pass out, after their child’s oxygen mask was on, what might happen then? In order for the parent to guide the child out of the airplane, the parent needs to be conscious.
The same is true for all care-taking. In order for us to be effective care-takers for others, we must be effective at our own care, first.
We all know this, intuitively. But perhaps it even goes deeper than this. Yes, we need to be present for our children, and we know we need to be good to ourselves to allow for that. But as our children grow, how can we encourage our daughters to allow time and energy for themselves, especially as they grow into adulthood, and eventually motherhood?
We need to talk about self-care from an early age, and we need to model it. We need to teach about “me time,” sisterhood, and self-love. It needs to be visible, discussed, and normalized.
Here are 5 steps can you take, right now, to bring the idea of self-care into your home:
- Model meditation and breathing techniques, side bonus, your children might take it up, too!
- Take a Mama Bath, just for mama, candles, music, whole 9 yards, even 15 minutes will make a huge difference!
- Demonstrate “Mirror Work” by looking into your own eyes, in the mirror, in front of your children, and telling yourself how much you love your eyes, your laugh, your courageous heart, anything you truly love about yourself.
- Dance to your favorite music (not just to Radio Disney!)
- Share Authentically, by having your husband or your child’s care-giver let your children know that mama is gone for a couple of hours to get a massage or get a pedicure. Have them explain why this is genuinely good. Share your experience with your children when you return home. Or, perhaps bring children who are old enough to accompany you for that pedicure, to get one of their own.
After all, when we think about the mama of that 8-year-old girl, who benefits from the self-care she’s done?
The truth is that mamas just need a minute, every once in a while. Call it a wellness day, a day off, a break. : ) It’s a good thing for mamas, babies, partners, and even kids’ best friends to see what happens when women take good care of themselves.
Let’s have the next generation of mamas emerge guilt-free, when it comes to immaculate self-care!
BONUS STEP! Create with your family the possibilities for nourishing self-care through attending Magical Mama Retreat!
Sign up here to get your retreat on, November 6, 7, and 8, at Arcosanti, a beautiful artist community nestled in nature, just an hour north of Phoenix, and keep everyone smiling!
More great info on the value of mamas taking great care of themselves, by one of the expert doctors on Emmy award-winning TV show A&E’s Hoarders here.
All my love,