Self love is important too
As we approach the month of February and all things love, we often focus on our love towards our significant others. While romantic relationships are important, you do not need to forget about loving yourself.
Neglecting Your Relationships
After becoming a new mom, we often start to neglect ourselves. Our focus becomes our children and everything else becomes secondary. We lose sight of who we are. In the end we start to not only neglect ourselves, but also our relationships with our husbands, family, and friends.
I am still learning to love myself. It is something that is an ongoing process. I have made a commitment to love myself in an effort to continue to build my relationship with my husband, friends, and family. You have to love yourself in order to love everyone else.
You Can’t Fake It
No matter how much makeup you use or how pretty you dress, a neglected you can be sensed by those around you. Whether it’s your mood or how you interact with others, chances are someone has detected your vulnerability.
As a licensed therapist, I spend a lot of my time teaching others how to love themselves and build positive relationships with others. I struggled with this after becoming a mom because I lost sense of who I was. One of the hardest things for me to accept was how my inability to love myself impacted my relationships with others.
What Happens When You Don’t Love You?
If you are unable to be a happy you, your relationships with others cannot be at its best. This can be you having less patience with your children. Or you resenting your role as a mother. It can also be neglecting your relationship with your husband.
Kids seem to have this innate ability to pick up on changes in your mood, even if you think you are doing a good job of hiding it. So not loving yourself means not being able to fully embrace and love your family. It can impact your ability to be present for your partner. Loving yourself, just like loving others, needs to be actively and regularly worked on.
So how do you love yourself? What changes can you make in your life to have a deeper and more positive relationship with you?
Take care of your mind
Have you ever found yourself going from task to task? Are you stuck in the same day to day routine and do not see an end in sight? Is your life centered around your husband and children and you feel lost?
I have termed this feeling “mom fog.” It’s the exhaustion that always seems to loom in the background. The lost sense of time that you experience because your day to day routine always seems the same. Your identity becomes being someone’s mom and nothing else matters.
Don’t get me wrong, the role of being a mother is one of the most important roles you will have in your lifetime. It can be difficult to balance your old self with your new role as mom. The key is learning to love the new you (including all the hats that you wear).
Utilize Self-Care to Get Rid of Mom Fog
Self-care is important to taking care of your mental health. Self-care is simply something you do to help you to relax. It helps to better prepare you to tackle your daily stressors and obstacles that you may come across.
Self-care can be as easy as sitting in quiet for five minutes with your thoughts or reading a book for fun. It can be as grand as going on a vacation or scheduling regular date nights (with no kids!) with your significant other.
The important thing is to do something that makes you happy. Add self-care to your list of priorities. Schedule time each week for you. As you start to incorporate regular self-care into your routine, you will start to notice positive benefits.
The mom fog starts to go away. You have something to look forward to doing just for you. You may even find that you are an overall nicer and more pleasant person to be around. You will start to discover new things about yourself.
And most important, you will start to fall in love with yourself again.
Take care of your body
Taking care of your body involves more than just exercise. Sure, exercise has many great benefits. It helps to improve both your physical and mental health. When you incorporate regular exercise, your body feels better, you sleep improves, and you reduce your risk of chronic illnesses.
Taking care of your body also includes clean eating. For some busy mommas, ordering takeout or throwing some chicken nuggets in the oven is the one sure way to make sure you kids eat. Lets not talk about the picky eater who only wants “chicken and french fries,” (true story).
Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and fresh foods has a positive impact on your mood, mental clarity, and helps you to function better. It can also help to prevent certain mental health conditions.
Clean eating definitely easier said than done. Start by making small changes. Replacing one bad habit a day can make a difference in how you feel. Reduce the amount of time you eat out per week. Buy healthier options for your home so that you have less temptations.
Loving yourself means loving what goes into your body. Being proud of how you look and how you feel helps you to start to form a deeper connection with yourself. This does not mean that you have to be runway ready at all times. It means that you wear what makes you happy. That you are confident with your presentation.
If that is jeans and sneakers or a full suit with 6 inch heels, be happy and proud with who you are. If you are struggling to be happy with your body, identify small, progressive changes you can make to your eating and activity level so that you can meet weight loss goals.
Don’t forget to drink your water! Replace the sugary drinks with water. There will be a period of adjustment, but it is worth it.
These changes will help you to be more confident about yourself, leading to a deeper and more loving relationship with yourself.
Don’t always put others first
You read that correctly. Sometimes us mommas have to put ourselves first. As a momma, your responsibility is your husband and children. They rely on you for everything and you can easily forget about yourself.
Don’t feel guilty about putting yourself first. It is possibly to be both a good wife and mother and still meet your own needs. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Putting yourself first can give you the recharge that is needed to continue to be a present and loving caretaker for your family.
So what does it mean to put yourself first? This means regularly incorporating self-care into your routine. Make a commitment to be happy and to get to know yourself. Set boundaries with people. Do not be afraid to say “no.”
If there are people in your life who are draining, triggering, or who cannot take a hint, advocate for yourself. If they are unable to respect your boundaries, restrict their access to your family.
Learning to love yourself means making a commitment to being happy. Not putting yourself first sometimes can lead to feeling lost, unfulfilled, and a low self-esteem.
Spend time with yourself
As we age our sense of who we are is constantly growing and changing. In high school your identity was probably based off being cool and fitting in with the cool kids. As a young adult, you are discovering what it means to be an adult and have a career. As a new mother, you have to adjust to creating and sustaining another life.
When you transition into your role as mom, you do not have to completely abandon your old self. It is totally normal to miss aspects of your pre motherhood days. Sometimes it is necessary to spend time with yourself to process through your changing roles and to form a deeper connection with yourself.
Sitting in silence and utilizing mindfulness techniques are two productive ways to learn to love yourself. Mindfulness is simply being conscious and aware. It helps us to get out of mom fog and form a deeper connection to our thoughts.
Try taking a walk and paying attention to the environment around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What are you thinking about? It is surprising how often we do not pay attention to what is going on around us.
Being mindful takes practice. As you become more mindful to your thoughts and your environment, you are better able to problem solve and your stressors do not seem as daunting.
When we add little people to our lives, silence is hard to come by. Some ways to sneak in silence can include: driving in the car; right after you wake up or before you go to sleep; or during naptime.
Doing these techniques for just five minutes a day, can be beneficial. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be.
Identify your qualities
We sometimes loose site of who we are and what makes us great. Our identities as moms is a privilege that not ever female is blessed to know. It is an honor to be called mom, but we are so much more than mothers.
After becoming mothers, it becomes second nature to identify who we are based on our role as a mother. If someone were to ask you what makes your great? Is the first thing that comes to your mind something about your performance as a mom?
Take a few minutes and write down qualities that make you great. Challenge yourself even more and list qualities that are not tied to your role as a caretaker. Are you intelligent, creative, a go getter?
Talk to your family and friends and ask them to identify qualities that make you great. Add these things to your list. Refer back to list this often. This is a great tool to use when you are having some quiet time.
Learning to love yourself means loving all of you. It is so easy to focus on what is not going right in our lives. We have to sometimes focus on the positive things around us. This helps us to be more optimistic and encourage us to continue to strive towards our goals.
Being a mother does not mean that we have to get comfortable with ourselves. Making a commitment to continuing to grow and work on ourselves improves both our mood and self-esteem.
As you work to form a deeper connection and love yourself, working towards your goals can make this a more rewarding experience. Your goals can be as simple or complicated as you like. The important thing is that you are doing something for you.
Set one or two long term goals and identify the short term goals you will have to complete to achieve your larger goals. Say, if one year from now you want to be a happier you. Short term goals can include: complete two self-care activities per week; have date night two times per month; and starting an exercise plan.
Not only does setting goals help you, but it is a great self-care skill to model for your family. Showing self-love by setting and achieving goals, can encourage others around you to do the same.
Follow your path
Social media can be the devil to mothers. We see the moms who have it all. Some are able to look great, have a beautiful life, and don’t seem too stressed by their children. This, of course, is nowhere near reality!
It is so easy to get caught up in what is going good in people lives around you. When you start comparing yourself to others, you will never be able to match what you think their potential is. Trust me, those mommas have plenty of issues.
Loving yourself means following your own path. The path that includes your crazy kids, sleepless nights, and barely making it days. Don’t compare yourself to others. Embrace your own journey.
Remember, set you goals. Make a commitment to continue to love yourself. Everyone encounters their own obstacles. Your obstacles build a stronger you.
Spend time with people who make you happy
Talking (about non child and work related topics), laughing, and breaking your routine are all great for your soul. Sometimes it is necessary to be around people who make you smile. Laughing releases endorphins, which improves your mood.
So how does being around people who make you happy help you to love yourself? When you are having happy experiences, you are forming new positive memories. You are also reminded of your interests and you are connecting to your non mom role.
Besides, you are doing something for you. You are practicing good self-care and showing yourself love. Learning to love yourself means knowing that you are worthy of being happy.
Enjoy something new
Take a few minutes and identify new things that you would like to try. Whether it’s a new restaurant in town, a new exercise class, or a Pinterest find, try something that you have never tried before.
As you discover new things around you, you will start to learn more about what makes you happy. You may also start to build a new support system or a regular self-care routine. It is ok to get out of your box and explore something new.
Loving yourself means being willing to break your routine and discover new loves around you.
Let go and forgive
Not everyone who comes into our lives are meant to stay there. People will let you down and betray you. Holding on to the feelings related to the betrayal can prevent you from moving forward with your life.
Forgiving those who have caused you pain is difficult, but necessary. The act of forgiveness is for you momma, and not the person who caused you pain. Just because you forgive someone, does not mean that they have to continue to be in your circle. Assess if that person deserves or needs to continue to be in your circle.
If you are holding on to negative feelings, spend some time in silence, reflecting on those feelings. Why are they causing you so much pain? How are these feelings preventing you from moving forward? What will forgiveness mean for your own mental health?
Forgiving allows you to release those feelings and move forward. Loving yourself means letting go of negativity and embracing the positive in your life.
Love someone else
Being brave enough to fully love someone else is an extension of your ability to love yourself.
Having a positive and healthy bond with your significant other can help you to have a deeper bond with yourself.
Take the time to have deep, meaningful conversations about your relationship, current goals, and common interests. This not only keeps the relationship fresh, but also helps you to continue to form a deeper bond with yourself.
Join our Love On Top challenge to receive 14 days of conversations starters, intimacy boosters, date night ideas, scavenger hunts, and other ways to stay connected in your relationship.
Fully committing to love someone else is not easy task. It takes work and commitment. Taking care of yourself, makes you better able to love someone else.
Embracing you path and learning to love yourself is a powerful thing to do for not only you, but your family. Loving yourself means a happier and healthier you. This improves your ability to be in meaningful and happy relationships with others. Happy mom = happy everyone!
Make the commitment to love yourself today. What are some things that you do to help improve your relationship with yourself? Let us know in the comments below.