The theme for today is to take time for yourself to become the mother and wife you deserve to be! I see so many mothers who are feeling burned out at best and miserable at worst. They are wearing so many hats (see this post here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/08/22/how-do-i-take-off-one-of-these-hats/ ) and feel isolated, alone, and many times unsupported by their spouse or significant other. I wrote a post with some suggestions about this some time ago: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/06/making-yourself-a-priority-in-the-parenting-equation/. It has many suggestions for overcoming burnout and dealing with depression. Please do read it if you have not read it before.
I think the one valuable thing to consider in taking time for yourself is your physical health. If you are constantly feeling anxious, irritable and on edge, it may be worth it to see a healthcare practitioner regarding the evaluation of your endocrine system. In the book “Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships”, authors Rick Hanson, Jan Hanson and Ricki Pollycove write about testing the adrenals through saliva samples of DHEA and cortisol done over a 24 hour period. They recommend as general measures for the health of the adrenal gland to reduce stress as much as possible (in Carrie’s words: stop wearing so many hats!), eliminate sugar and caffeine, try acupuncture and yoga, and look at supplements. There are also certain herbs and homeopathic remedies recommended in this book for adrenal imbalance and adrenal exhaustion.
There are also psychological components that go into how we feel as mothers as well. Please pat yourselves on the back for being a mindful mother. Some mothers have a hard time hearing they are “good” mothers; but please be open to hearing it! If you are not open to hearing this, what are you feeling so badly about? What has shaken your confidence so? Could anyone else be more possibly invested in your children than you and your spouse or partner? If you are reading this blog, I feel you are at least open to fostering or investigating possible positive changes in your mothering. Congratulate yourself for that! Congratulate yourself for searching for ways that may suit your family better for the long run from all the places you are seeking. Congratulate yourself for being mindful! Perfection is not a realistic goal, but being more mindful is.
I think a large part of taking time for ourselves in order to improve our mothering involves community. The one thing I can suggest in addition to the suggestions made in the above posts is to find a mother who can mentor you.It doesn’t have to be an in-person relationship, although that can be wonderful. Maybe there is a mother from a Yahoo!Group or a forum you could contact off -list and see if she would be willing to provide her perspective on the things you are struggling with. Perhaps there is someone in your local La Leche League group, your local Attachment Parenting Group or in your place of worship or other community place whose parenting you admire. Maybe you could ask them to meet with you, email with you or talk with you by phone. Some mothers use their mentoring relationship on a weekly or monthly basis.
And most of all, when your children are older and you are the wiser for the challenges you have faced and conquered, pass this wisdom on by becoming a mentor to a new mother. You have the ability to impact lives in ways you may never have dreamed possible!
I have several mothers who mentor me, and I am so very grateful for them. I wrote about a group of them here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/02/the-brain-trust/and urge you to find and connect with mothers who can also help you. All of the ladies in my “brain trust” have different and wonderful personalities and I enjoy hearing their perspectives on things. They always make me think! I urge you to form these kinds of relationships that will carry you through the challenging times of parenting, and help you steer your parenting compass toward compassion and mindfulness.
Much love and many blessings,