When Luna was born, I was a pretty shitty mother.
Not in the sense that her wellbeing was ever an issue – she was always happy, healthy and incredibly loved.
The issue was within me. I spent so long questioning myself, stressing and focusing solely on her that my needs were put aside daily.
This meant that no matter how well cared for she was, I was never truly giving myself to her as the parent she deserved.
The mum guilt hit without any sign of slowing, and my world was getting harder and harder to bear.
Mum guilt is hard. It is almost a child in itself, you are constantly having to reign it in, teach it to be calm and survive it when it is throwing a tantrum that makes you feel like you will break.
When we suffer from mum guilt, we struggle with so many things.
- We feel like we are failing our families
- Our anxiety and stress kicks it up a notch (or 20)
- Days are spent over-planning and under-doing
But I am here to tell you that despite the mum guilt, you need to be putting yourself first hell of a lot more.
I know, because that is what I did.
I started to prioritise myself and as a result, our house and family are much happier as a whole, and as individuals.
Prioritising yourself is not a luxury, it is essential
I get it, it is really hard to put yourself first when you have children, a partner, or even a business that you run.
As women, we tend to set out to achieve the best – and boy, do we achieve the best!
The problem is, once we have achieved it we put a tonne of pressure on ourselves to maintain our achievements to the best of our abilities.
This is absolutely brilliant, and I commend you for everything you have done. But you need to slow down and prioritize yourself!
When we work as hard as we do, we start to suffer mentally, emotionally and even physically.
Our bodies slow down and our brains are screaming at us to take a break.
Unfortunately, we keep on keeping on.
We assume that this is just how life is and we put ourselves in this situation.
Just because you wanted something and you worked hard for it, does not mean it should break you.
You wanted kids, you had them and they are your world.
This doesn’t mean you are the only person who needs to care for them.
You wanted a business, and you worked your ass off to build one.
This doesn’t mean that you need to continue to do it alone.
What it means to prioritise yourself, and how do you do it?
Prioritising yourself does not mean neglecting your tasks or duties to take a solo vacation in Bali for a month. (as lovely as that would be!)
Prioritising yourself means:
- Taking your own needs into great consideration
- Knowing your limits and taking a step back when it all gets too much
- Asking for help – This is not weakness, in fact, it is a great strength!
(As you can read here in my post What a day! – where asking for help was my sanity-saving moment)
How do you prioritise yourself without upsetting the balance?
There are so many ways you can achieve an amazing balance of your own needs, the needs of your family and the needs of your work.
It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a struggle, but it may take some time to get into the new swing of things – and that’s okay!
Here are some ways I have prioritised myself and had some really good results.
- Set time aside for your own personal downtime
This is the best, and most common way to prioritise yourself.
Start small and work your way up. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether its read a chapter in a book or go for a quiet solo drive. As long as you set the time and follow through.
For a quick guide on how to practice self-care in short periods, check out this post for 20 ways to practice self-care in under 10 minutes.
- Set boundaries and learn how to say “no”
Don’t let others walk over you, teach them how you deserve to be treated, and they will very quickly learn your self-worth – because you are showing them!
“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.”Tony Gaskins
- Learn the importance of self-reflection
Start to reflect on what your priorities, needs and goals are.
From here it becomes much easier to prioritise yourself to suit your overall lifestyle
- Choose your friends wisely
Have you ever had that one friend who does nothing but makes you feel crappy and stressed? I have!
Eliminate the toxic people from your life, and surround yourself with loving, supportive individuals who celebrate your amazing qualities.
- Align your life with your values
Start living your life as your values would. For example, if you value honesty then be more honest with yourself and others.
The benefits of prioritising yourself
Once you start to put yourself first, you may feel the guilt sneak in. I did and I won’t lie to you, it sucked!
The mum guilt can hit hard, and fast. It is relentless. Try to ignore it and stick with your newfound personal freedom.
The benefits start to show, and once they do, your whole world starts to feel lighter and much more manageable.
- You get happier
- You live an overall healthier and more balanced lifestyle
- Your focus shifts from the “what if’s” to the things that matter
- Anxiety and mum guilt decreases
This happens because you know that the time with your kids is much more valuable and full. You worry less about how often they eat their vegetables and focus more on how healthy they are and how your self-improvement is improving their little lives.
Plus, because you aren’t busy worrying about everything, you know that your children are getting the best of you.
- You are teaching your children that their lives matter
Leading by example is so important for impressionable little humans.
When you prioritise yourself, you are teaching them that it is okay and important for them to also care for their own needs.
Think about how much stress you’ve put yourself under by never putting your needs first – would you want your kids to feel that way?
Nope! So show them they are important and that their needs matter, by treating yourself the same way!
One more time, for the people in the back.
This is such an important message, so I am saying it again.
Just because you wanted it, doesn’t mean it should break you!
It’s time to put yourself first. Prioritise yourself every day, and your world will start to make a lot more sense.
You will no longer be going through the motions, and your life will become significantly more fulfilling.
I did it, and so can you!