If you’ve been keeping up with me and my articles, you may have come to understand that I struggle with being a type-A, over-analyzing, extreme worrier, helicopter type parent. Typically, this makes me not too much fun to be around and seemingly ungrateful, especially during holiday time. I am consistently running around literally and in my mind, every moment of the day. With a husband, 3 young children, two dogs, a house, and a business to nurture, I find very little time for myself and for self-care.
Although most of the time I do feel as though I am pretty productive, the truth is that the quantity of what I get done doesn’t matter as much as the quality of what is getting done — and the quality, well, it has been under par for the past six years.
Thankfully, Yvonne Marcus of Modern Mom Collective, is guest posting for me today and her advice to make sure that my cup is full — as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, and simply as a person — is a welcomed breath of fresh air, and quite frankly the smack in the face I needed. Yvonne contends that when my cup is full, I will be so much better enabled to fill the cups of those around me and succeed in motherhood, marriage, work-life balance, business, etc. Yet, not only does she point this out for me super vividly, she also shares actionable steps and resources for making it happen. I hope you enjoy today’s useful post from the Modern Mom Collective.
The #1 question moms ask me is: How do you fill your cup so that it’s never empty? The truth is that there is no one magic answer. How we fill our cups is literally different for EVERYONE. We don’t like or need the same things to feel full. That doesn’t mean we can’t use the same method for storing the materials that help with our cup.
The truth is that it’s super important to me that none of you end up with an empty cup. I don’t want you to be on the struggle bus for finding time for yourself, but I know realistically we all end up there from time to time. I was there for the first 6 months of my child’s life. I was constantly struggling to find me time without feeling like a complete failure. Our moms did it all, right? We never saw them struggle, right? Then why was it so hard for me? The truth is that we were lied to a little bit about how our parents coped. They weren’t perfect, and we don’t have to be either.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that I will get a small fee for any links you click and purchase. I hope to someday use them to buy a book I really want to read for my own self-care.
How can I take care of myself and get off the struggle bus?
Is that the question you’ve been asking yourself? I’m going to share a little secret with you and that is that I put everything I need for self-care in one place. I mean we’re all very organized with our lives, right? We know where our children’s clothes are and our husband’s car keys. Why don’t we know where all the materials we need for our own self-care are located? My guess is that most of us haven’t really thought about what we’d put in a self-care basket. It took a while for it to occur to me after all.
First, I want you to grab an empty basket, and I want you to think about its emptiness. Are you as empty as the basket? I sure hope not, but if you are I hope that we’ll get you filled up quickly. Now, I want you to think about the kinds of things that make you happy and help you to feel loved. Is it a bubble bath? An adult coloring book? A good book? A ball of yarn? Only you can truly know what makes you happiest, but I want you to consider it before we start to fill the basket.
Second, I want you to think of this as nurturing yourself. As moms, we are constantly taking care of others so nurturing is in our blood so just think of this as an extension. Plus, we can’t take care of others without first taking care of ourselves. I mean sure you’ll have to work through some sickness occasionally, but if you fill your basket hopefully you’ll get to refill your cup when it’s done.
Third, I want you to fill your basket. I want you to fill it with love and knowledge that you’re going to feel the love in return. Your basket is your lifeboat, and I want it to be there to support you even as you fill it.
One of the things I highly recommend you put into your self-care basket is a gratitude journal.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my son’s room listening to hours upon hours of Little Baby Bum videos as he fought his nap. He had spent the prior hour begging to be picked up. Squirming to get down. Screaming when you let him down because he wanted to be up. Do you recognize this struggle? There was a moment or two when I literally thought I might lose my mind. I didn’t. I practice patience and gratitude. You see I have a child that isn’t a spontaneous cuddler. He usually prefers to be on the go the entire day. The fact that he now wants to be picked up all the time and held is a blessing even during the times it drives me crazy. I’ve learned this through practicing gratitude every single night. I do it in the 10 minutes before bed, and I’m blessed with a different feeling about my day.
HOW DO I DO IT?
I’m so glad you asked. I created this gratitude journal. During my struggle, it hit me that I could write down the happy things that happened in my day, and I knew I had to share that lightbulb moment with the world. At first, it wasn’t easy especially on the hard days. The days when my son was screaming at full tilt for what felt like hours meant that I had to really focus on those good moments. The great moments really. The ones that make being a parent really and truly worth it. It also helps me go to bed feeling good about my day and not holding around all the struggle because we know #thestruggleisreal. It also allowed me to let go of the stress of having to do #allthethings. I was able to let go of those expectations of myself. I was able to lessen my mental load.
Each night, I get ready for bed. This means I’ve brushed my teeth and changed into my pajamas before I even get started. I crawl into the bed and pull the covers up close. I pull my journal out of my self-care basket. I write today’s date and then I list 3 things that I’m really and truly grateful for today. It can be something as simple as spending 20 minutes wading around the creek, or it could be as big as he went to potty in the big boy potty! The possibilities are endless, because it is truly whatever lights you up. It should be beyond the superficial.
It is so simple. It’s a way to intentionally think about your day. It expresses your gratitude for the day that happened and helps you anticipate the day to come. I have yet to go to bed without a smile on my face. I feel the success of the day and nothing makes you feel more like you’ve got it together than success.
Yvonne Marcus is passionate about helping moms to mom their way. She is an expert in helping moms to lessen their mental load. Her major passion is helping you to go from hot mess to got it together by creating a #momlife that can run on autopilot with help from your entire family! Yvonne lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, and long hikes through the mountains with her 2-year-old and her 8 month old. Okay so maybe not long hikes unless daddy is with them, but they’re definitely enjoying all that Asheville has to offer. You can read more about how Yvonne practices gratitude and lives the life of her dreams at http://www.