Self-Care Is Like Chocolate

Last week we switched to our new schedule where we’ll be blogging on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays,  However, for those of you who need some transition time, here’s another thought to help you through the week.  Keeping with our chocolate/mindfulness theme from Monday, we’d like to suggest that   “Self-care is like chocolate, only fewer calories and less guilt later.”

Like mindfulness which we posted about on Monday, self-care helps us savor life and enjoy ourselves and our loved ones.  As we’ve said many times, self-care is self-preserving not selfish.  It is a necessity for us to put our oxygen masks on first for if we perish, who remains to fill the many roles we occupy?  No one.

Each day do something good for yourself and all will benefit.  Eat chocolate, practice mindfulness, have fun, or find an activity which makes your heart sing.  Remember, there is no such thing as too much self-care and it won’t add pounds to your waistline.  Happy Wednesday!

New and Improved: “Words of Wisdom”

Just a quick reminder that we’re moving Wednesday Wisdom to Words of Wisdom on Thursday.  Thursday’s post will be about spirituality and self-care by a woman we admire who at 60 went back to get her Masters in Divinity.  Her story and life are an inspiration and we know you’ll enjoy what she has to say.

In the meantime, we couldn’t let you leave empty-handed.  Here are some thoughts about self-care from Vimala McClure’s The Tao of Motherhood.

“Taking care of yourself is your right and your responsibility.  If a mother values herself, her children value her.  She teaches self-esteem by her example.  Her peaceful demeanor communicates love to all who come in contact with her.

 Knowing when to sacrifice the self and when to nurture the self comes with daily mindfulness.  Pay attention to your body’s signals.  Observing your feelings each day, eventually you will be able to take time for yourself before it before it becomes an angry demand.  This enables you to give of yourself appropriately, without resentment.”

Wise words to live by.  Join us Thursday for our new and improved “Words of Wisdom.”  We welcome your contributions so send them along.

Follow Your Bliss

Here’s another comment we wanted to share from the Self-Care Contest/Challenge. 

“Sometimes moms prioritize their kids’ needs too much and don’t focus enough on self-care. I’ve been guilty of doing that, but I’ve also learned that taking time for my kids, and the little things each day that are important enough to them that they want me to pay attention, also equals self-care. *I* get so much out of the bursts of undivided attention I give them…they teach me, they make me laugh, I just enjoy them so much that it lifts me up to lift them up and see how that little bit of attention fans the flames of their own self-love and self-confidence. I think too often we moms get caught up in all the “musts” of parenting and forget to really, truly enjoy our kids. That’s been such an important lesson for me. They feed on my love for them, I feed on their love for me, and we’re all so much happier and healthier as a result.

My 9-year-old daughter wrote a very sweet poem for me for Mother’s Day. My favorite line is this one: “The way you look at me, it’s so special…it makes me feel so loved.” WOW! If I’m succeeding at that, and nothing else in life, I’m going to consider mine a life well-lived. So for me, for now, in this moment, my kids are definitely my bliss.” :-D

Today’s author is Angela.

Contest winners will be announced Friday.  Thanks for your patience.

Loosening the Bonds of Self-Criticism

So, I thought I’d “mastered” blogging (lol) when I discovered Monday night I’d erased Monday’s post and on Tuesday am, didn’t schedule it right.  After chastising myself for “ruining” Monday and Tuesday, I thought I can either keep feeling bad or let it go.   Yes, it was a mistake but not fatal or harmful, except for my beating myself up.

And isn’t this how life goes?  Whether it’s being a “good enough” mom, wife, daughter, worker, blogger, we as women focus tirelessly on where we’ve fallen short, feeling worthless and unhappy.  We are our own worst critic.  We would rarely be as unforgiving of someone else.  But we’re convinced, we deserve it!

How do we get out of this rut?  First, by practicing self-care and making our health and well-being a priority.  My “mistakes” followed two crazy weeks of non-stop activity but I was so energized by what I was doing, I told myself that would carry me through.  It didn’t.  The more depleted we become, the more likely we are to make mistakes, and vulnerable to self-criticism because negative thinking comes easier and seems truer.

Next, we need to “befriend” ourselves and extend the same kindness and generosity we would to a good friend who was feeling badly about herself.  Yes, it’s okay to treat ourselves as well as others.  It is the key to releasing self-criticism, knowing we are deserving of love although we are imperfect and make mistakes.  Unconditional love towards ourselves. 

A most important self-care skill to practice.

PPD Recovery and Renewal

I was listening to a mother in our postpartum support group as she described small victories; she was recovering from postpartum depression (PPD) and was feeling good about herself and how far she had come. I wondered why more women don’t celebrate recovery and victory over depression, anxiety, grief, and other emotional challenges.

A few years ago while offering phone support, one mom mentioned that after recovering from PPD, her Mother-in-law said she didn’t like who she’d become. Why was that?  What was different about her? She’d emerged a stronger, more confident woman, able to voice her needs and take care of herself.  A well-fought victory!  We laughed about her mother-in-law’s reaction and celebrated the woman she is now who is so different than when I first spoke to her.

After two personal experiences with PPD, I like the woman and mother I have become. I feel strong for fighting and winning against PPD, to date it is the most difficult thing I have experienced in my life. Now I ask for what I want and take care of my needs. I have self confidence in who I am and my abilities as a mother. That terrible experience molded me into the person I am today. Today, celebrate the woman you are becoming and have become!

Real Moms Geralyn and Linda

Linda Meyer is the Executive Director of Mother to Mother in St. Louis, MO. Mother to Mother offers telephone and group support to women experiencing emotional difficulties during pregnancy and postpartum.

Hello, Me. Long Time No See.

Something happened when I became a mother.

I became disconnected from my thoughts, feelings and desires. With two little people depending on me, I spent my time on their needs and wants. When I wasn’t taking care of them, I shifted my attention to my work, husband and home life. Then, back to the kids.

Gone were the childfree days of college and young professional life, when I would spend hours alone, contemplating my place in the world, journaling (oh, the journals I have filled!), taking long walks in the woods, imagining life’s possibilities and going after them one by one.

As a mom, my only times alone with my thoughts have been 10 minutes in the shower or commuting to work. And guess what I was thinking? “Man, this shower feels good” or “I really hate this $#&@ing traffic.” Deep stuff.

Perhaps because my almost-5-year-old is more independent and my 19-month-old is no longer a baby, I’m now emerging from the mom-cocoon. It also helps that I work for myself, from home, with child care. As I poke my head (antennae?) out, I’m looking around saying, “What about me? What do I want?”

I’m allowing myself to move up my priority list. How do I want to spend my time? What do I want to experience or accomplish? It’s exciting to ponder these questions. I’m still a mom, with all the responsibilities and joys that come with it. But I’m also a person — who’s enjoying getting reacquainted with herself again.

Today’s author Susan is co-founder of Working Moms Against Guilt.

Beyond Self-Care: Hope for Postpartum Depression

Sometimes all a mom needs is hope. When buried under the despair of postpartum depression (PPD) or anxiety, it’s hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel. The doctor might tell you it’s there, but you don’t see it.

You need proof.

Since there’s no crystal ball to show you the happiness you’ll regain, you have
to get the proof another way. You have to talk to moms who have been there,
living examples of a full recovery from PPD. They exist. In fact, they are
everywhere.

I love connecting moms to others who have been down the same road.  Nearly one million women suffer from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like PPD, and I want them to know they are not alone and that they will get better.   I’ve seen many times that all it takes is a few words from a mom who has been there to a mom with PPD, who’s feeling isolated and lost, to realize help is available and that she is worth it.

 To offer women with postpartum depression and anxiety  hope and support, I founded Postpartum Progress and Daily Hope, the nation’s first daily support service featuring emails to moms with postpartum depression and anxiety.  Both provide encouragement from survivors, the country’s top perinatal mental health specialists and others who care.  If you or someone you love has PPD, help is only a click away.

Today’s author is Katherine Stone, PPD survivor and spokesperson.