“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel” – Eleanor Brownn.
I am a mother and likewise a wife. But that’s definitely not all I am.
Recently, I found that I had to remind myself who I was as a person before I became a wife and a mother. Motherhood and ‘wife duties’ started to define the person that I was. Since becoming a mother, I spend my days taking care of my daughter and husband. My husband leaves for work in the morning and would get back in the evening. Of course, as his partner, it meant that I had to do everything that he couldn’t do while he was at work e.g cleaning, cooking e.t.c Aswell as this, I was trying to get a grasp on my new role as a mother.
For the first couple of weeks after my baby was born, as you’d expect, life was busy and it still is. I was trying to figure out this thing called ‘motherhood’. I was constantly tired due to sleepless nights and loooong days. My baby kept me busy 24/7. Regular ‘simple’ tasks took much longer due to baby interruptions. I looked forward to her daytime naps so I could get a little snooze myself or get another house chore ticked off my list. She was the most important thing in my life. My days revolved around her.
These two new major roles kept me busy. I was waking up tired and going to bed wrecked. I was putting everything into taking care of my home and my baby. I even started to challenge myself. For example, yesterday I had my baby showered, dressed and fed by 11 a.m, today I am going to try to get her ready by 10 a.m. I was starting to feel proud of my little achievements. Things were going great, I was starting to get a hang of things. But, it all came at a cost, at least that’s what it seemed like.
My health was deteriorating. I still hadn’t healed properly from labour. I was barely eating because I just didn’t have the time. But yet I was breastfeeding exclusively. I was dehydrated and constipated, I didn’t seem to have time to drink water either (my lips had never been so dry). Each day was the same; take care of the home and look forward to my husband’s arrival from work. My goals were limited, my conversations were limited; I was a wife, I was a mother… That was it. I was taking care of everybody else but myself. And so I had to think “WHO AM I?” “WHAT EXCITES ME?”, “WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY?”, “WHAT DO I WANT FOR MYSELF?”
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a wife to my husband and a mother to my daughter. It is a major part of the person that I am but it is not all that I am and it is not all that I have to be. I love taking care of my family, it brings me great joy and a sense of fulfilment… but I also love to write, exercising, helping out in the community, teaching. All these things make me who I am, all these things take care of me.
So, if you’re like me and you find yourself losing focus on the person that you are or the person that you want to be, then try these 3 tips. They worked great for me.
- Prioritise – I used time as an excuse, “I can’t take care of myself because I don’t have time to”. Make time! There is never enough time but you have to prioritise; your baby won’t remember that you gave her a late shower because you needed to eat.
- Talk to your partner or loved ones (someone who was always aware of your goals) – My husband was always aware of my goals. So, when he noticed my lack of self-focus, he called me up on it.
- Pick one thing- No matter how busy you get, try to do one thing for yourself each day that brings you closer to your goal. For me, it can be as little as a 30min workout (gotta get my body back). Remember, you should never be too tired to work on yourself. You’ll thank yourself for it.
- Ask for help- I am still working on this one myself. If you’re anything like me, you might find this difficult. I have this mentality of “she’s my responsibility and I want to be the perfect parent”. You don’t have to be superwoman, don’t try to do it all by yourself especially if you don’t have to. Let grandma help. Let her spend time with daddy while you take care of yourself. Your health will thank you for it and so will your baby.
You can’t pour from an empty jug. Take care of yourself. It takes a little more work, but you’ll thank yourself for it. I’m still tired most days, but I am happy.
Till next time