Sometimes motherhood feels like juggling flaming torches while riding a unicycle on a tightrope. And that was before the pandemic began.
It is beautiful, magical, precious, and joyous to be a mom. It’s also hard, really hard. Since the dawn of time, it’s been really hard. And, in our crazy times, with a seemingly never-ending onslaught of crises – global, national, local, and personal – it’s been especially hard.
Often, while tending, as we must, to the many demands and crises in our lives, we neglect the gifts most readily available to us. Perhaps top of that list is the gift of acceptance.
We so often find it incredibly challenging to accept ourselves, imperfections and all. While showing kindness to others, we find it much harder to embrace ourselves as being enough. Similarly, in wanting so much for our children, we find it very difficult to accept them as enough, just as they are.
Yet, mamas, we are enough! Our kids are enough!
You may be struggling, frightened, or grieving. Your challenges may be managing remote and hybrid learning schedules of multiple children while holding down a career or running a business. Or your crises may be far more threatening – abuse, food insecurity, life-threatening illness. What you need not face is internalizing the judgment of others.
Here is the paradox. While you are, your kids are, we all are imperfect works in progress. We are also enough. We are precious, and we are enough, worthy of our own love and self-care.
In the words of one of my very favorite writers, Parker Palmer,
Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.
I began my focus on self-care with a morning routine. It is simple, and like me and all of us, it is enough. Dedicating time to myself each morning before doing anything else has shifted my mindset in so many ways. I’ve always loved long walks with my dog, in any weather, followed by a warm cup of coffee. This part of my morning remains, with a shift in thinking. Now I focus on recognizing that the time is about caring for myself, doing something that gives me both energy and peace. I’ve also added to the morning routine in a conscious, deliberate way.
Wanting to lose weight, I have included in my routine each morning gentle exercise, focused on health and slow, long-term weight loss. I’ve been loving month-long exercise and weight loss challenges. I have sought out online trainers with messages that inspire: moderation, consistency, a positive mindset, and self-love, whether or not we have met current goals. The messages are by no means only about weight loss and fitness. They are about acceptance and embracing being enough, even while striving to reach any number of goals we set for ourselves.
My routine works for me, for now. Yet, it is very likely not what will work for you. Nor will it likely always work for me. We are each unique and each ever-changing. We are each enough. We are each worthy of dedicating care to ourselves.
Our children are also enough. As the mother of two – both now in their 20’s – and as founder and owner of Discovery Village Childcare Center and Preschool, I have so often experienced the incredibly positive impact of acceptance in parenting.