As mothers, we have a tendency to put ourselves after our children. Need new clothes? No, we must spend the money on the children. Desperate for a workout? The baby needs a cuddle; we’ll do it later. Hungry? The children get the first pick of the food at the dinner table. It’s a natural instinct that’s ingrained into us, but it’s one that can be extremely detrimental to our health and wellbeing. With the selflessness that comes with motherhood, we often forget ourselves medically, and it’s at this point that there is a problem.
How often have you rescheduled a doctor’s appointment or a well-woman check-up because of a commitment the kids have instead? If you are finding yourself nodding along, it’s time to learn how to put your health first. The rigors and routines of raising children often mean that those overdue dentists appointments and that doctor visit for treatment for IBS that you’ve meant to schedule put off. It’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re trying to organize the school runs, lunch boxes and social lives of smaller people that you create yourself.
The thing is, without a healthy mother, your children aren’t going to manage. They need you to be energized, healthy and awake enough to pay attention to their needs and if you are too busy running yourself into the ground on behalf of everyone else, this isn’t going to work. Mothers often forget that they are still people, too. You were a person before you had children and you still are that person now. Putting your kids first makes you a great mother, but only if you are taking care of what you need, too. Get some help with the kids if you need to, speak to your husband or partner and hand the children over for at least an afternoon so that you can get the necessary medical checks done that you have put off. If you are feeling rubbish, either physically or mentally, then you need help!
Putting yourself on the back burner doesn’t do anyone any favors. You can’t go through life living on fumes; you need to fuel your body and your spirit with happiness. We don’t mean that your five minutes to yourself should be when you do the grocery shopping – it doesn’t count if you’re doing chores. But twice a week, take the time to leave the kids and restore your mind with some yoga or Pilates or even boxing, if that’s what you enjoy. Take the time to book that well-woman check and get a clean bill of health. Enjoy a long, luxurious soak in the tub by yourself. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t come with a side of guilt. Motherhood is laced with enough uncertainty as it is without forgetting who you are along the way. You’re more than just a mother, and you need to remember that when you take an hour to put yourself and your health first for a change.