Nourish | Nourish to Flourish
I sometimes wish motherhood just involved time with my little one and none of the work; cooking, cleaning, naps, meal planning, development tracking, and the list goes on. Gone are those tranquil days of sitting on the couch with nothing to do except a Netflix binge. Being a new mom is overwhelming and I wouldn’t trade a minute of my new life with my little missie, but I have grieved the end of my old life of wanton freedom.
But… you’re probably asking, “how can anyone be grieving during the most joyful and happiest times of their life?”. Well, for many moms, it’s a reality shrouded from society in fear of being called out as ungrateful. The first few months of motherhood are exhausting, up every few hours feeding or trying to feed or stressing about not being able to breastfeed. The demands on us mothers increase all while our resources decrease. We have less time and no sleep, all while not earning an income; which, by the way has thus far given us validation. It’s no surprise new moms get frazzled, worn out and become emotionally hypersensitive.
Arguably, being a new parent is tough on both parents, it is often a lot tougher on the mother. When we consistently care for others without caring for ourselves we risk losing ourselves, becoming sick, stressed, depressed and as a result lose sight of the joy we once had. When we first brought my daughter home, I put everything that was important to me on the back burner (that is what I was supposed to do right?) dedicating myself completely and anxiously focused on her.
The longer I allowed this to occur without refuelling my tank, the more I felt I was taken for granted. Don’t get me wrong, my husband showed gratitude as much as he could, but being a mother is a thankless and endless job. No one gives you a raise, recognition or promotion - it’s just something you do.
Becoming a mom later in life, just shy of 35, and having experienced other trials, I knew I had to stay committed to keeping myself sane and fulfilled. Although I refused to leave my child for an entire month (my friends had to drag me out for a girls’ night), I recognized that I was in control of my experience as a mother. I did not want to be in a state of constant anxiety and was not going to succumb to the much dreaded #momguilt I had heard so much about, define my decisions and lifestyle.
I started to imagine another way of living. One where I transformed the way I cared for others by first deeply caring for myself. Self care is not selfish or inconsiderate, in fact it’s just the opposite. Taking care of my mind and body by practicing yoga, taking time for self indulgence (spa… and maybe chocolates) and a host of other activities, I am a happy and present mother to Milan. The guilt I once had for missing waking moments with Milan while at the gym have now transformed to energy I give her when we are together. On the other hand, its much needed quality time she gets with her dad or grandpa building bonds and learning to be independent as she continues to venture into the world. My hope is for Milan to see self care as a necessary element to her well being, especially being the inevitable role model bestowed to me as her mom.
Getting to what self care meant for me required me to flex my recruiter muscles on engaging on my personal purpose and what I envisioned as I continued on this new journey. The questions below helped me to get clear on how to nourish in order to flourish.
There isn’t a universal recipe or list I can provide on how to practice self care as its individual.
Get a notepad, coffee (or matcha) and explore what self care means for you as you continue on your journey. It’s going to be fun, as long as you invest time in exploring what fun means to you.
What gets you out of your head and into your body?
What do you need right now to recharge your mind and body?
Who are you collecting in your community?
What is the status of the connections of those around you? What and who do you need to reach out to and cultivate with?
What does ME Time look and feel like for you? Have you scheduled enough?
What are you grateful for? Bring to mind ten things for which you’re grateful in that moment before your feet touch the floor in the morning.
-Tas Goel, Mindful Mom YVR + Real Talk Expert