Being a parent is one of the most important tasks that we have in life. It is the time when you stop living for yourself and start giving all your energy to the most wonderful precious sweet adorable smart beautiful and the most loved person in this world – your child. It is especially true for mothers because we tend to give everything we’ve got to our babies. It does not matter if this baby is 2 months old or 22 years old. It is still the baby that we love more than anything else in this world.
When you start giving all you’ve got to your child you drain the well inside of you. If you do not take care of the creek that supplies water for this well then very soon you will realize that your well is dry and there is nothing you can give.
This is a mother’s burnout. The time when we feel that the whole world has stopped and there is nothing we can accomplish in it. It is the time when we realize that somebody has disappeared. That somebody is the true you, the person you’ve been before you started giving everything to your kids and before you gave up your life.
I do not want my girls to remember me as a stressed out always busy mom. I want them to remember me as a person, an example that they want to follow in life. (My mom is always the best example for me. I appreciate very much the fact that she is my best girlfriend and that I can share everything with her.)
How do you avoid mother’s burnout? How do you balance mommy duties and the time that you can devote to yourself?
Recently I came across a very interesting book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal by Renee Trudeau. This book is one of the best that I have read in the past few months. At first I thought that it will be one of these books that talk a lot about theory but never give you any practical advice. It is definitely quite the opposite. The book is filled with stories of moms of different ages and you feel that you are actually talking to them. You hear about their experiences and how they find balance in their lives.
Here are a few strategies from the book that I found most helpful in avoiding mother’s burnout:
Go on a date with YOU. You need YOUR time as much as your children or your partner do. Take this time and try to connect with the person inside of you. Do not think about shopping, cooking, work or any other routines. Do something amazing and unexpected. Try a new workout, go to the park and just sit under the tree, have a glass of wine at a wine bar or do anything else that your soul is craving. Deep down each of us knows what we really want. Use this knowledge to explore that part of you that you’ve been hiding from the entire world.
Use the “Good is Good Enough” Principle. There is no point to be general managers of the universe. You do not have to be the best in everything and you do not need everybody around you to be the best. Just enjoy who you are and who your children are. Every time that you are trying too hard to be the best mama just stop and repeat this mantra “Good Is Good Enough.”
Take time for your self-care. Self care on all levels (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is not just pampering, it is a vital necessity that will keep your inner well full at all times. Do not think that you are not worth it, because YOU ARE. You are a person with needs and desires as well as your children and your partner are. Even though you want to give more to your family you are still an equal part of this family. You need to care about yourself as much as you do about your children and your partner.
Let yourself be creative. Creativity expresses our inner world. Through creativity we can solve the problems that are boiling inside of us, we can accomplish something in this world and we can show our close ones how much we love them. Some of us find writing or painting creative while others can express themselves by solving difficult puzzles or writing computer programs. What are your creative ways?
Do not be afraid to use support. Do not try to be self-reliant and independent at all times. If your family members offer to babysit for you or to bring a supper then go for it. If you need emotional support then call your best friends and talk to them. You do not have to look strong at all times; moms are just humans after all.
Be adventurous and try something new as often as possible. New experiences open your mind and help you see ordinary thing in a new light. You can go sky-diving or try a Thai restaurant and you will notice the difference in you.
Set your priorities. There is only so much we can do and there is only so much we can accomplish no matter how hard we try. If you want to be a good mom, have a great career and still experience deep life balance then it is probably not possible. You always have to choose one over another. If you set your life priorities then you will be able to make the right choices without the feeling of guilt.
Nurture your relationship. You and your husband are partners in this world and in the difficult process of raising kids. If you want to feel balanced and happy then you have to take care of your relationship. Your marriage is a living organism that needs time, space, love and attention. Just because you have kids you do not have to forget about your marriage.
Breathe. Sometimes we can feel that we do everything right but sometimes we feel like we are flying by the seat of our pants. This is just part of the journey of motherhood. Accept it and breathe.
There is much more than these 9 strategies in the The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. My book has bookmarks and post-its on every other page because I found so many inspiring quotes, stories and pieces of advice there.
I also believe that this is not just a book for Moms. It is a book for Dads and for people who want to bring more balance into their lives. It is an inspiring book that can change the way you look at the world and the way you see yourself in this world. You can read this book and start sharing your knowledge with the people around you, people who you care about and who also want to live a balanced life.
You can read more about the book and about Renee Trudeau on her website ReneeTrudeau.com If you want to dig deeper into the book then you can buy it here. I hope that this book will help you get closer to your personal inner balance.