Do you remember that commercial for the US Army (think back to the 80s or 90s) that said, “In the Army, we do more before 9 AM than most people do all day?”
Well, I’ve amended it for the modern mom.
“Moms do more by 9 AM than most people do all day.” True. Fact.
I sometimes think what the feminist movement afforded us was the opportunity to do it all, vs what we hoped for: the choice to do what we want. Spoiler alert: I don’t want to do it all! And I especially don’t want to do the dishes or the mopping.
Let’s do some more amending. New Year’s is right around the corner, and there will be tons of pressure to “be all you can be” in 2019 from best mom to best wife to best team player at the office to fittest gal in the yoga class. I call bullshit on this notion.
You are already an amazing mom and already go above and beyond for your spouse, your friends and your colleagues. And you look awesome, BTW. Your body is a miracle. Especially if you’ve birthed a baby. It’s a fucking miracle, that body of yours. And it’s lovely just as it is, right now, right this second.
The plain truth of the matter is: we women are doing too much for others already. Especially us moms. Whether it’s hard wired in there from generations of gender conditioning or societal expectations, women are set up to reach for unrealistic expectations - and because we’re so goddamned capable and resilient, we will ultimately flame out trying. I know I get burned out from the constant pressure to be perfect. While I’ve given up any hope of being a Pinterest mom, I still make vain attempts to clean my house when guests come over. All because of a made-up expectation of what a messy house might say about me as a mom and woman.
My new year’s recommendation is for all moms to do less for others, and more FOR THEMSELVES.
So to that end, I want to invite you to set a different kind of intention for 2019:
Do ONE THING everyday that feeds YOUR soul.
Yep, I’m talking about self-care. It’s a term that is getting thrown around a lot, about everything from binging Netflix shows to sitting down with a glass of wine. Those are nice, for sure. I’m into both. But I want to encourage more for you, because you deserve it. Self-care is about being clear on boundaries and prioritizing your self-worth - and your serenity.
Here are some examples to inspire you:
· Say no to invitations
· Allow yourself indulgences (hello, Netflix and a glass of wine!)
· Outsource tasks that drain you
· Forgive yourself / allow imperfection
· Communicate your needs (vs avoiding potential conflict or fear of disappointing others)
· Embrace vulnerability
· Nurture genuine connections, like old friends
· Make space for meditation/spirituality
· Feed yourself delicious, flavorful food
· Exercise for mental and physical health
· Get acupuncture/massage
· Go for a soak at Everett House or Common Grounds
· Ask for support to get the alone time you need
· Volunteer for causes you are passionate about
· Join a rec league soccer team which plays 1 night a week (while partner watches kids!)
· Advocate for fair & equal distribution of household details
· Advocate for fair & equal distribution of parenting details
It’s super easy to allow our wants and needs to go by the wayside, once kids come into the picture. And it’s complicated because as moms, we WANT to meet all of our kids’ needs. I think it’s a biological imperative, as old as the human species. But things have changed, and as women take on more and more in all realms of modern life, it’s time that we get real clear on our needs, responsibilities and expectations.
Since the resolution is to do one thing every day for yourself – only ONE THING – I believe we can all rise to the challenge.
Let’s do more of what we love and enjoy, to ensure that we thrive! Because when mom thrives, the whole family thrives.
Maggie Helm is a Portland mom, life coach and contributor to Bridgetown Baby’s newsletter. In addition to the gritty wisdom she offers here, Maggie is offering an amazing discount offer on a coaching package to get you started off strong in your new year.