“Mums… you matter. You are valued. You are loved.”
Congratulations! Your decision to read this, in itself, is an act of self-care. Now, breathe in 2,3… out 2,3… It is time to draw your attention inward, to you, because you matter.
Having worked with thousands of mums before becoming a mother myself; I had noticed a common thread. There was such an intense outward focus on their child or children that often they themselves did not even make it onto the list of people within their own circle of nurture.
I then began my motherhood journey; and was more able to deeply connect with and understand that outward focus I had so often observed. I had three children in two and a half years; all whilst leading a Speech Pathology company, I had founded years earlier. Those early years of motherhood were a whirlwind of emotions. I too tried to get the mothering gig ‘right’, absorbing the immense noise of societal and cultural expectations. I soon realised that those expectations were often unattainable, unrealistic and let’s face it … unnecessary.
Being a new mum with three kids joining my world so quickly, was amazing, challenging, joyful, overwhelming. It was my new normal, that forced a journey of personal discovery and growth, as I learnt how to practise letting go of ‘perfection’ and what others felt was ‘right’. Only then could I embrace my unique motherhood experience and allow me to honour myself as an individual, whilst celebrating the children in my life.
The idea of self-care as a new mum seems like another task on the ‘to-do’ list. It gets put off as something to attend to one day. Well today is that one day – and that ‘to-do’ list can be considered your ‘to-be’ list.
Below, I share 3 self-care superpowers to include you within your circle of nurture, and gift you back to yourself; so you can gift the best of you to others …
Sonia Bestulic is a Multi-Award nominated Author, Founding Director of Talking Heads Speech Pathology, Podcaster of Chatabout Children with Sonia Bestulic, and highly regarded Speaker.
1. Tune in to your quiet expectations.
Having expectations of yourself and of others, at times is not so obvious until those expectations are not met. Tuning in to your expectations, especially those quiet ones are important. What is it that you are expecting of yourself? Of others? Are these expectations realistic? Honest reflection will allow you to evaluate and choose what you want to hold onto or let go of. This process is not only necessary – it is hugely liberating.
2. Get to know you in this new context.
Your new context of life is a first-time experience for you, so be patient with yourself, and open to learning, not self-judging.
One of the most powerful ways to do this is to familiarise yourself with your brain’s ‘compare and contrast button’. It gets pushed, every time we think or feel that someone; looks better than us, is happier than us, more confident than us, more well off than us…etc. The button has been pushed once any of those thoughts occur.
To break that circuit, you need to:
- Identify the thought – for example; she seems happier than me
- Intercept the thought – for example I’ve pressed my compare and contrast button
- Decide on the validity of the thought and self-inquire – What has made me decide I am less happy?
- Understand whether there is any action you want to take for yourself
- Send positive thoughts to the other person
You are in charge of your brain’s compare and contrast button. Practise letting it build you up – not tear you down.
Sonia Bestulic is the author of the gift book; Flourish for Mums 21 ways to thrive with self-care and acceptance.
3. Do something for you.
Every day is different, so remember to check in with yourself, by simply asking; what do I need today?
Commit to doing something, no matter how small, that gifts you moments of reconnecting with yourself. This could simply be closing your eyes for one minute with your favourite music; or sitting in the sunshine and enjoying its warmth.
What you choose to do is up to you; the important step is making the decision to choose you each day and honouring this.
Directing loving attention to yourself, does not take it away from anyone else; it adds a deeper quality of connection to yourself and those with who you share your world.
Love is plentiful and abundant.