On Saturday, I got a call from a panicked Mothers of Preschoolers president, who had a speaker cancel and was looking for a quick replacement. I said yes of course and got to present to the women on “Your body is a temple” I love any opportunity to speak to women about self care. Although this particular talk was focused around nutrition, I still talked about being present to oneself, and recognizing one’s self worth. When we don’t appreciate our bodies for what they do, and appreciate ourselves for who we are, we can eat without thinking about the cost of what we are eating.
One of the activities I had the women do was identify with their senses their favorite sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and touches in the kitchen. I wasn’t surprised when so many women identified a clean kitchen sink as one of their favorite sights, as opposed to a gathering of fresh fruits and vegetables, or a table set nicely for company. It took me back to when I was a mother of young children and the battle for cleanliness seemed just as important as paying attention to my children.
Based on their comments, I told the women that if I could impart one gift to them, it would be the gift of forgiveness, the ability to look at yourself and know that you have done the best you could in any given situation. Don’t try to be a perfect mom with a perfect house, but rather focus on presence and love. I also told them to create 5 minutes in their day to breathe, because their own sanity will save the sanity of the family.
Why is it that as women, we are the last ones to have our needs met? I watched these mothers who have their hands full look at me like I was crazy, thinking that even 5 minutes of peace would be impossible. But the reality is, deep down, we as women don’t always feel like we are worthy of self care. We know we are the glue that holds families together, yet do we know that we are sometimes the cause of meltdowns? Have you heard the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” When we don’t take care of ourselves, and our stress builds, we can take out our frustrations on the people we love the most.
My last suggestion of the day was a gratitude or Do-well journal. Everyday, write down one or two things that you accomplished, or really felt good about. An accomplishment to me can mean that you were able to play a whole game with a child without multi-tasking, or you managed to make yourself a healthy lunch.
We need more play, gratitude, love and forgiveness in our lives. What one thing can you do today to bring more of these good things into your life?