Hot Mama: Mothering myself to be a better mom

I’ve gotten into a bit of trouble for something I said on the radio recently:
My self-care and health are the most important things to me. My son is #2.
Commentors online called me selfish, but I’ll tell you what.
My kid is happier and better cared for when my health is the top priority.
It’s a paradox: selfish self-care for the health of the family. 
I tried doing it the other way — heck, I’m naturally Type-A and excelled at the other way.
I was trying to DO more to feel better, but that just left me feeling more depleted and frantic.

Now this may not be true for all of you, as I have some overseas folks here, but my American work ethic has something to do with this:

I was raised in a culture where you DO SOMETHING to fix something.
  1. Chunk down the problems
  2. Look for the weak link
  3. Study the systems
  4. Integrate a step-by-step plan you can work through
It works for a lot of things in life, but not ease.
Here’s the catch: vitality is inefficient. It loves to drink up time and resources. It flourishes in flow.
In other words – working on it doesn’t work. 

It’s another paradox: working less to feel better. Relax more to feel more alive. Freedom and commitment to a health plan.
Try this old problem solving paradigm on reinvigorating a worn out mom (or dad, or human, for that matter) and the body and life gets dissected up into unrelated parts and pieces instead of being seen as a whole.
  • Headaches at work are handled with Advil instead of looking at stress and diet.
  • Loss of juicy libido is blamed on age rather than looking at relationship and hormones
  • Sleep troubles are handled with Ambien instead of looking at work-life balance
  • Weight loss is fought with reduced calories and more exercise instead of looking at food intolerance and stress
We try to DO more instead of relax into awareness and ease.
In my early years as a mama, as I was going through my separation and divorce, I tried to do more to feel better:
  • Working late and rising early to get more work done
  • Reintroducing caffeine to my life to stay focused
  • Relying more on networking functions as my social life than connecting with old friends
And my body finally got through to me and told me that I was over-doing and over stressed.
It got to the point where I saw my friends a few times a month and was working from 5:30am to 9:30pm every night.
With a little help from my partner who is a bit older and wiser in the area of ease, as well as my own coaches and friends, I’ve instituted a radical schedule of self-care in order to be the mom, woman, and health coach I want to be:
  • I run my own business, I set my own hours: my work hour boundaries are now set in stone.
  • Getting less than 7 hours of sleep is not allowed, honey. 8+ please.
  • My juices really get going when I have creative down time with books, pens, and being in nature: this is now scheduled
  • Connecting with friends and my partner is not throw away time – it is a vitally important ingredient in self-care
  • Eating simple, healthy food and moving every day (bike, yoga, walking, squats) is non-negotiable.
Here’s your home-play assignment, should you choose to accept:
(Home-play sounds more fun than homework, right?)
Take a day off.
Really.
An entire day for you. No schedule, no plans, NO INTERNET.
Take your kid to camp, say goodbye at the door to your partner, or just turn the ringer off your phone.
Use as sick day as a well-day. 
Then do whatever you need to feel well, replenish your body-mind, and get into ease:

  • Hop back into bed for another hour or two of sleep
  • Read a saucy tale in your skivvies
  • Lounge in the park listening to music or your favorite podcast (I’m in love with Being Here with Ariel & Shya Kane, Marc Maron’s WTF and Dan Savage)
  • Put on your favorite sun dress or shorts and go for a bike ride to your favorite cafe: read a magazine
  • Cook a new recipe — or just eat easy salads all day — or have a piece of amazing chocolate by the river
  • Feel no guilt, know that your health and well-being depend on giving yourself what you truly desire: ease & play
I want to hear from you on my blog:
How will you spend your day of ease? How will mothering yourself make you a better mom or dad?
How will you make this happen more often? 

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