I always knew that I was going to be a mother. I never had the dream of a fairytale wedding or meeting a Prince Charming, but I did want to have a family that had the husband and the kids. So it came as a big surprise when I learned I was pregnant after dating a man for just three months back when I was 24. I thought, well, this is not the plan! But I decided that I wanted the baby and had faith that everything would work out. It did to some extent. I eventually married that man, we had a second child and there I thought life was complete. Although my marriage was never built upon the things I valued, I think our inexperience with one another early on is what eventually led us to divorce.
My children are my world. I knew what life was like before them but can’t imagine life without them. When they were babies I would always question if I were doing a good job. Will I shape them into respectful, loving human beings? As I raise them, will I still be a respectful loving human being? Will I be able to take care of myself through the path of motherhood? How can I ensure that I am loving myself, being kind to myself and respecting my needs so that I can provide my children with support to fulfill their needs as well? All big questions to have, and definitely a struggle at times to answer.
When Jada Pinkett Smith was recently asked in an interview about the challenges of motherhood, part of her response was that we are conditioned to take the back seat to make sure our children are taken care of first. While all of that is important, it leaves you wondering, “who is going to fill my well?” I agree with her and it got me thinking about my job as a mother and what is it that I do to take care of myself. This took a long time for me to realize – the importance of self-care. But when I did, I then saw I could take better care of my children, my partner, my friends, and my family.
So as a mother, can you recondition the notion of taking the back seat and put yourself first? I believe over time you can start to make little changes that will eventually turn into habits and will begin to fill your well. Whether that is meditating, taking a yoga class, watching an episode of your favorite television show, or drawing yourself a bath, you can start to take control of your life and develop ways to fill yourself up that exude happiness from the inside out. In return, you will then begin to see happier children, partners, friends, and family members because you are showing them the importance of self-care. You will then benefit greatly by being able to support them in their successes, dreams, wants and desires. It all starts with you.
Tiffany (RYT 200®) is a student and teacher of yoga living in Baltimore, Maryland.
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