From the moment you announce you’re expecting, you will be greeted with a tribe of mothers ready to school you on how to deal with colic, which brand of diapers is better, what detergent to buy for sensitive skin, the best formula to prevent gas, all the way down to the best daycare and school district your child should attend. As a new mom, being aware of these things is definitely important, but what determines how effective you are as a mother is based on how well you care for yourself.
As a young and new mother, I can recall days where I would constantly worry about my child and his safety. I would sit in the emergency room for hours over things such as a mosquito bite, diaper rashes, or fevers. In addition to worrying about his general well being, I would always find myself worrying about his needs. Do I have enough money to pay for this or that? I had to constantly save for a rainy day because he might tear his shoes at recess or damage his school uniform or unexpectedly get invited to a classmate’s birthday party.
It’s safe to say that I was a hot mess; professionally known as anxiety. I would worry so much about my child, I missed out on precious moments and milestones. I was constantly stressed from worrying and trying to prepare for the future. That is what anxiety does, it robs you of the present moment because of your fear of what could go wrong. If untreated, it can lead to depression and other mental illnesses. If it continues to persist, these unhealthy practices can be learned by your children.
Today, and every day, I want to encourage you to practice self-care. It is impossible to be an effective mom when you are worried, stressed, and filled with anxiety. Self-care is learned, purposeful, and the continuous act of practicing activities to de-stress, care for, and improve your quality of life. Self-care can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee with no distractions, completing tasks on your to-do list, getting a manicure/pedicure/massage, listening to positive affirmation or inspirational music, or learning a new skill. If you need help identifying self care activities, Pinterest is a great resource.
Remember to celebrate and take time for yourself daily – our children are watching.