Woman

When mom is well, all is well!

When mom is well, all is well! That is a sentence approved by all mothers but even if we know it we are not often being taken care of!

Even if we know that we have the lead role in our child’s life, that our emotional wellness is the foundation of our personal and familial development, we neglect ourselves!

In real life, we only have one motto: baby comes first! We just have to take a look at our behavior to see that:

  • We make a lot of efforts and sacrifices for his well-being.
  • We spend a lot of money for his comfort and pleasure.
  • We spend a lot of time on his development.
  • We want him to have a bright future.
  • We place his desires first.
  • We are comforted at the thought of taking good care of him.
Consequences

In doing so, we neglect our own needs and desires. We keep giving without wanting anything in return. We are afraid to look vulnerable so we act like we are strong.

And then come tiredness, impatience, discouragement, sadness, deception, comparison, judgment, doubt, feeling like we are not worthy and a bit of a down. What is going on with us? We are trying our best and we love our child… so we should be happy, right? During these difficult times, let’s ask ourselves: am I taking good care o the most important person for my child?

We must first stop the storm to realize how difficult it is to be a mom. We must admit that our happiness is a prerequisite for his. We must admit that being functional and doing what must be done is not giving us a lot of satisfaction. When we only think about our child, we neglect ourselves and, after a while, we become frustrated. This happiness is not always enough to charge our battery. What does it mean for our child? Do we really believe that our child cannot see that we are absent even when we are there? Is it possible that he does not feel the intensity of our emotions? This questioning does not mean to make us guilty because it would be painful and useless. But it allows to realize that we have a place on our list of priorities, even if we know that it will take some courage!

Benefits

Why is it so hard to take care of us? Because there are benefits and the most important is self-appreciation! Selflessness and devotion allow us to feel like a good mom and that need is important to make god decisions. Deep down, we believe that putting our child first is always a good thing! In reality, taking care of our emotional health helps us manage our emotions and deal with our child’s own emotions:

  • We understand why we act like we do.
  • We avoid being overwhelmed.
  • Our perception of ourselves is positive.
  • We express more compassion towards him.
  • Our faith in our capacities increases.
  • We act according to our values.
  • We are less defensive.
  • We have better reactions to our child’s requests.
  • We place limits more easily.
  • We are happier to be with him.
First step: recharge

Knowing that we have needs is already very good. If we can fulfill our needs, even partially, it will be even better! When we will be ready to take care of ourselves, we don’t know how to proceed. We forgot how to do it and it causes this kind of situation. Once we decided who would take care of the baby, once we gave instructions and prepared the bottle or meal, we end up in the car, thinking, “what will I do now?” To avoid this, let’s identify our need. Do I want entertainment, discussions, relaxation, movement or do I want to go out?

From this list, identify actual needs that are not fulfilled.

  • Affection
  • Appreciation
  • Tenderness
  • Recognition
  • Freedom
  • Leisure
  • Balance
  • Solitude
  • Fulfillment
  • Expression
  • Reassurance
  • Support
  • Enjoyment
  • Mental stimulation
  • Sharing
  • Resourcing
  • Love
  • Approval
  • Friendship
  • Privacy

I often heard mothers saying that they would appreciate being alone at home to have more time to do what they wanted. Reading without being interrupted, taking a bath or taking a little nap! This option is cheap and accessible but they do not dare to ask their husband t leave the house with the baby. Once again, this difficulty to admit that we need to do something else than taking care of our child shows up!

Guilt is another considerable obstacle when it is time to think about us. Some will say “what is the point in going out? I only think about my baby!” Do not wait for your guilt to go away before you do something because you could wait for an awfully long time! Take your guilt outside! After a while, it will lose strength, it might even vanish.

The list of reasons not to take care of us is long and there are many obstacles too! Our engagement towards ourselves will make the difference between action and stagnation. Think about it, what will you do today to fulfill one of your needs?

Isabelle Dagenais
Lecturer on mother’s well-being

Since the birth of her first daughter, Isabelle Dagenais has chosen to use her knowledge as a sex therapist and social worker and put it to use to help mothers. She has created Lecture/Workshops “Être maman” to help mothers with their emotional, social and sexual well-being. For more information on her lectures and workshops, visit her website.


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