Top 25 Mother's Day Tips for
By Stacy M. DeBroff
The Mom Book (Simon & Schuster, Spring 2002)
"The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought." Thomas Moore
As a Mom, nurturing yourself isn't a luxury; it's downright essential. And Mother's Day is the perfect time to start do it: to find room in your life for yourself, and use that time to do what most replenishes and energizes you.
In order to "be all that you can be" to those around you, you have to take a little time for yourself. For some time each day, give yourself a reprieve from family obligations and the demands of time with your children. At first, it may feel like stolen moments of time from all the concrete details of your work and your household responsibilities, from raising your children and giving them the primary focus of your energy. Moreover, it often feels counterintuitive that by looking out for yourself, you're actually helping your family.
Remind yourself of the instructions about the use of oxygen masks in the event of a drop in cabin pressure in an airplane: "Be sure to secure your own masks first, before putting a mask on your child." When you hear that, at first it seems so selfish and self-serving. Look out for yourself first! But then you realize that if you pass out, you won't be able to affix your child's mask on. Similarly in life, you cannot care properly for your children if you can't get enough oxygen yourself or if your own well runs dry.
Take Care Of Yourself
1. Finagle lunch with a favorite friendand in the process buy yourself a bouquet of flowers and an extra one for her too to celebrate the restorative power of close friendships. Call up or drop an e-mail to a long-distance friend you haven't been in touch with for awhile. Reconnect, catch up on life, and laugh. Make staying in touch with friends a priority. It can be as simple as a weekly e-mail or phone call, or sending a card once a month. Friends will reciprocate the gesture, making you feel connected to and cared about by others.
2. Build into your week activities that boost your self-esteem and that make you feel strong and confident. These could be things that you do well and about which you feel passionate, or things that you did well in your youth that you still enjoy, such as swimming or doing crossword puzzles.
3. Exercise, even when you don't feel much like doing so. Staying fit and conditioned gives you the foundation to counter the daily stresses inherent in parenting and running a household. It also will help lift your spirits and boost your self-image. If the type of exercise you've been doing isn't for fun for you and another chore we add to the week's schedule, try something different such as tennis or a spin class. Drag out your bike and try a new route. Walk the dog and the whole family with you in the evening. Aim for a half hour of physical activity a day, and even walking counts!
4. Comfort food doesn't always have to be the decadent pint of gourmet ice cream, macaroni and cheese, gooey grilled cheese sandwich, or fresh baked cookies. Instead it can be soups that simmer on your stove (add bouillon cubes for more instant rich flavor), roast turkey or chicken (throw in some lemons or oranges into the roasting pan), or bread baking in the oven (you can even buy uncooked dough in your grocery store's freezer section).
5. Are you caffeine dependent? I know I wasso much so that I was convinced that I should invent a caffeine patch that Moms could wear on their arms and simply tap to get activated in the morning. The problem is that caffeine affects your sleep, leaves you jittery, and plummets your energy when it wears off. So ease yourself off it, giving yourself more time to sleep and substituting natural energerizers such as fruit in its place as a quick pick-me up.
6. Surround yourself with energized friends. Find people with whom you feel refreshed and inspired, and who make you laugh and make these the energizers you seek out. Energy is contagious, both positive and negative. Make sure that those around you on a regular basis are energetic and positive. Identify those people who primarily act as energy-vampires or are toxic for you to be around, and get rid of them from your life. The same goes for toxic colleagues and friends: use polite evasion to keep them at arm's-length.
7. Let go of perfectionism. Give up the ideal of having a spotless house. This is a never-ending series of battles you will keep losing. Kids by their very nature create chaos in their wake, even those trained as a toddler to help take their plates to the sink and clean up their rooms.
8. Give up hoping to have a body that leaps straight off the pages of a fashion magazine. Unless you've inherited amazing genes or do yourself the disservice of eating too little, you will likely find yourself consumed by a very demanding part-time job of losing weight. Your scale, bathroom mirror, and smallest jeans should not become the arbiters of your happiness.
9. Toss out clothing that doesn't fit or that you haven't worn in the past two years. Give it to Goodwill or a local charit