Raising a four-year daughter is filled with excitement and joy. Some days we dress up as a doctor or princess. Other days we spend hours at the local park. None the less, my daughter has taught me a lot about what it means to be a good mother. While my daughter enjoys playing with me I must take care of myself to be a good mother to her. You see I think as moms we spend some much time taking care of others we don’t take care of ourselves. I decided I would take off my cap as” super mom” and practice self-care. But, as we all know self-care for moms is hard to come by.
In my career as a school social worker, I spend most of the day teaching families and children how to care for themselves. But, over the last few years I’ve noticed that for most mom self-care is the last thing on their to-do list. As moms our days are long and by the end of the day we feel exhausted and ready for bed. What few moms realize is that taking time to care for yourself makes you a better mother.
Self-care for moms can be doing the small things that make us feel special and give us joy. For me it’s staying up after my daughter goes to bed and painting my toe nails purple. Other days I call a girlfriend and laugh for a couple of hours about our favorite television show. More recently, I have begun taking painting classes.
While my paintings are not perfect, they are my creations and I love them. When I arrive home from a painting class I am refreshed and energized. It also really cute to show my paintings to my daughters, she looks at my pictures with great pride and says, “Mommy you made that.” Sometimes I schedule an appointment with my therapist and discuss the challenges of being a single parent and working full time. Having someone listen to me uninterrupted is both therapeutic and good for me.
Self-care for moms can also mean taking time to disconnect from television and social media. A child of the 1980’s, I loved seeing the development of social media, cell phones and computers. But, what I have not loved is how it has negatively impacted family life. Each day, I ask my daughter what she learned at school and special events that happened at school. More recently, my daughter has become interested in watching videos on YouTube and cartoons. However, this took away from our family time. And then when I tried to engage with my daughter she would beg, “Mommy can I watch one more?” I want us to spend the time laughing, exploring and playing outside. Chasing after my daughter at the park helps me burn that extra cookie I ate at work. It also teaches my daughter that physical activity is important part of our lives.
Last spring my daughter and I attended a “Mommy and Me “dance class. This class was complete joy for both of us. It was so cute to see my daughter learn the beginning of ballet, cheerleading and jazz. Each time she learned a new movement we both squealed with delight. This is an experience that would have never taken place if were watching a carton on Netflix. Moments like these are once in a life time.
Each day I encourage you take a little time to do something that makes you happy. The results will last a life time for both you and the entire family. Because I looked for “Super Mom” and I honestly I can’t find one out there. Even super heroes need to take care of themselves.
Guest Contributor Marissa received her Bachelors of Arts from Spelman College and Masters of Social Work from The University of Georgia. She has worked for Hillsborough County School District for ten years as school social worker. In her spare time Marissa enjoys traveling, writing , and spending time with family. Marissa is the mother of an energetic and smart four year old daughter.