In Finland, they call the first years of parenthood “ruuhkavuodet” which roughly translates into “rush years”. Having one or more young children at the same time and trying to manage house and work and KG and all that can definitely amount to something called “rush”. It’s a fast moving traffic jam. That’s paradoxical, I know.
In the midst of trying to manage it all and enjoy all those enchanting firsts of your children, what usually happens is that parents, especially mothers, forget themselves. I’ve had many young mothers tell me that motherhood brought with it an exponentially growing amount of love to that little human, but it also made them feel like they stopped existing as individual humans anymore. It’s all about the baby now.
I can definitely relate to that sense of “disappearance”. All you do and think and talk about is your child. It’s definitely normal and maybe even a biological necessity so that we can ensure our offspring’s good health and happiness.
The thing is that parents forgetting all about themselves can result in problems with mental health, continuous tiredness and loss of motivation and patience. If we keep telling ourselves that “when they grow up I’ll go to that gym”, “when things get easier I’ll think of my own physical health, “just a few more years and I’ll invest in my relationship”.
During the two years of me being a parent, I have convinced myself of these things continuously. But when is the “easier” time? Will it ever come?
Forgive me for my seeming negativity, but no, it won’t.
Let me explain myself here.
If we adopt the thinking process of “when X happens, then I’ll do Y”, we’re probably never going to take a step towards what we want. This type of thinking stems quite strongly from our hidden belief that we don’t actually deserve to have time for ourselves or take care of ourselves just as we take care of our children. And it’s so wrong.
You can’t give someone an empty cup to drink from. You need to fill that cup for yourself first.
Whatever we feel is important to us, whether it is a silent moment reading, blogging, a nap, gym, spa, coffee session with friends, a shopping spree, a job that fulfills us, we have to fit those things in our lives.
Taking care of yourself will most likely result in an increased self-esteem, motivation and more energy.
Just as we put so much energy in figuring out how to keep our children happy and satisfied, we should make even a tiny bit of an effort to fit some self-care in there.
For me, self-care is quite straightforward.
- Finding time to actually change my clothes in the morning into something nice other than the first thing I see.
- A silent 15 minutes during the day either spent in meditation or recital of Quran.
- Occasional gym visit.
- Blogging/writing to my diary.
- Reading a good book with a cup of Nescafe. In silence.
So from here on the new phase of self care shall begin. (I’ll let you know if there was any kind of success…)
Because you parent there. You matter. I matter.
Image not my own (source)