We read articles all the time about how important it is that mothers practice self-care. Of course, those things are typically easier said than done. It seems like any attempt I made in the past was met with a negative outcome. For example, if I went to get a massage or went to dinner with a friend, I felt as if my children were on their absolute worst behavior when I returned. It was almost as if I was being punished for being selfish. But what happens when we push past all of the roadblocks and just make it happen? Your quality life changes, that’s what happens.
Most people that follow my page understand the struggles that I have dealt with in the past. For the longest, depression and anxiety guided my world. My anxiety decided what activities I’d participate in. It decided how I would parent. It limited the time I’d spend away from my children. Thanks to an amazing support system and several coping mechanisms, I’m thankful to say that my anxiety no longer rules my life. Anxiety will always find a way to show it’s ugly head, but right now I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten so much stronger and for once, I’m optimistic about the future. That leads me to why I felt it was so important to finally invest in myself.
First, can we discuss how expensive it is to just do the bare minimum for ourselves?! I’ve been working very hard to keep my nails and hair up. Um….who can afford this? For a simple fill in and to get my eyebrows done, it is $40 every two weeks. Let’s not even begin to discuss how expensive hair appointments are. The struggle! But, I can honestly say that this is the best I have felt about myself, physically, since I became a mom. I feel so freaking pretty! I want to put on clothes every day. I enjoy looking in the mirror and for once, I like being in pictures. People that know me know I HATED being in pictures. My excuse was that I’d rather be behind the camera. Well, selfie here I come. This mama is cute, finally! The way I see it is, I spend over $1000 a month on childcare alone. I can invest a little $80 in myself. All this overtime doesn’t seem as awful when I’m treating myself as well.
Another awesome benefit is that I feel like I have more patience with my children. They may turn into little hellraisers after I have a girl’s day out with my friends, but I’m better able to handle it since I’ve had time to decompress. I enjoy my children so much more these days, because I’m happy. There are going to be those mom shamers out there that are going to say that I should enjoy them regardless. No Karen, that’s not how it works. Of course. I always love them, but motherhood isn’t always enjoyable. If you say it is 100% of the time, you’re a liar and we don’t like liars around here. Motherhood is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I have a master’s degree in nursing.
It’s so nice getting to know who I am again. I got married young, like 21 young. I was in nursing school for the first few years of our marriage. Then we had kids, while simultaneously, going on to earn higher degrees. It’s almost as if I haven’t had time to figure out who Jamie is. I’ve learned so much about myself in these past few months. I thrive in situations that force me to be creative. I love music more than ever. I plan on taking up guitar lessons after I finish nurse practitioner school. I love sitting in silence. I love being silly with my kids. I love chatting on the phone with friends. I love long drives with music blasting. I love being more than just “mommy.”
Of course, I have to discuss how important my support system has been in my growth. I never had tons of friends growing up. My mom didn’t hang out with her girlfriends much. I suppose this rubbed off on my sister and me. I don’t have friends from high school that I stay in touch with or hang with. However, I’ve built some amazing friendships with my nursing friends. Truly, these are lifelong friends that I’m beyond grateful for. And I’m thankful that my husband understood the necessity to spend time with my friends. Having girlfriends that are going through the same difficulties really makes a huge difference. What happened to the “it takes a village” mentality? It really does! And I’m so thankful for mine.
Mom lives matter, period. Your life doesn’t stop when you give birth. In order to be great moms, we must take care of ourselves. Spend time with people who make you feel whole. Cleave to those who support you and have your best interest at heart. Accept the help. Allow yourself to enjoy a break. For your children’s sake, make yourself a priority, mama. You deserve it.
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