Let’s face it the minute you have a baby everything else seems to fade away and nothing is more important that than baby. But, it is such a massive change it may not instantly feel right that everything to do with you is now secondary. This is where that dreaded mum guilt comes into play. We all think that we have to be a completely selfless mother. At the same time we are all supposed to be finding time for self care. My head is spinning! Is yours? Which to do first? How to be a selfish and selfless mother? Can I do both?
Well here are a few ways that you know you are a selfless mother…
- You haven’t had a warm cup of coffee (except when at work) since your child was born
- You clean up seemingly endless piles of poo and wee and you don’t even bat an eyelid
- You spend hours watching your children putting on a show and don’t begrudge the time wasted
- You pack for holiday and when you get there realise the children have 30 outfits a day and you didn’t bring a bra for yourself
- You sleep on the floor by your child’s bedside just so they will sleep
- You look at your car crash of a stomach and instead of longing for your six pack back (I never had one by the way) the stretchmarks remind you of the awesome baby you carried
- You turn off the Real Housewives so that your kids can watch C Beebies
- You spend hours and hours of your life at soft play and manage not to sit in the corner rocking
- You give your kid your last Rolo – or at least you would if you let them eat sugar
- You don’t buy those red soled shoes so that you can get that bigger nappy bag
Obviously I am slightly being silly and messing about with this list, but really once you are a mummy you do have to be selfless at least to a certain degree. A small baby is helpless and needs you to everything for them. When they are little all day they depend on you for everything and are incapable of doing so much that is is just natural that mummy fills that gap. When my eldest was born I felt such a weight of responsibility in the early days. It used to actually make me panic that I was responsible for keeping another human alive!! Of course I got over this and 8 years in I am now concerned about how I will manage once my youngest children start school. What will I do with myself now that I can be a less selfless mother? I will have some 6 hours a day which I could spend on whatever I want to do!!
Does Being a Selfless Mother make you a good mother?
I am going to say not necessarily at least not in my experience. For me being entirely selfless and putting the kids first all the time made me frustrated. I felt like everything was a mission. If I am truly honest I begrudged it sometimes. As I said before small babies and children have to entirely depend on you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still do something for yourself to stop you from going crazy! Finding a balance is, I think, the key.
Finding a Balance
I was not good at this when my kids were very little and struggled to find the balance between being a selfless mother and just forgetting all about myself. This level of putting yourself last ALL THE TIME is just not good for a person in my opinion. I was happy with my family and with my life and yet was also really down. Looking back I know that this was because I literally did nothing for me. I know I am not alone in feeling like this! So to those of you reading this who currently feel like they don’t matter as long as their kids are ok please know it is fine to save a bit of time for you. In fact now that I have come out of the side of having 4 under 4 I am 100% sure that I am a better mother now that I do make a bit of time for me.
Sometimes I say no!
Sometimes I am not that selfless mother these days. I do sometimes say ‘ no’ I can’t stop what I am doing or not finish my food. It is ok to say I will help you with keeping colouring in the lines in a minute! Saying ‘No’ and prioritising me actually makes me a better mother. I am less frustrated and frankly irritated. When I am with my kids and playing I am really in it. I am present as I am not thinking about what else I need to do or want to do. I have scheduled time for me and for the things I need to do so play time is play time. Don’t get me wrong I have not got this thing nailed, but I am for sure finding a balance that works better for me. I hope that you can do this too and find a balance that works for you.