Do you ever feel that you give up yourself in order to give other things your all? When I became a parent, I already had deeply established ideas and values about parenting, none of which included prioritising my own health and wellbeing. I quickly realised that this approach wasn’t working. When I excluded my own needs, my relationship with my son and my work suffered as a result. I knew it was time for new strategies to stop me from being worn down by my responsibilities. The following habits allowed me to have a balance between my parenting and work life.
End self-criticism and commit to positive self-talk
Self-care begins with the attitude we take towards ourselves. Most of us learn to judge everything about ourselves as if that will help us have better lives. We are taught that self-judgment, doubt and criticism are normal when it’s actually very destructive and disempowering. To overcome this and empower myself more, I took a new approach. For every critical thought, feeling or emotion I did the following:
- Any time I judged myself, my parenting and work, my life or business – I began saying, “Stop. No more.”
- Second, I replaced the judgment with gratitude. I asked. “What can I be grateful for here? What can I acknowledge about me and this situation?”
- Third, I turned conclusions and assumptions into questions:
- “I don’t know anything !” became “What do I know about this?”
- “This is terrible!” became “How does it get even better than this?”
Make time every day to nurture yourself, outside of your parenting and work roles
Do you see treat yourself as a priority? We are taught that ‘good’ parenting or being a ‘good’ career person means a lot of self-sacrifices. It’s time to bust that myth.
I used to believe whole-heartedly that I had to give all myself to my son, and I lost myself in motherhood. When I started choosing things for me and began valuing and prioritising myself more, I noticed that my son became more confident and independent, too. When you are willing to nurture you, not only does it nourish you, it invites others to do the same for themselves.
As a minimum, spend one hour a day doing something that is fun and nurturing for you and your body. Make it a priority every day to reconnect with what brings you joy.
Stop trying to do everything yourself and receive the contribution of others
Are you trying to do it all on your own? When I started my first business in my 40s, there were people who believed I couldn’t be successful. I could easily have believed I had to do this all on my own to prove the doubters wrong.
I was already well aware that making myself the source for everything doesn’t work at all, thanks to my son! Even from a very young age, my son was independent. He liked choosing his own clothes and had a strong sense of what he desired. I had been raised to believe that as the parent I was supposed to have all the rules, answers and make choices for him so that he could do well in life. However, I noticed that the more I did this, my son became distant and avoided me more.
In my assumption that I had to be the one with all the answers, I’d left no room to trust him, choose for himself, or contribute what he knows would work for him to his own upbringing! I asked myself how I would feel in the same position – being treated as if my way of doing things was wrong, not being trusted or asked or my own opinion or have my contribution valued. Wow, no wonder he didn’t want to talk to me!
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I started to let go of the control and assumptions in my parenting of him and asked some different questions:
- What does my child require of me today?
- What does my child know and what is he capable of that I have never acknowledged?
- If I were willing to receive it from him, what would my child be willing to contribute to me that I have never allowed?
Increasing your self-care at work and with parenting is simple, but it may be like training a new muscle – it takes practice! Make the commitment to be kinder to yourself (more gratitude, less judgment!), do something just for you (and just for fun) every day, and look at where you can become more open to trusting others and letting them contribute to you, and notice how these choices contribute to your well-being in a multitude of ways.
About the author
Norma Forastiere is a business mentor, natural therapist and certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs, including Being You, Right Voice for You, Joy of Business, Being You, and Access Bars®. A self-proclaimed seeker, Norma began practising meditation at an early age and then went on to study metaphysics and several energy healing and natural therapy modalities. A native Portuguese speaker with a proficiency in English and Spanish, Norma offers workshops and consultations for those willing to explore greater possibilities in life, communication and business.