Mama, I see you. I see you trying to keep it all together. I see you making sure that your family has food to eat for the week. I see you trying to keep up with your job and all that it demands of you. I see you making efforts to check-in with your friends, follow-up with unanswered text messages, and return family phone calls. I see you caring for your home. I see the way you evaluate your personal and intimate relationships to ensure that you are giving them whatever attention you have left to spare by the end of the day.
I see you doing your best.
Do you see yourself?
As if the mom shuffle didn’t offer enough challenges, we now carry the extra weight of the tough decisions we are forced to make every day for ourselves and our families. You know the tough decisions I’m talking about here. Life as we now know it is not life as we had previously known it. Let that sink in.
The beautiful thing about who we are as humans is that we are a species prone to adaptation and resiliency. Yes, even parents navigating their way through a pandemic are adding resilient layers to their metaphorical suits of armor. But we know that the pathway to resiliency is not easy. It is hard work to make adjustments that challenge what you have always known to be safe and secure. It is hard work to stay strong while you face adversity. So, to all of the mamas parenting their way through this pandemic, let me gift you with the reminder that you are permitted to rest and appreciate yourself right in the here-and-now.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s show ourselves a little self-love.
Appreciate where you are today. Before you read any further and before you do anything else, wade in an imaginary pool of appreciation for yourself. Soak in all that you are and all that you are doing to keep yourself moving forward. Appreciate that you made it through the day in one piece. Appreciate that your family’s basic needs are being met because you showed up for them and for yourself. Has anyone told you lately that you’re doing a great job? If not, here I am telling you… you’re doing a great job.
Be mindful of the expectations you consciously or subconsciously set for yourself. Healthy expectations can have some benefit, but we need to be careful about the force we put behind our wall of expectations. Expectations are rooted in a desired outcome. As life will have it, we cannot always control the outcome of any given situation. If we are too rigid with what we expect then we’re setting ourselves up for a let-down. Think about how this might apply to pandemic parenting. Think about how this might apply to your own self-care. Where do you see room to loosen up and let yourself off the hook?
Love from the inside. When it comes to self-love, I encourage you to start from the inside out. I love treating myself to a good massage, a hot relaxing shower, or a bottle of wine from my favorite local vineyard. But what are these things to me if I’m not okay on the inside? What does it look to love the parts that you cannot see? Not just the good stuff but the parts that hide in the shadows, the imperfections. How do you honor yourself for the things that are not visible to anyone but you? Learning how to love yourself from the inside out can be an incredibly beneficial act when what we seek on the outside is at the mercy of the condition of our world. And right now, our world is still battling a pandemic. Right now, our former ideas of normal are going through a transformation. So, bring yourself back to you and check-in with how you’re feeling, what you need, and where you can offer yourself some much-deserved TLC.
You are rising to a new set of challenges every single day you wake up. Be easy on yourself, wrap yourself up in a hug, and remember that you are doing the best you can and that is enough. You are enough.
Be kind to yourself and shuffle on…
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