Motherhood and Self-Care, a Global Paradox

It seems my whole motherhood, 18 years thus far (including the months in the womb), I continue to be privy to similar conversations with mothers from all over the globe, feeling challenged with not enough time for the self, let alone wellbeing. Whenever I’ve inquired about what mothers do for themselves, not surprising, most of us respond immediately with smiles…and sighs. In-between breast-feeding, family meal planning, organising logistics, producing the increasingly full schedules on any given day, cheering at soccer matches and music performances (or carrying the guilt of not), not to mention the millions of other tasks required from their paying jobs, women from around the world share a common challenge - not having enough time, or shall I say, not taking enough time for self-nurturing and personal wellbeing.

Being a very, very busy working mum myself, I can certainly relate with this!

Pondering this global motherhood and self-care paradox prompted a series of questions for me:

  • In today’s world, how do we define self-care in a way that is possible to embody with success?
  • As the lead nurturers in the world, how can we live in our full power and set better examples vs. carrying the continual guilt of not doing enough for our children and families?
  • And how can we support each other in achieving more time for self-love on a regular basis?

In the spirit of Fivelements’ mission, creating the space for life transformation and love in action, we embrace the notion that love in action begins with our self. This blog is about reaching out and offering like-minded mothers ideas and strategies for creating the space for self-care, wellbeing and love.

In celebration of Mother’s Day this month, we humbly share this collection of insights in hopes you will find a little bit of inspiration for your daily life.:

 

Caron Williamson, Fivelements’ Wellness Liaison, Yoga & Meditation Teacher, shares thoughtful ideas and a different point of view on motherhood and wellness:

  1. Finding a few minutes of “me-time” every day. This could be a morning meditation or simply a cup of tea alone. You can even use your bath or shower time for this. A little time every day to check in with yourself. Notice how you are feeling and observe your thoughts and your breath.
  2. Finding joyful moments with your kids so that motherhood itself is wellness and self-care. This could be as simple as sharing a pot of tea or a story together, but could also be a walk, painting or playing together. Your kids can help you find your way back to the present moment and the simplicity of joyful living.
  3. When you feel you are failing or not doing enough, treat yourself as if you are one of your own children. It’s easy to see the potential and good in our children than in ourselves. See your own potential and try to interpret your “mistakes” as signs that you are learning. Love yourself as you would your kids. Use your loving parent voice for yourself and forgive yourself.
  4. When all else fails, give yourself a (mini) break. Chocolate, an early night, a lifestyle magazine, a funny movie. Treat yourself and resolve to put all problems aside for a time and pick them up again with fresh will and perspective after the (mini) break.

 

Stefanie Jencquel, Fivelements’ Beauty Wellness Curatorshares her simple tricks of the trade:

  1. Having a massage, preferably before you feel reach exhaustion. Massages always offer me self-care and attention I so often neglect while chasing around my 3-year old son.
  2. Preparing a rejuvenating or calming beverage. Among my favourites are:

    a. relaxing tea with fennel-camomile-lavender

    b. a fresh green energy smoothy or almond-date milk shake

    c. a fresh pressed carrot juice also helps to calm the nerves

  3. Swimming in the sea – something about floating in sea salt water, the big blue that takes me away…dreamy (or taking a bath with ¼ to ½ kilo of sea salt also does the job!)
  4. Weekly Pilates – never miss this!

 

Mindy Tagliente, Fivelements’ Yoga Teacher and Founder, Yoga for Life, shares her views on finding “me-time”:

 

  1. Practicing yoga keeps me sane! If I had no yoga in my life, I can’t imagine what kind of a mum I would be. I practice in the morning after all my 3 children have gone to school. This is an absolute MUST for me.
  2. Time out for meditation or just being alone for a few minutes a day, to re-charge my batteries and clear my mind. This usually happens for me around late afternoon when my energy levels sometimes drop and I know I am becoming more irritable with my kids and less tolerant of their behaviour.
  3. Going on a retreat overseas with a bunch of girlfriends, to have a break and remember what life was like before your identity merged with motherhood! Coming back after even a few days away from the kids, I feel like I have a lot more energy and can be a better mum for my kids (well, a less snappy one at least!).

 

Karen Lim, Fivelements’ Barre Teacher and Co-founder of Barre2Barre, shares her top three of practices:

  1. Writing a Gratitude Journal. This is something I started after attending the Fivelements’ Amazing Grace Women’s Retreat. I write down what I am thankful for each day. Dealing with or getting over a bad day is just so much easier if you realize how much you have to be thankful for.
  2. Meditation. Meditation helps me quiet my mind and heart, helps me centre and focus, and energises me.
  3. Move. I need movement in my day. Exercise is my way of taking care of myself.

 

Priscilla Soligo, Fivelements’ Culinary Educator and Nutritionist and Co-founder, Fit.Fun.Fast., shares her insights for living in harmony:

  1. Moving my body 6 x a week for one hour per day. This keeps me fit and strong and helps me to think clearly, have more energy and bring my A-game to all facets of my life. It has really made me a deep unequivocal sense of ‘anything is possible’. I always show up for myself and stay consistent with exercise. I love that my kids see the importance of not only eating well but moving our bodies too.
  2. Practicing intermittent fasting (more about that on my blog www.fitfoodfastfeel.com) which gives me a lot of extra energy and helps with healing and health in my body, not to mention all of the well documented scientific evidence of this natural, free and safe practice. This along with being a qualified chef who eats and promotes real organic unprocessed whole foods – mostly, mostly plants, is for me also a form of self-love and self-respect.
  3. Enjoying mini-medis aka: meditations for 10 mins each day. Like most women, I get crazy busy and at times it can feel overwhelming running a business, studying and being Mum, so stopping and just taking 10 mins to re-ground myself each day really helps. I also love to take a bath soak when time permits at home with essential oils and relax with some candles and Tibetan sounds.

 Lahra Tatriele, Fivelements co-founder

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