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Image: Allie Lehman/DeathStockPhoto

When you become a mother, you take on the responsibility of guiding your child into becoming a kind, loving, and caring member of society. You want to instil good values and for them to know right from wrong.
Mothers shape the future of the world because they shape their children. We do not own our children; they come through us, and so future of our world depends on the values and behaviours we teach our children through our words and by example.
Motherhood is the most important job on the planet which is why when it comes to caring for yourself, it becomes the most conflicting. This is because mother guilt starts to creep in when we return to work and take on additional responsibilities that leave us little time for our family and ourselves.
Self-care is taking proper care of yourself, and treating yourself with the care and kindness you need to get through your daily life. It’s about not only being there for your co-workers, clients, friends and family, but also for yourself.

What does self-care mean?

Self-care is more than just taking care of the physical, it’s taking care of our feelings, so we don’t project them onto others, behave in unskillful ways or damage relationships.
Self-care is not getting others to care for you, but for you to take responsibility for yourself and your needs, and it all starts with tapping into your feelings and then attending to them. Maybe you see self-care more like pampering, or doing some retail therapy. In fact, they are wonderful ways to start, but self-care is putting yourself first, taking care of your whole self, and having downtime, so that you can be there for others.

Why don’t we do it?

When I show clients my self-care worksheets and explain the terminology, I can hear the gasps because they immediately internalise it as being selfish. Indeed, feeling selfish about taking time out is the most common excuse I hear from working mums.
So let’s bust through this negative word association “selfish” and there’s no better expert than Cheryl Richardson who writes in “Take Time for Your life” that self-care means putting your self-care above anything else.
Women today aspire to be selfless, they admit to doing too much but are better in their various roles when they tried being a little LESS self-sacrificing.
So to all the working mums I say your kids don’t have to be the priority. Children need to learn patience, flexibility and selflessness too. Sometimes you have to say “no” to them for you to recharge your batteries to be a better, loving parent.

How can I care for myself in this way?

I’d like to invite you to think about creating your self care pamper package from the seven action steps below.
Let’s call it.
7 Self-Care Tips for LESS FRAZZLE and MORE DAZZLE
I hope that you will not just choose some but all of them, and start attending to your self-care needs today.
Tip one: Energy Replenisher
Get 8 hours of sleep a night, each whole foods or superfoods and exercise daily both aerobic (walking, running, treadmill) and anaerobic (stretches, yoga).
Tip Two: Body Maintenance
Just like your car gets six monthly tune-ups so should you. A massage, facial, dentist visit, breast checkups and other examinations.
Tip Three: Organise Yourself
Self-care time needs to be scheduled into your week. The more organised you are, the less guilty you will feel in taking time out of your busy day. You must have self-care on your to-do list. Whether it’s a jog, coffee catch up, yoga, health check-up or just stop doing time by relaxing with a trashy novel.
Tip Four: Talk to the Hand
Firm up your personal boundaries and get out of the yes trap. Stop negativity by either not listening to it or engaging in idle gossip. Keep away from critical people or chicken littles. Also, stop listening to your negative self-talk.
Tip Five: Child’s play
Find your fun. It could be a movie, art therapy, Zumba class, or theme park.
Tip Six: Get out of your comfort zone
Expand your mind. Explore new talents. Visit a new food market, park, or beach. Learn a musical instrument. Be spontaneous and try new things.
Tip Seven: You’re enough
Stop wanting, being and doing much more than the average superhero because you are doing your best. Ask for help and don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and responsibilities.
Self-care is the most empowering thing you can do for yourself. It will boost your self-esteem and self-worth. It’s like saying, I’m important or remember those WELLA haircare ads “because I’m worth it!”
Be a positive role model and an example for future generations of women by following these self-care tips and start taking good care of yourself.

 

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Fiona Craig is a work-life balance coach, business mentor, writer, speaker and buy mum who loves helping women become better at juggling career and family life or to create a better work-life balance by starting a business.

Fiona’s new book, “Stuck In A Rut: How to rescue yourself & live your truth“, out September 2015 has a whole chapter dedicated to self care.  Email Fiona at info@lifebalancecoach.com.au or call 0405 433 217 for a FREE 20 minute, Rapid Results Coaching Session.