As parents we have a tendency to put the needs and wants of everyone else before our own. It is only natural. But we need to learn the art and skill that is not feeling guilty or selfish when taking time for us.
You cannot pour from an empty cup.
There are times (if not all times) when it can feel like we are being pulled in a million different directions but at the end of the day we are just one person. For instance, I am just one person who wears many hats — Mummy, wife, accountant, chef, chauffeur, teacher, nurse, cleaning service, ass-wiper, the list goes on. But still just one person.
I love every single one of those jobs (well maybe not the ass-wiping) but at times I have to hold my hands up and say I am knackered! While saving myself for last isn’t always a bad thing at times it leaves me physically, mentally and emotionally drained. And when I reach that point I know my own cup is empty. How can I expect myself to be able to pour into all those other cups when I have nothing more to give? This empty stage is only natural when, as mums, we put ourselves last on our list of priorities.
It is self care not selfish care.
At the end of the day you cannot give what you don’t have and so there will be times when you need to take a step back, take a break, say no, invest some time and care into yourself. It should not come to the point where we are parents half dead from exhaustion before we take some time to look after ourselves. It is something we should start consciously making a point of doing on a regular basis — taking time out to top up our own cup.
In trying to be all things to all people we are doing a disservice to ourselves, our families, and everyone around us. We have to start accepting that it is ok not to give 100% of ourselves to everyone else and instead make sure we have some leftover that is just for us and to start investing in ourselves and self-care.
Burnout is not just a hippy term in tech circles
Burnout is very real and it can leave us feeling like a shadow of our former selves. Burnout is what we face if we do not start bumping our own care up on our list of priorities.
For me as a Mummy it doesn’t have to mean a weekend spa trip once a month. It can be as simple as turning my phone off to properly enjoy a show I am watching, taking five minutes when I have some peace to skip loading the dishwasher and instead sit down with a cuppa. It is arranging to meet friends for dinner and drinks. Or finding a hobby or an interest that is just for me, something which lets me be Karen, not me the mummy, not me the wife, but just simply me.
Once I take that time to fill my own cup I find I can be the best Mummy, wife, accountant, chef, chauffeur, teacher, nurse, cleaning service and ass-wiper that I can be. Self care doesn’t mean being selfish. It just means ensuring you don’t forget to look after yourself too.