I attended a training this week for an organisation I work with, supporting parents in the perinatal space. The focus of the day was largely on taking care of ourselves in order to best serve our clients. We discussed ideas as simple as ensuring there is time booked out in our calendars for lunch every day, to carving out time to do something just for ourselves. Discussions ensued around the feelings of some that to do so felt selfish, especially when protecting that time might mean turning down a request from someone else to do something for them.

I could immediately see the parallels in our discussion to those often heard amongst mothers, and in particular those mothers also engaged in paid employment. It can feel really challenging to take back our agency to protect time for ourselves, especially if we have never exercised that muscle, or we are surrounded by others who will be disappointed by a reduced availability on our part.

There are myriad posts online about self-care, it’s importance, debates about what constitutes self-care, and how to do it ‘right’. Often in these articles and posts it can end up feeling like one more task to add to the end of an ever-growing to-do list. I wonder whether anyone feels the benefit when they feel like it’s a task to tick off the list?

Lately I’ve been thinking less about the concept of self-care, and more about choosing myself. And specifically, choosing myself first. Still rooted in self-compassion, I have decided to commit to ensuring that my time is allocated in a way that ensures I get my own needs met, before adding in the tasks focussed on others. This, in stark contrast to meeting everyone else’s needs and expectations before I think about myself. I’ve already tried the latter, and all too often, time runs out before I get to the ‘me’ part of the list.

So I wonder, would you like to join me in putting a plan in place to choose yourself first? Planning in things that help fill your cup so that you are able to continue pouring for others? Depending on working patterns and the season of mothering you are in, your capacity for exactly ‘what’ you do will vary. It might look like sitting down for the length of time it takes to drink a hot drink in your favourite mug at the start or end of the day. Or maybe it is meeting up with a friend who has a child or children similar age to yours, and enjoying their company alongside looking after your children. Maybe it’s signing up to a class just for you on the weekends, or taking a regular walk. The important thing is that you enjoy it, and you feel a little bit better after doing it than you did before!

So, who’s in? If you’re finding it a challenge to work out what you might be able to prioritise for yourself, or how you can fit it in to your packed schedule, consider booking a 15 minute call with me. I’d love to try to help you identify just one thing you can change to help you begin to choose yourself first!

This article was written by Tricia King, Matrescence Coach with Careering Into Motherhood. Tricia works with mothers who want to explore their shifting identities and feel fulfilled and confident in all aspects of life. You can contact Tricia via her profile page or at her website www.triciaking.co.uk.


Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash