Do you remember the last time you were on an airplane and the flight attendant was running through the safety instructions for the aircraft? Maybe you had your headphones in and were listening to music instead, maybe you were traveling with your family and making sure that everyone had everything they needed, or maybe you were busy responding to emails. In case you missed it, they give you a heads up that some oxygen masks will come down from the ceiling should you need them and, here's the important part, you should always put your mask on before you assist those around you.
It's not selfish, it's necessary.
Let's think about this. If you are trying to help someone else and you don't have any oxygen while you're helping them, what good are you going to be? In an emergency, it’s a rule to help yourself first but in our everyday lives we seem to be putting ourselves on the back burner.
I want you to take a minute to think about your top 3 priorities and list them out in order of importance. I would guess that your family is #1 or close to the top of that list, but my question to you is: Where did you rank yourself?
It’s okay if you didn’t write yourself down, but if you continue to put everything and everyone else ahead of you then you’re going to find that you feel a bit lost. Just as it is necessary on an airplane to put your oxygen mask on first, it is also necessary for you to celebrate yourself first as well. I like to call it a celebration because treating yourself implies that you should be buying yourself something or doing something that is rare and perhaps forbidden whereas a celebration is something that you enjoy.
Here are my 4 steps to celebrating the woman you are, who also happens to be a loving mother:
1. Remember who you were before you had children. Reflect back on the things you did in your lifetime and the things that have lit a spark in you in the past. What hobbies did you have that you stopped doing? What goals did you set for yourself that you haven’t accomplished yet? What did you accomplish that you are proud of? What is something you were really good at that you haven’t done recently?
2. Think about the incredible woman you have become. What are you good at right now? What are some qualities you have gained since becoming a mother? What do you currently have in your life to be grateful for?
3. Blend the two lists together! Ask yourself: How can I incorporate some of my best qualities or favorite hobbies that I used to have with the ones that I now have. You can have both! Give yourself permission to have it all.
4. Make time to celebrate yourself regularly (weekly or monthly). Write down a few things that make you feel really taken care of. Some of those things might be working out, taking a bath, meditating, having fresh flowers around the house, reading your favorite book or blog, getting a mani/pedi, journaling, photography, watching a show, or going to a movie. It could be anything! Some of these things could take 10 minutes a day and some of them could take a couple of hours a week. Decide what you have time for in your schedule and then make time for yourself.
While it might feel a little selfish to do something for yourself when you think you should be doing things for others you really do need to fill your cup first so you have something to pour from. You deserve to be celebrated and nobody knows exactly what you need as well as you do!