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  • Writer's pictureRosie Nicholas

The role of others in a mother's self care

As mums, it's easy to feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. And sometimes, talk of self care can be one more thing to think about, add to the mental to-do list and try to action. But it's important to understand that there is a lot to be said about having others around you to support you, share the load, and pick you up off the floor when you're near rock bottom. Repeat after me: We are not supposed to do this alone.

Whether you can afford some additional hired help, have supportive family or friends nearby, or neighbours that see you day-in-day-out and occassionally offer to give you a couple of hours to yourself; take whatever help you need in order to get your sanity, self or inner-calm back. And don't be afraid to ask for what you need. Practice saying out loud, "Could you please take the baby or kid/s for a couple of hours?". You don't even have to qualify it with a "...because I just need some time for myself". You are worthy of a break. Period.

And if you have one, let's not forget the role of your partner or co-parent in all this. It should be a gentle give and take situation wherever possible, as it's not going to serve either of you long term if you're both burnt out.

Here are a few quick ways to ensure that you ask for the help of others. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If it feels uncomfortable, you might need to unpack the reasons why. For me, it sits uneasily because I come from a place of always wanting to people please. But when you're looking after small humans, pushing through fleeting discomfort for personal gain is 100% worth it.

  1. Pick a random day in your diary over the next month or so, and reach out to someone close to ask if they can watch your little one/s for the morning or afternoon. Scheduling this far enough in advance not only means it's an easier ask, but it might also allow enough time that you temporarily forget about it, then when you get the reminder on your phone (note to self: set a reminder), you get an extra hit of dopamine. Double win!

  2. Talk to a loved one about your need for more time to look after yourself. The old adage is true that a problem shared is a problem halved. And if their a parent, they might have some useful tips or advice. Or even better, they may offer to help!

  3. Be more selfish. This might sound controversal, but it really shouldn't be. Think about all the times you're available for your little one, then ask "Do I need to be?". If someone else has bath time covered, can you nip out for a quick walk around the block with a podcast? The fresh air and movement combined with impromptu time to yourself will do you the world of good. It'll also recharge your batteries for a lot longer than you might think.

  4. Practice communicating your needs, out loud, in front of the mirror. Get comfortable with speaking your truth, your needs and desires so you can better express them to others. There's also a power to saying things out loud. Perhaps you can turn your words into a positive mantra, which builds routine and a habit.

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