As a busy, working mother, putting yourself first can often be a challenge.
For many women we put everyone and everything else first until we become so burnt out and depleted that we can’t even think or see straight.
I realized a long time ago when my oldest child was having a tantrum on the floor that we all experience this desire to lay down, cry and scream sometimes. Learning new things, taking on too many things, constantly saying yes, can feel really challenging, overwhelming, and hard.
Parenting is Hard
If you are feeling these things, you are not alone. If you are in a situation where you are constantly the last one to have her needs met, you are not alone. Perhaps you are feeling like it is finally time to make a change.
We talk about putting on the oxygen mask first, so that we can be of real service to those around us. But so many women forget to put the oxygen mask on first and actually take care of themselves, because they are so busy doing everything for everyone else to realize how darn important this really is.
Tantrums taught me that one of the most important variables is me. If I wanted to have a different experience in this life and in these moments, I was the one who was going to have to shift.
I was drained. I was providing much of the care around the clock for our two children and was seriously lacking in sleep, nourishment and brain power. I had always been taking quality prenatals, but I wasn’t eating enough, I wasn’t getting a speck of time for me, I was barely sleeping and I was constantly beating myself up.
“I knew that for things to change I had to change.“Amy Ballantyne
And I knew that I needed to learn some new strategies in order to help myself as a mother and in the moment of the tantrums.
My Big Learning
Regardless of if we are 2, 22, 42, 62 (you get it) we all have meltdowns. They may look a little different as we age, perhaps you don’t fling yourself on the floor anymore, or maybe you do. This is about our well-being. This is related to our stress being too high or being caught off guard. Perhaps it is related to feeling hungry and totally depleted of the nutrients our body needs. Or this is related to being in a rush. Sometimes we are over tired and mentally exhausted. Often it is related to having not a speck of time for yourself and being interrupted constantly when you have a moment.
Our self care matters way more than we think. It impacts us with the people that matter most, in the moments that matter most. Realizing this has been huge. And trust me, I am still a work in progress.
The second learning is that we are not alone on this journey as parents. It is a complete roller coaster of highs and lows. If you want to make a difference for another mother or father who is in the middle of a tantrum with their own child, I simply smile gently. Then I say, “I have been there. It sucks. You are not alone”. And if you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and alone, reach out.
Lastly, we can only show up fully, as the person, and parent we truly want to be when we take care of ourselves. I learned this first hand.
Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Self care doesn’t have to be elaborate.
A friend I lost in April 2019, taught me that life is short, the season of tantrums is short. Something as simple as patting yourself on the back for making a healthy meal, getting out for a brisk walk or showing people in your life that you care, can all go a long way. All of these little things are examples of things that fill my cup, so that I have the energy, love, encouragement, patience and joy to pour into those around me.