So, in this month – May – we celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States and parts of the Caribbean. Many of us will be heading out to seek out the perfect Mother’s Day presents, scheduling our Mother’s Day specials (brunches, dinners, massages, etc), and generally obsessing about the perfect Mother’s Day for our loved ones. So, as a mother myself, and surrounded by my own mother and mother-in-law, of course, I will be doing the same!
Of course, I had to join the Mother’s Day festivities. What can we say about mothers? They are awesome. We know there are mothers who have this name in roles only. But we have to give thanks for the women in our lives that love us unconditionally and support us. Most of these precious women tend to care for everyone but themselves. This has been our socialization.
Society has taught women that caring for themselves is selfish and inglorious. But, we are here to dispel that myth and remind all the mothers out there that taking time for yourselves is essential to practicing proper mental health. We cannot pour from an empty cup. Period.To all my black women, we are one of the most neglected groups in the world. Click To Tweet
To all my black women, we are one of the most neglected groups in the world. Black women walk a tight rope not experienced by other women. The tension and stress that black women live with is unparalleled. We tend to get lost in translation in racial issues; in gender issues, we still get lost, and many do not even consider ethnicity. To black women, I say that, “We are enough.” For black mothers, we carry a societal burden that both stiffens our pride and frightens us beyond words.
I am here to tell all black mothers that we do not have to suffer in silence. The archetypal strong woman and angry black woman are roles that we do not subscribe to. For we are strong enough to pave our own paths. We seek more than what has been allotted to us, and for this vulnerability is no longer shunned. For without vulnerability, we cannot experience life to its fullest.
Check out these 5 self-care tips that can be practiced long after the Mother’s Day weekend is over.
5 Self-Care Tips for Mothers.
- Schedule a few hours, a day, or few days to invest in yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually, and/or professionally: No, mom guilt is not acceptable nor should it be. Guilt implies that you did something to be ashamed of. Releasing guilt and shame can be one of the most cathartic experiences in life. It frees up a lot of emotional energy.
- Allow yourself to be pampered: Yes, it is okay to allow yourself to be indulged and spoiled by your kids, partners, and other loved ones. Again, no guilt is allowed. We spend our time showering others with love but are usually incapable of accepting the reciprocation. Reciprocity is a natural law in life. Enjoy it.
- Release Toxicity: Whether relationships that we need to release, emotions that we need to expunge, or habits in our lives that no longer serve us. This is one of the most difficult things to do because of our emotional connections and sometimes, unconscious attachments. However, doing this will make room for more positive things to come into our lives.
- Be Honest: When you need help, ask. When you are feeling overwhelmed, tell someone. If there is an area in your life – whether parenting, house work, career, health, etc – share how you are feeling. Our loved ones are not mind readers. And it is unfair to expect yourselves to do everything alone. To be honest, this is still a work in progress for me.
- Just Say No: One word: As I have told many of my clients, friends, and family members, okay also myself occasionally, NO is a complete sentence. It is completely okay to create and maintain boundaries that prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and stretched too thin. This is not a one-time practice. This is also a cornerstone of proper mental health practices. With permeable and loose boundaries, no one will take you at your word. Some will also keep pushing at those boundaries until they break.
Now, get to practicing these 5 tips.
Mothers…I hope that you have the best day ever and allow yourself to enjoy the experiences, and do not focus on all the things that still need to get done!
Black Women…We are not taught to care for ourselves. Contrary to popular belief, we are not solely vessels for other people and their problems. We are living, breathing, spiritual souls seeking our own fulfillment and pleasures. So, go out and seek!