Last month, I was attending an event created by Seeds of Exchange, a beautiful organization led by Fair Trade Partner Sarah Davidson-Tracy. Seeds is working to create a robust and committed village in an effort to support the enterprises and well being of our sisters and brothers locally.
During the event, we participated in an activity called the “6 Word Memoir”. We were asked to jot down 6 words that would give others a glimpse into your life at this moment.
Without really thinking, these six words appeared on my page: “Mother Me, Mother Mine, Mother All”. THIS is what my life is all about these days.
Now, what does mothering mean to me? Mothers nurture. They are compassionate. They see the best in their kids and are their biggest cheerleaders. They prioritize children (and not just their own) and care for their needs — physical, emotional, and spiritual.
What I’ve realized is that I’ve really messed up my order of my mothering for the vast majority of my adult life. Mothering myself was never a thought because at some point I learned that prioritizing myself and my needs was selfish and shame worthy. I learned that mothers were martyrs and that everybody else comes first.
This way of being in the world led me down some dark paths. Paths that included depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and disconnection from the people that I love the most. Even though mentally I believed I was prioritizing my family and others because I was serving their needs first, I was actually doing the opposite because I wasn’t bringing my best self to the table. Instead of getting a rested and joyful wife and mom, they would get a harried, disconnected, and stressed one. I would spend all of my time thinking about what I had to do next instead of being in the present moment.
Now, things are different. I schedule out my self care as I do my business meetings. I walk most mornings and spend that time letting my mind wander. I mediate most days. I breathe and stretch throughout the day. And for those of you thinking to yourself, “I wish I had the luxury” or “Must be nice,” I HEAR YOU! I was one of those people for years. And, who knows, maybe this won’t work for you. But, I will tell you that it has made me more productive, more efficient, more connected, and more joyful. It’s made me a better wife, a better mom, and a better leader.
So, this Mother’s Day, I invite you to reflect on how you are being the best mother to yourself. I have given you full permission to pamper yourself and do the things that make you radiate light and joy (do you even remember what those things are?). Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful, worthy, wonderful women…now stop reading and go book a spa weekend with your girlfriends.