Mum’s health can be at the end of the ‘to do’ list especially when juggling kids, partner, work, finances, diet, exercise, family, friends, pets etc. Caring for others, especially precious little ones, can take all of our energy and focus as mothers, leaving little resources – time, energy and sometimes money – to devote to ourselves. These resources are given to others first in a selfless act of motherhood.
The importance of not neglecting yourself
Mothers may neglect to attend to their own health needs, such as diet and exercise. After caring for others all day, it may be challenging to get the energy and motivation to cook a meal for yourself, find time and energy to exercise, let alone meditate! All of these things take time and time can be in short supply in a family environment. It’s challenging to make time for yourself to focus on your own needs when juggling the needs of your family – husband/partner, children, parents, siblings, etc.
Adding things like a regular pap smear, dental checkup and mammogram can just sit in the too hard basket. Worryingly, women often only attend to these important health checks when symptoms cannot be ignored anymore.
Don’t just worry about the kid’s, think about your own health and wellbeing, too
Just like in an emergency situation, it’s important to ‘secure your own oxygen first!’
Looking after your own health, as a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, is essential to ensure you can care for those you love. Only when we are ‘topped up’ as mothers can we really come from a place of giving. This may be enjoying a healthy diet, exercising regularly (for both body and mind! Exercise is so important for stress management), maintaining good relationship with friends, practicing spirituality or connecting in a way that brings meaning into your life.
Continually giving, without ‘topping up’ and practicing self-love, can lead to a mother being depleted and run down. Wellbeing really is physical health, as well as emotional and spiritual wellbeing as a whole. Giving some time and energy to these personal aspects can help mothers to continue to give to those they love. It is also a good example for our children to practice self-love and respect for themselves as they will mirror the behavior they see.
Simple things Mum can do every day to stay strong
We know motherhood is busy and leaves us with little time for much else. Easy everyday steps every mother can try to incorporate into daily life include:
- Eat at least one plant based meal per day i.e. a salad a day in summer/spring
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water – at least eight glasses per day. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Connect daily with something you love, other than your children! This could include meeting a friend, meditation, exercise, walking the dog, do the gardening, jump in the surf – whatever takes your fancy
- Exercise at least 3 times per week. Making time to exercise is such good ‘time out’ and is important for stress management, sleep quality, healthy digestion. Hopefully, it can be fun too, and not a chore.
Simple diet tricks for Mum
Don’t just live on kids left overs! This is such an easy trap but will not satisfy your nutrient requirements, and leave you at the risk of nutrient deficiency. It’s also easy to just snack, rather than eat a whole meal, and this again will leave you lacking in important nutrients. It can be easier to cook one meal for the whole family and ensure everyone is enjoying good nutrition.
If needed, fresh vegetable juices and smoothies full of fresh, seasonal vegetables, fruit, flaxseed oils, nuts, seeds, and added protein can be a healthy snack or meal, at a pinch.
Don’t disregard keeping the mind well
I think it comes to fostering social connections and meaningful relationships, plus living with meaning in your life – to see the big picture so to speak. This takes the pressure off unrealistic expectations of perfection and worrying about the ‘small stuff’. I think it takes self-forgiveness and self-love to accept your mistakes and just keep trying.
Top up your wellbeing
Some simple ways you can top up your wellbeing include regular exercise, eating well, taking time out, connecting with friends and family, working hard, and trying to remember the things that you enjoy and trying to remember to do them!
The best advice you can give about wellbeing
It’s a work in progress!! Take it easy on yourself!