My Declaration of Self Care

June 25, 2013 4 Comments

Michelle Ward, Jessica Swift, the Declaration of You

This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here. The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do!

change the world, mothers need to take care of themselves, how to be a better mom

As I was trying to come up with a way to explain why self care is so important to me, and all mothers, I decided to go straight to the people who benefit most from a mother taking care of herself — my children.

I sat down with my son and asked him a few questions like:

Who takes care of me and papa? Why do you think it’s important for us to take care of ourselves? What difference do you see when we are taking good care of ourselves?

His answers were simple and straightforward, as kid’s ideas usually are.

He stated, without emotion, “You smile more when you take [good] care of yourself. And that makes me happy.”

So simple and so true.

When I’m happy my kids are happy. 

Our children notice the difference. When we are taking good care of ourselves, when we remember to honor what makes us feel good, happy and ultimately more like the unique women we are, our kids feel good too.

Despite the obvious benefit of our children being happier when we’re happy, we still struggle with self care. There remain these guilty feelings surrounding doing something nice just for us. I hear it from women I know, from my coaching clients, and even in my own self talk. Comments like:

I really shouldn’t do that. My kids need me — the time I have with them is so short. I can’t afford that (while not blinking an eye at spending lots on children’s activities). I can’t ask anyone to help out so that I can do something just for me. That’s too selfish. 

When will this struggle end? When we will learn that taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of our children?

As a mother, I know first hand that self care is crucial. I must put my oxygen mask on first, so that I can help my children put theirs on too.

If we’re going to break the cycle of self care being seen as selfish, we have to model the importance of self care for our children. And what makes this really easy is that they already get it.

Our kids feel the benefits when we smile more. Our kids understand that when we feel filled up, we can give fully to them.

On the flip side, our kids know that when we aren’t feeling good we might play less and yell more. When we’re tired, run down, exhausted and depleted there are a lot more “no’s” than enthusiastic “yeses”.

Our children want to be happy. And they want us to be happy too.

It’s so much easier to allow myself time for self care when I know that it is benefitting my children. Saying yes to my own needs means also saying yes to being the best mom I can be for my kids.

The extra bonus is that my kids learn by my example. By seeing me take care of myself, they know that they too are worthy of fulfilling their own needs, desires, and passions.

My declaration of self care is about more than just caring for me.

My declaration of self care is a commitment to my own needs, wants, desires and passions, and my children’s too.

My declaration of self care is aimed at ending this idea that self care is selfish.

My declaration of self care is about taking care of me and my children too.


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Comments (4)

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  1. Lynn says:

    Great post and a great reminder. I want my kids to see me as an example of living passionately. I want them to learn how to take good care of themselves. And yet becoming a mother has challenged me immensely in making time for self-care. There are a lot of unhelpful myths around the “selfless mother.” Thanks for this post!

    • kelly says:

      Thanks so much Lynn! For me, becoming a mother has been this crazy dance of having a really hard time taking care of myself coupled with needing to take care of myself more than at any other time in my life. I would love to chisel away at the selfless mother myth. It doesn’t help anyone, children or mothers. I try to teach that selfish is not a bad thing, to other moms and to my kids too. I don’t want them to be afraid to ask for what they need, any more than I want myself to feel that way.

  2. Oh I relate to everything you’ve said here. Kids are amazing and really are the best teachers. Every day I’m reminded that I need to really check in with myself by the reactions of my kids. I’m SO thankful that I’m blessed with them to help me reconnect more to myself and what I need to do take better care of ME!

    I wrote something similar today for TDOY self-care day, too! 🙂 Happy to have connected with you and read your awesome post!! loved it!! and i especially love your son’s quote!! 🙂

    • kelly says:

      Thanks so much Renee! I try to learn from my kids at every opportunity they give me, which is more than I could ever count.

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