🌸 Mother's Day Retrospective
Focusing on self-care to sustain motherhood
“Mom, one of these days, someone in class is going to call me a crybaby and I’m going to be devastated.” - said my tearful 8-year-old 5 minutes before it was time to turn out the lights for bed.
My hope for a quick bedtime routine dashed, I held my daughter in my arms and we discussed why this bothered her so much. We agreed that while it’s impossible to not care about anyone’s opinion, it’s also really hard to care about everyone’s opinion in life. So we took out a piece of paper, folded it into a 2-inch by 2-inch square, and wrote out a list of 15 people whose opinion really matters. Adam and I were top of the list. Her 5-year-old sister was #3 and then there was a list of our daughter’s friends, teachers, coaches, and her nanny. After we finished this list, my daughter thoughtfully reflected that it’s possible that she will add and remove people as the years go by but she hopes to never forget the people on this list, since they matter to her so much right now.
After I tucked her in for the night, I reminded myself that I too should make/update that list of whose opinion matters and shed the weight of unreasonable expectations that I place on myself (as so many women and mothers do). As we celebrate Mother’s day, I am reminding myself that I am enough and pushing myself on this day, to think about what I need to thrive. I am taking this moment to remind myself to take care of me so I can sustain being a mom, a leader, a friend, a sister, and a daughter.
💦 🌻 Self-care basics: Drink more water and move every day
I can’t believe how fast the year is flying by, which also means that all the commitments between work, kids, and personal life are taking up every minute of the day, and giving me excuses to not take care of myself physically. So time to get back to the basics.
Drink more water - I just ordered this new water jug to keep me motivated and hydrated. I know that if I keep it on my desk, I will drink most of it.
I am also looking at my calendar daily and finding at least one meeting I can participate in while walking. We have a heavy “camera on” culture at work (which I absolutely love), but it gives me an excuse to sit at my desk all day, so I’m going to bring back walking daily. The meetings that are good candidates for this are large forum meetings where I am not presenting but listening and periodically participating. There are also certain 1:1s that I find I can do while walking, though I do prefer to give my full attention and to see the faces of people I talk to during our connection points.
😴 Restore sleep: Move cell phone out of reach at night
I know that I am a happier and saner person if I can get to bed on time, get 7 hours of sleep and get myself out of bed consistently (I like getting up at 6am) in the morning. Lately, I’ve had highly disrupted sleep (if you think your sleep woes are over after your kids turn two, as I did, you are in for a surprise) compounded by having a really hard time getting back to sleep for hours on end. This has resulted in choppy and interrupted sleep resulting in me being tired and irritable.
While I have no control over kid disruptions at night, I can do things to help myself get back to sleep faster. So I am going to try (again) to move my phone away from easy reach so that when I am wide awake, I am not tempted to complete the Wordle puzzle and browse the news.
I am also going to revisit breathing exercises as well as keep Relax drops from NuEthix nearby to help me get back to sleep faster.
🍷 Meaningful connection: Bring back monthly date nights
Recently, Adam and I went to see the Acquired podcast show live and got dinner - on a weeknight! It was great to dress up, connect and spend time together outside our day-to-day at home.
It reminded me how quickly our lives become transactional when we go from work to kids to bedtime routines - so having a reason to go out filled our relationship tank and helped us connect in a more meaningful way.
I reflected that we have gotten inconsistent about finding small moments to get away - so I want to re-establish the rhythm of quality time together away from our children. These moments don’t have to be grand or complicated - it can be a night out, a jog or even a Costco run.
👯♀️ Reconnect with friends: rekindle friendships as life races forward
As I have been grinding out the last few weeks, I realized that as an extravert who recharges with people, I was lonely. I hadn’t spent much time with friends lately and it was draining me. Lucky for me, I have an awesome group of neighborhood mom friends and we went out and caught up. I am also doubling down on an effort to reconnect with friends and colleagues whom I haven’t seen since the onset of COVID days.
So if you are reading this and we’ve lost touch, I’d love to reconnect and go for a walk, get a cup of coffee or catch up over dinner or a drink.
🏻 Coda on Privilege
I am lucky that Mother’s Day for me is a joyous occasion, which I do not take for granted. I am grateful for my mom, who is alive, and well. We also enjoy a close relationship where I still seek her counsel and comfort. I was blessed to have had a relatively easy path to motherhood and I am also lucky to have two wonderful and healthy children. And most importantly, I have an equal partner who makes parenting not only possible but fun and fulfilling.
I know that not everyone is so lucky, and for many Mother’s Day is a heavy day. So whatever it is for you, I see you and hope that you find the right self-care and love for yourself, especially on this day.