4 Ways to Love Your Kids—By Loving Yourself
4 Ways Self Love Can Make You A Great Mom
Mothers may feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders—and with good reason! It’s up to mothers (along with fathers) to raise the next generation, and that in itself can be quite daunting, even before your baby is born! It’s all too easy for moms in particular to feel judged and looked down upon because of how they raise their children, in part because of how connected the world is today. A mom can’t go online without having her decisions questioned, whether they have to do with what she’s been feeding her baby, or how she’s presenting herself to the world.
Mental stress is just one aspect of being a mother. Becoming a mom is an incredibly intense experience physically, too! The average woman is pregnant for roughly forty weeks, during which time the average woman will gain 25 to 35 pounds. Though there is nothing wrong with gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy, you may feel physically like a different person after you have your baby. This isn’t even taking into account the intensity of labor, during which women can experience permanent physical changes.
But obviously, the work of becoming a mom isn’t done once your baby is born. Mothers also are relied upon to set good examples for their kids, and this can be easier said than done. Moms are only human, after all, and it can be difficult to be a good role model while at the same time taking care of yourself. The last thing that any mother wants is to represent a poor image for her kids. With that being said, let’s look into a few ways that you can present a positive image for your kids, while at the same time taking care of yourself as a mom.
1. Practice Body Positivity
It can be challenging to be body positive, especially after you have a child for the first time. Even the most prepared women often experience challenges to their self esteem when they look in the mirror postpartum. The reality is that there is no such thing as “snapping back” to your pre-baby body in an instant. Even women with tons of help from personal trainers, dietitians, and plastic surgeons need to wait a while before their bodies begin to resemble their pre-baby appearances. Many women report experiencing insecurity, and even depression over their bodies after baby.
However, your negative self talk and self esteem issues don’t just affect you. They model that kind of though process for your kids as well. If you love yourself and show yourself practicing body positivity, your children will follow suit.
2. Be Open
No matter what kinds of dreams or preconceived notions you have about your kids, keep in mind that they will be individuals, and need to be able to express themselves. This doesn’t mean that you need to let them do whatever they please, of course. Boundaries are important, and you have every right to instill in your children the values you think are important for them to experience as they grow up.
At the same time, you must prepare to be open to the questions and opinions your child might express as they grow up. We’re all a part of a bold new world, and you should know ahead that your children may have thoughts and questions about that world. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either—as your kids grow up, you may very well learn about new things with them! What’s most important is that your children feel like they can say any and everything to you.
3. Stay Healthy
It can be difficult to prioritize yourself when you’re a mother. All too often, mothers allow their families to consume their lives to the point that they’re unable to give themselves any time. However, you need to remember that taking care of yourself and staying both physically and mentally healthy is good for not only you, but them as well.
This goes beyond just being body positive, and extends to taking the time to talk to your friends or cultivate your relationship with your partner. You need to have people that you can rely upon and lean on. The world can’t rest entirely on your shoulders, and your kids need to be able to see that you’re taking care of yourself, so that they know how to take care of themselves as well.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
There is only so much that you can do at one time as a mother, even if you have a great support system. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, and enjoy the fun parts of being a mom. Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting perfection of yourself. There will be rough days, and there will be times when being a mom doesn’t seem very fun. However, if you try to go easy on yourself and remind yourself that you’re only human, it will be a lot easier. You don’t suddenly become a superhero just because you’re a mom—even if it feels that way sometimes!
Remember: motherhood is incredibly rewarding, even through the ups and downs. But you’re not an island, and there are resources available to help you. Seek help if need be, but know that you can do this. No matter what, there will always be one person who believes in you: your child!