As moms, we’re really good at putting ourselves last. We’re great at playing the martyr.
We’re terrible at treating ourselves with the care and dignity that we give to everyone around us.
This has got to change. We cannot keep running ourselves ragged. We are no good to anyone if we are not good to ourselves.
So, here are five things you deserve, mama. Things you should demand.
Consider this the mama’s bill of rights.
1.) A loving and supportive partner
Not everyone has a traditional partner in the parenting journey, so this role can be filled by anyone. For me, this is my spouse but for you it might be a friend, a parent, or a sibling. No matter who this person is, there are some minimum requirements for how they treat you. Abuse comes in many forms–physical, emotional, spiritual, even financial. Sometimes it’s something big, but often times it’s a bunch of little things. The passive-aggressive comment. A hint that you’re not good enough. Criticism that moves beyond helpful and into hurtful. Breaking things. Making a mess of something you worked hard on. Yelling. Isolating. Neglecting. The list goes on.
Everything on the list is unacceptable. Period.
Mama, you deserve someone who brings joy into your life. Someone who lifts you up rather than tears you down. If your current partner is not fitting that bill, you have the right to demand that they do. You deserve to be treated well. What’s more, your children deserve to see their mother treated well. End of story.
2.) To eat breakfast. (and lunch. and dinner. maybe even dessert.)
If you’re anything like me, your mornings are a mad scramble. Getting the kids dressed and out the door feels like running the gauntlet. You don’t have TIME to eat breakfast! Right?
Give yourself the five to ten minutes it takes to nourish your body. The dishes can stay in the sink. The toys can stay on the floor. Pack backpacks the night before if you have to, but feed yourself.
3.) A shower and clean clothes. Maybe even some makeup.
I am one of the worst offenders when it comes to this. I’ve gone days in full-on mombie mode. Convinced I was too busy to shower. Too stressed to bother with makeup. But the thing is, when I actually take the time to take care of myself, I feel good. When I feel good, all the things I have to do don’t seem as draining. So mama, allow yourself a shower.
(please note I did NOT say you have to look perfect. You deserve to feel good, but how you look is for yourself only. Don’t let this put any additional pressure on you. Don’t.)
4.) An activity you love.
Maybe it’s volunteering. Or watching a trashy television show. (Zero judgment here. I used to pay for a second Netflix account just so my husband wouldn’t see my awful viewing preferences.) Perhaps it’s running (Okay, that one I don’t get, but again, zero judgment), or simply meeting up with a friend for coffee. But you deserve leisure time.
I’m going to say it again. You deserve leisure time.
We were created for more than the grind. Art, music, literature, and sports are all evidence that the human race needs to pursue interests, and you need to pursue yours.
5.) The ability to say no and to ask for help.
Now, to be able to pursue an interest, you’re going to need some time on your hands. To do that, you need to exercise your right to two things: saying no and asking for help. Say no to the obligations that do not add value to your family’s life. If being the room mom is making you stressed, say no and instead, volunteer to do something you actually enjoy. If signing up for that meal train means dinner won’t get on your table, buy a gift card instead.
Finally, remember you have the right to ask for help when you need it. One of the greatest things I’ve done lately is shift the laundry responsibility to my husband. He folds while watching sports in his man cave, and I no longer yell at my toddler for unfolding that shirt I just folded because I couldn’t get time by myself to fold. You do not have to do everything, mama. Let someone take something off your plate.
I now declare this mama’s bill of rights effective as/of this date and shall henceforth be committed to its defense and enforcement.