The Self-Sacrificing Mom as Model
I’ve been looking back on the little practices I added in to my day in recent years, and appreciating how life-changing they were.
Some of my favorites:
- eating more greens
- doing a minute of long exhales through the nose when I feel anxious
- meditating at night before bed. I might not have noticed at the time, but each one required a letting go of something
- allowing my mind to become more spacious at night and letting go of the annoyances and difficulties of the day
Knowing what we want to let go of can give us more power behind our intentions to take our next step. Here is something that might help us manifest whatever our desires are: consciously choose to leave behind the archetype of the self-sacrificing mother.
True, we have to give up a lot as a mom. But in order to nurture out of love and freedom, we must also learn to nurture ourselves. This idea may sound strange, but really, how much of our time is spent on things that help us feel fulfilled, revitalized, and more self-aware?
It’s possible that the idea of self-sacrifice became so prominent in our culture in the last few hundred years, when mothering stopped being a communal / family job, and we found ourselves isolated in houses with more duties than any single human could possible handle.
It’s time to step back and think: if we stop thinking of mothering as ONLY taking care of others, and begin to include finding fulfillment for ourselves as essential to mothering, we do a profound service for our children, our community, and our culture.
By letting go of the model of forgetting ourselves, and carving out space and time to work on something meaningful, we not only teach our children how important nurturing power and wisdom is, but we make it possible to share our own gifts with the world.
If every day we move a bit toward becoming a more authentic, full expression of our Divine Self, then we can model for our children the path to becoming our authentic selves; and by being pursuing our own heart’s desires, we become change agents toward a culture of connection and deeper expression.
To let go of neglecting ourselves, here are some practices we can add in to our lives as moms and moms-to-be:
- Put a small towel roll under your neck at night for 5 minutes before you sleep if you have tension there (who doesn’t?)
- Make an appointment for a pregnancy or Thai Yoga Massage
- Take a 20 minute walk. Studies show that the emotional uplift and physical benefits of exercise happen mostly in the first 20 minutes!
- Connect with a mom and work toward giving each other an hour or two free each week, to use FOR YOU (not for errands)
- Practice asking for help from acquaintances
- Write in a notebook: jot down some ideas and then make a plan to accomplish a goal or project
What is the new mom archetype? To me, she values time with her kids as much as anything in the world, but she also pays attention to what’s arising within her. Maybe she’s not quite as productive as she might have been pre-kids, but she makes sure to include at least a little bit of all that she values in her life.
She asks for help, reveals her insecurities and overall values the feminine qualities of receptivity, rationality, and reversibility, as well as the more linear, “I can do it myself” masculine qualities.
She pays attention to the co-creative force arising within her, and follows its lead.
What is exciting you right now? Now, just as you would drive your child to skating lessons if that were her dream, carve time out a bit of time for you this week, bit by bit. You, your children and your community deserve it!