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Blog 4 Pillars to Being a Better Mom...and a Better YOU

4 Pillars to Being a Better Mom…and a Better YOU

This past weekend, I was a facilitator at Rise Gathering. This is a weekend retreat created by women, for women. I led parenting workshops at this gathering. I met women of all walks of life and all ages at this event.

There were teenage girls who came with their moms and adult women who came with their moms. There were women who came with friends and women who came alone. There were women who work full-time and part-time. There were women who stay home with their children and women who were retired.

What happened during this weekend was magical.

The women gathered were kind and compassionate towards each other. They opened their hearts, shared and supported each other. Over and over again I saw women recognizing that they are not alone. They are not the only ones who feel the way they feel or struggle with their challenges.  pillars

The older women shared their wisdom with the younger women. And women shared their expertise on a subject with other women. It all felt very tribal.

Tribal.

Yes, that’s the word I am looking for. It felt at once familiar and foreign. As I thought about it more, I realized that for the most part, we have in modern society gotten away from that tribal feeling with other women.

In generations past, when women became mothers, they had a village around them to support them and their new baby. The other women would care for the baby to allow the new mom to rest. And they would pass down their wisdom about teething or fevers or tantrums.

Not so much today.

Many new moms do not have that in today’s era. I met a mom at the beginning of this weekend who was struggling when she arrived. She became a mom less than a year ago and she shared how difficult and lonely this first year has been for her. She admitted to feeling unsure, confused and uncertain about how she is caring for her baby. She asked many, many questions.

She was in my first parenting group. And for a portion of our time together, the other moms in the group wrapped their symbolic, loving arms around this new, uncertain mom. They held space for her and guided her. They calmed her fears and reassured her that she did in fact, have the wisdom she needed for her baby to thrive.

By the end of the weekend, this mom had come to life. I could see and feel her energy being restored before my eyes. It no longer felt like she was carrying the weight of the world, or the weight of being responsible for another little life, on her shoulders. If only for a little bit of time, this mom found freedom and I could see it when I looked at her. She was radiant and happy and full of life and energy.

But how can she keep that feeling going when she gets back home?

The 4 Pillars of Health

I believe there are four important steps we can take to be a better mom. Pillars, if you will. When I say “better” I mean better in the sense of being happier and more fulfilled, and more connected to her children. Not better in the sense of her child getting straight A’s or making the star team or being in the “in” crowd.

What are those 4 steps?

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1. Get your Zzz’s

This can be a tough one, especially for new moms, working moms, moms with multiple children. Heck, this can be tough for any mom. And each mom needs a different amount of sleep. It is important for you to figure out what that ideal amount of time is and then get it as often as you can. Not every night will be perfect, but you can try.

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2. Eat well

This can also be a tough one. There are so many different ways to eat and things to eat that it can be overwhelming. While eating at McDonald’s for every meal is not what I would recommend, I actually don’t think there is one “perfect” way of eating that fits every woman. Some women feel good on a low carb, high protein diet. Some women feel good eating a plant-based diet. And some women feel good eating a variety of foods while avoiding certain types of food like gluten or dairy. The important thing here is for you to be mindful when you eat. Pay attention to what makes you feel good when you eat it and what does not. Pillars 2

This topic can be so weighed down with lots of stories and emotions. Body image can be related to food, as well as self-esteem and overall health (including mental health and well-being) as well as eating to hide from uncomfortable emotions. I can only encourage you to develop a healthy relationship with food. See it as a wonderful fuel that you are putting into your body. Remember to give thanks for having the good fortune to have the food that you do. Beyond that, listen to your body to see what it likes and what it does not.

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3. Sweat it out

This one is a biggie for moms. It can be very easy when we have our children to drift away from exercise. Or maybe we never really exercised. But exercise is good for moms for many reasons. First, it helps us to get the “baby weight” off so we can get somewhere close to how we felt before our children were born. But second, being a mom is one of the hardest things you will ever do. At times, it can be incredibly stressful and draining. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep ourselves feeling strong and clear and calm.

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Just as with eating, there are a million ways to exercise. It is important for you to find what works best for you. Some women need and can tolerate a higher level of exercise. Some women enjoy running and some women enjoy weight training or body weight exercises or walking or yoga or swimming or tennis. The important thing is to find out what you enjoy and what makes you feel good and then do more of that.

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4. Get our ‘om’ on

This one is H-U-G-E. So many things can fall under this pillar of health. But basically, the idea is all about living authentically to yourself, with peace, confidence and self-love. Each of us has to figure out what that looks like in our own lives. One thing I do to practice stress-reduction is to continuously look at my schedule and the way I am spending my time. I keep checking in to make sure that what I am doing is moving me closer to where I want to be, whether that is with my own health, my relationships with others, my career or anything else.

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When we get busy, we can get stuck on the hamster wheel. Then, we forget to do those regular check-ins to make sure we are not drifting off track for where we want to be.

I also have worked hard to build my tribe, both locally and virtually. I have very dear friends near me and spread around the world. I know I can lean on them heavily when I need to and they can do the same with me. Knowing I have that safety net means everything to me. Especially with both of my parents having died several years ago.

Be Mindful

I try to look at the various aspects of my life regularly – the three pillars above (sleep, exercise, diet) as well as money, relationships, self-care. Lately, I have been very proud of myself because I have been successfully committed to exercising 4-5 days a week and I feel great! I also am taking very good care of myself through the kinds of food (fuel) I am putting into my body and I make sure to find time to care for my mind each day through meditation and mindfulness.

If you are interested in beginning to take better care of yourself, I have created a self-care primer just for you!

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Give yourself a break

Lastly, I give myself a break. There will be times when I fall off track, when I mess up and make mistakes. Rather than beat myself up, I accept that I am human. I give myself a loving break and move on having tried to learn the lesson in that uncomfortable situation.

I will be talking more in-depth about each of these pillars in a 4-part series on my podcast, which you can check out here.

 

>>> Fill out the form below to get my FREE download, Your guide to being the Model Mom <<<

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