Mother’s Day is still a little rough, even though my mom’s been gone for five years now I still think of her every day. But this is an extra special time to cherish and honor her memory. So I picked out some flowers I thought she would like – red being her favorite color I chose a beautiful ruby orchid plant…and a single red rose. As I laid them on the gravesite I was flooded with beautiful warm memories of all the loving things she did for me.
One memory in particular always stands out for me – it was Valentine’s Day and my husband at the time, was out of town. I was in the kitchen and heard a knock on the front door. When I answered my mom was standing there, smiling, with a plate of homemade chocolate heart shaped cupcakes frosted in pink with red sprinkles. She had driven 30 minutes to deliver her loving surprise face to face and give me a big hug. I was so touched I cried…I miss my mom a lot. She was always doing sweet things like that and it made me realize she was always thinking of others and doing very little for herself…it was lovely to be able to sit and honor her memory with so much gratitude.
And it made me think – what about you? Whether you are a mother or not, are you a good mom to you – honoring, nurturing and nourishing yourself? Or are you like my mom and so many other women, doing very little for you and putting yourself last?
Let’s face it, we all offer ourselves and nurture others at one time or another. Some of us do it continually, taking care of other people in our lives, being present for them and serving them on a daily basis.
Many of us set aside our own needs and desires in order to help someone else. Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to care for someone, especially a sick friend or aging parent. At other times, we may be called upon to support a colleague who is going through emotional upheaval.
Although there is nothing wrong with giving our time, energy, love and attention to others – and there are times when it is absolutely essential that we do so – the danger is that we can care for others to the point of being off-balance in our own lives, losing our sparkle and self in the process.
How does it look when we become off-balanced, when we aren’t tending to our own needs? How does it feel when we haven’t focused on self-renewal or taken steps to revitalize and replenish ourselves? Well, imagine that you are a big, beautiful crystal pitcher filled with lemonade.
Surrounding you is a circle of glasses that want to be filled up. These glasses represent the people in your life – your mate, your kids, your boss, siblings, parents, friends, colleagues, etc. As you focus on filling up everyone’s glasses – filling and refilling them because everyone continues to want more – what happens?
Eventually, the pitcher gets emptied. There’s no more lemonade to pour into the glasses. The pitcher is depleted. Everyone around you still wants more of your wonderful, yummy lemonade, but if the pitcher is not being refilled and replenished, eventually there is nothing more for you to give. That’s what happens when you do not take the time for self-renewal.
Like the pitcher, you eventually have nothing left to offer. You’ve squeezed yourself dry. Yet, you continue to try to give. However, now what you are able to “serve up” becomes flat – it doesn’t taste sweet anymore. Even though you know you are running on empty you push yourself to pour your pitcher anyway. And those who you serve are aware – often unconsciously – that what you’re providing isn’t as good as it once was. Maybe what you now offer is laced with bitterness, resentment, frustration and even anger.
So, what can you do to refill your pitcher – to renew yourself? First, it’s vital that you understand a key concept: the most important relationship you will ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself! If that relationship is not rock solid, and full of love for yourself, you can lose your way-even lose your sense of Self-and feel isolated, separate and disconnected from everyone and everything.
Alternatively, the more you nurture your relationship with yourself, the more you are ready and able to have relationships with others and give to them – whether that’s a spouse, partner, friends or family members.
How can you renew and nurture your relationship with you? At the core must be the belief that you are valuable, that you deserve to be cared for and that you’re worth it. So, the first step is to love yourself. You must be able to see that you are worthy of love and that the most important love you’ll ever receive is the love and acceptance you give yourself. It starts with you.
Once you acknowledge that you are important and worthy of love and self-care, you can take time to appreciate who you are and spend time refilling your pitcher. There are many ways to do this. To begin with, plan to give yourself some undivided attention. Focus on what you can do to breathe new life into your body, mind, and spirit.
Here are a just few suggestions to get you started:
- Soak in the tub. If you love taking baths, create a tranquil ambiance – including candles and music – and soak in scented bath salts that relax and refresh all of you.
- Get moving. For your body, exercise is another important component to include. Be sure to choose exercise you enjoy.
- Eat well. Make healthy food choices and say ‘no’ to white flour products and refined sugar.
- Take supplements. Visit a wellness store and get a good supplement plan in place … one you can stick with.
- Listen to your body. Listen to your body and take care of your needs. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, get a massage, indulge in a mani-pedi and kick any destructive habits/addictions you may be using to cope, like alcohol, drugs or food abuse. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support.
- Appreciate yourself. Don’t forget about the little somethings that put smiles on faces and do those things for you. Write yourself a love letter, send a note of gratitude to yourself or even have flowers delivered to you at home or at work.
Give yourself permission to show yourself some special love, attention and appreciation. Remember: it’s okay to admit that you need to be cared for as you care for others. That said, I encourage you to be a good mom to yourself. Take time this week to acknowledge and renew your relationship with yourself.
You matter greatly!