Welcome to She Before We!
I have a confession...
At the end of a typical day, after my family and I have dinner and we begin to wind into what should be a relaxing evening at home, I am actually the opposite of relaxed. While my husband and two young sons play in the living room, I, like clock work, become consumed with ALL OF THE THINGS that need to be done tonight in order to make tomorrow work. With my mind focused on the “to do” list, the present moment is gone and, sometimes unconsciously, anxiety levels are heightened. Here we are at days end, and I have yet to do anything outside of caring for the needs of others.
What I know for sure:
I am NOT the only mother to a young family that feels this way most evenings!
So what is that about?
It’s a about being in caregiver mode 24/7. It’s about personal and societal pressure to be everything to everyone in our family. It’s about feeling guilty for wanting to get a few minutes to yourself. It’s about adjusting to the drastic lifestyle shift that is motherhood.
But what if we decided to secure our own oxygen masks before assisting small children or others who may need our help? What if we became intentional around caring for ourselves as well as we care for those who depend on us? What if SHE came before WE?
I used to think I was practicing self-care because I got pedicures pretty regularly and took the time to grab a message every few months (lovingly booked by my husband most of the time). But an intentional practice is so much more than this. As someone with a professional background in the health care industry, I know self-care is key for health promotion and disease prevention, and that it is an integral part of primary health care (despite being under emphasized in this era of high medical technology). But I know it is also centered in mindfulness, intentionality, and filling your soul with what bring you alive. Self-care can be assessable to all of us, and I have learned that we really cannot afford to not prioritize ourselves or our well being. Self-care is healthcare, and should be treated as such.
As modern mothers, we face challenges around time and guilt and exhaustion and loss of self, among many other things. Mothers of color face additional challenges that are even more complex, ranging from an array of social and economic issues to systemic racism. Historically, we have been taught to put the needs of our partner and children ahead of our own. I say all the more reason to become intentional and regular in our self-care practice and routine. We must make a commitment to radical self-care. If we don’t nurture our and prioritize our well being, what good are we to ourselves and those who depend on us?
Motherhood is one of my life’s greatest blessings and challenges, and I am grateful for my men (both big and small) every single day. But as women with children and families, we are SO many things beyond mothers, wives and caregivers.
The truth is that I am not a guru – I am just like you! I will not preach on what I deem to be fact, but will instead offer what I am learning, how I am growing, and the challenges I’m sure to face along this journey. I plan to grow exponentially into my womanhood, motherhood, in marriage and in community. So many of us have trouble understanding the necessity of practicing radical self-care and keeping it at the forefront of our lives. Let’s change that. Per Audre Lorde, let’s start a revolution.
In the creation of this platform, I hope to fully embrace who I am becoming while keeping myself accountable, and to encourage you to do the same. As modern mothers of color, we are dynamic and multifaceted, and we should build meaningful connections that are representative of our diversity and differences, and ultimately bring us together. We deserve a safe space in which to practice loving ourselves and uplifting each other. We deserve to live our lives intentionally, and to fill our souls with all of the things that make us whole and content.
One day, in the near future, let’s look over our shoulder at a former version of ourselves, and say “Wow, I’ve come a long way”. Let’s make progress together, stay encouraged together, and keep each other accountable throughout our self-care journeys.
Here, self-care is so much more than a buzz word. It’s our new way of life.
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare" - Audre Lorde