While the fuss seems to be about what others can do for Mom this Sunday, it’s good to ask yourselves, fellow Mamas, what can we do for ourselves to improve our wellness in the year ahead? In this article, there are five important ways shown that can permit mothers to change their lives for the better not just on Mother’s Day, but all year long.
These easy changes to try in your life are outlined below:
- Find your “mother within.”
- Set aside a day just for you.
- Get more involved in your community.
- Embrace that you are one of the two most important role models for your children, every day, all day long.
- Stop procrastinating and incorporate self-care into your life. Try yoga. Or meditation. Or make time for at least 20 minutes of exercise every day.
How to practice self-care
In her article in June 2010 Psychology Today, Christine Meinecke, Ph.D. wrote:
“Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. Also essential to self-care is learning to self-soothe or calm our physical and emotional distress. Remember your mother teaching you to blow on the scrape on your knee? This was an early lesson in self-soothing but the majority of adults haven’t the foggiest notion how to constructively soothe themselves.”
In this list, ideas range from things you can do at home to going to community events, such as a free May 18 workshop offered by Project WISE and sponsored by the CHIP program of Children’s Hospital of Colorado, to “find a mother within yourself.” The first step, though, is to celebrate yourself as a woman not just today, but everyday.
Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees
First, you can find your “mother within” and celebrate her.
“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Actress Rebecca Gayheart with her child on April 27
Set aside a day just for you.
On Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can participate in a free community workshop, Revealing Who I am to Myself and to the World. Project WISE Women’s Leadership Program and Children’s Hospital Colorado Immunodeficiency Program (CHIP) are hosting a full-day workshop on self-exploration, connection building and leadership development. This year the annual event is sponsored by CHIP. It is open to all women facing economic challenges.
Participants will discover who they are as women and celebrate their individuality in an annual Women’s Leadership Training Academy. The free workshop, formulated using an evidence-based model of the Stone Centers at Wellesley’s empowerment practice of counseling, will explore how who women are in relationships with others and in world helps women to grow. Topics will include celebrating one’s accomplishments, as well as how to get more involved in the community or volunteer.
Free parking is available, along with free lunch and free child care for kids ages 1 to 12, with a reservation. A space can be reserved this week by calling 303-765-5879 or visiting the website of Project WISE.
The workshop will be held in the 2nd Floor Conference Center of the Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Get more involved in your community.
Carol Gilligan’s research has had tremendous impact on the new perspectives of the psychological development of women and how it is different from the development of men. Gilligan’s work in 1982, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, suggests that women’s sense of self and of morality revolves around issues of responsibility for, care of, and inclusion of other people. This perspective is rooted in the experience and construction of the female self. A woman’s sense of self becomes very much organized around being able to make and then to maintain affiliation and relationships. Thus for women, the primary experience of self is relational. Gilligan has written of the importance of women finding their own voice in order to describe “ourselves to ourselves” and has indicated that women’s experiences of connectedness to others leads to enlarged conceptions of self and morality.
After psychologist Carol Gilligan completed In a Different Voicein 1982, female moral theorists embraced the view of an ethic of care. Gilligan’s work focused on the voices of women silenced for centuries by the voices and experiences of men (Gilligan 173). Throughout history, women have traditionally been the primary caretakers of children, the elderly, and the sick and through the exploration of care ethics, the intense level of care necessary to sustaining society in its present state was realized. This fact had not been addressed in dominant masculine moral theories that stressed autonomy and fairness.
In her research paper, “An ethic of care and motherhood,” Rebecca Walsh interestingly remarks:
“…the dilemma represented in The Unnatural Mother by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The traditional script of feminine caring generally tends to favor and reinforce how women have historically given good care, seeing their care giving abilities as natural. Gilman’s story is situated in a small mill village built compactly along the border of the Rhine. The dam of the reservoir located above the village is about to break. The character Esther Greenwood is the first to come upon the potential disaster, as the dam is giving way. It is Esther’s responsibility to inform the people in the village below of the oncoming destruction, however, it is also Esther’s responsibility to save her only child from the tidal wave. Her child lies sleeping upstairs in their home, on the hillside, a location closer in proximity to Esther than the villagers. The situation does not allow time for Esther to retrieve her child and continue down the hill to warn the others. Esther chooses not to stop for her child, instead she makes her first priority the people in the village.
Because of her quick action, Esther is able to save the people in the village as well as the people located in the three surrounding villages. Although Esther saves the lives of hundreds, she is a condemned heroine by some of the women in the village.”
The research, therefore, suggests that it may be as nurturing to mothers’ sense of self to give back to the community — to have a larger impact — as it is to be a devoted mother to her own children.
“Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony, but also require it’s social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Accept your responsibility as a woman leader
Embrace that you are one of the most important role models for your children, every day, all day long.
A singular organization to get mothers brainstorming about how they can impact their community, Idealist connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.
Idealist is independent of any government, political ideology, or religious creed. Our work is guided by the common desire of our members and supporters to find practical solutions to social and environmental problems, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect.
Pictured here is author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem participating in a roundtable discussion during the Women In Public Service event at the Department of State December 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. According to the State Department, the project works with the Seven Sisters Colleges of Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Wellesley College “to identify and educate a new generation of women committed to public service, create an infrastructure of support and mentoring, and help enable more women to enter public service and political leadership.”
The power of yoga
Stop procrastinating and incorporate self-care into your life. Try yoga. Or meditation. Or make time for at least 20 minutes of exercise every day.