I watched a video clip of Jada Pinkett Smith having a roundtable discussion with her daughter and her mother. Watching the dialogue between these three generations of women was awesome in itself but what stuck with me the most was Jada's response to her daughter's question about being a wife and a mother. In a nutshell, she talked about the importance of taking care of yourself, first! I have heard this several times before but this was a much needed reminder for me. With the non-stop demands of life, it is really easy to lose sight of yourself. When was the last time you did something for you? When was the last time you set some personal goals? When was the last time you actually pursued the goals you set?
This post is not to say that men don't need to practice self-care (because they do) but I believe women are most often the ones sacrificing themselves for their families. As Jada states in the video, it's the messenging that society gives to us as women that makes us feel like we are "bad" if we don't give up everything to make our husbands and children happy. There's a lot of pressure on us! We must beware of such messaging because it can ultimately lead to unfulfillment and regret. I have heard several stories of women who reached a point in their lives where they realized they had raised their children and served their husbands but had not done anything for themselves. How disheartening is that? This can easily become you and I if we don't make our own dreams, goals, and aspirations a priority.
We as wives and mommies must learn to balance taking care of others and taking care of ourselves. Not only this but we must learn not to feel guilty when we do something good for ourselves. I remember when I first had my son, I would literally feel guilty if I went into a store and wanted to buy something for myself! I would immediately think about all of the stuff I could buy for him (but he didn't really need...lol). It took me a long time to buy myself something without buying him something as well. Honestly, I still do it sometimes. Jada said it well, "When we neglect our own happiness, we start to look for our happiness in others." How often do we look to our spouses and children to make us happy? How often to be get angry and frustrated because they can't fill our void? The reality is that we are responsible for our own happiness.
I encourage you to take your dreams off the shelf, dust them off, and pursue them! You can be a good mother and wife and still have your own personal fulfillment. Learn to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. What makes you feel good? Read a book, get a pedicure, join a gym, go back to school...heck, start a blog! Do something for you! Again, you can not care for others (and be fulfilled) until you first take care of yourself. Doing this will make you a better wife, a better mother, a better YOU!
Jada Pinkett-Smith: Take Care of You, First!