Brene Brown said it: “You can only love your child as much as you love yourself”
Whether you’re a mother or not, that statement is a hard one to swallow.
Because most of us know that the love we want to give to our children is far more than the love we give to ourselves.
And it’s really no surprise. Because most of us have not been brought up to recognise the power and importance of self-love, even less so when we become parents.
As mothers we are hard-wired to believe that to be a 'good' mother we should think only of our children. That we shouldn’t need to practice self-love, that we shouldn’t need anything more than the fulfilment of being a mother. Our families come first and our role as mother should be all the fulfilment we need.
But that couldn't be further from the truth.
A mother who doesn’t feed herself up on love and who doesn’t practice powerful self-care, isn’t some kind of dream mum. She is a mother on a short fuse, a mother who will get easily frustrated and secretly resentful at the demands of her family, a mother who will burn out on a regular basis and have little to give at the end of the day, to herself, her partner or even her kids.
Neglecting her own needs so that she can focus on the needs of her children, sacrificing her own happiness so that she can be the ‘good’ mother, doesn’t work.
What works is learning to love yourself. To take that delicious and abundant love that you pour into your children and turn it in on yourself too.
Because a mother who looks after herself and her needs, who nourishes herself, who takes care of herself and who feeds herself with love, is a mother who is happy.
And a mother who is happy, creates a happy and healthy home for the rest of her family.
Self-love is this mother's power.
She knows that when she is practicing self-love and self-care, she is filled up and has plenty of time and energy to give to her family. She knows that when she is taking care of her own needs she is much better at recognising and taking care of the needs of those she loves. And above all, she knows that when she is practicing self-love, she is showing her children how to do it too. And that is the greatest gift you can give to any child, because it is the key to a happy and fulfilled life.
So practicing self-love and deep self-care when you are a mother, isn’t just a nice-to-have and it certainly isn’t self-indulgent. Quite the opposite. Learning to love yourself as a mother is the best thing you could possibly do for you and your family.
So how do you do it? How do you learn to love yourself?
Well, at Project Love, we get people started on what we call ‘Daily Acts of Love’: doing just one conscious, loving thing for yourself each day.
It could be making sure you feed yourself with a nourishing breakfast as well as the kids, treating yourself to a soak in the bath at the end of the day, buying yourself a bunch of flowers.
Just doing that one loving thing for yourself each day makes ALL the difference. Because with each act of love, you are giving yourself the message that ‘I matter, I care, I am loved’. And that alone can change everything.
It really is that simple and that powerful.
Which is why we have launched #28DaysofLove2016 - a free self-love campaign that gets you into the habit of doing one loving thing for yourself every day and discovering just what a difference it makes when you start to do that.
It kicks off this Sunday and we want to invite mums everywhere to join in.
So pop your email below, send this post around amongst the mamas that you know and let's start teaching our kids how self-loving is done!
(Co-founder of Project Love and mama to little Sammy)
You can also grab your free Self Love for Busy Women audio workshop here.