As we enter into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I’m simultaneously excited and yet already exhausted. I love seeing the Christmas joy in my kids’ eyes, and yet I go bleary-eyed just thinking about the holiday to do’s. It can be hard to “just be” in the season, especially when it’s been hard to be in the year 2020. My remedy usually involves trying to stay up later, work harder, deny myself more, but you know what? It doesn’t work, at least not for long. I get tired, grow frustrated, and find myself becoming resentful. That is not a (Christmas cookie) recipe one wants to follow. So, this year I'm determined to un"mask" what I really need so I can have the strength to give to others.
When our kids fall down and hurt themselves, do we yell at them to stop bleeding? No, we pick them up, hug them, kiss the boo-boos, put theme-oriented bandaids on them, and pat them on their backs to get back at whatever they were up to before. Do I show this same care to myself? If I’m honest, the inner critic in me shouts at my “scraped knee” failures with frustration more than it embraces them with tenderness and compassion.
But then another voice enters my head, that of my children’s pediatrician who has long been an esteemed mentor of mine. I hear her say empathetically, “An empty pitcher cannot a cup of water fill.”
I hear her say empathetically, “An empty pitcher cannot a cup of water fill.”
She spoke these words to me as I coped with postpartum anxiety following the birth of my first child, as I learned to navigate life with Irish twins, as I welcomed my third baby at the beginning of the pandemic, and now as I mourn my father’s recent death while I’m pregnant with my fourth child. Every child I've had has meant more pouring out, and by necessity, it has meant more pouring in. Slowly, I’m learning that if I’m going to be the mother I want to be for my kids, I need to be the “me” I need to be my best self.
Every child I've had has meant more pouring out, and by necessity, it has meant more pouring in. Slowly, I’m learning that if I’m going to be the mother I want to be for my kids, I need to be the “me” I need to be my best self.
I want to be kind to myself, not to indulge in self-love for the sake of self-love, but so I can be kind to others. Being kind to myself is therefore a way to be kind to others. Another voice I hear to help me think like this? Flight attendants. It’s my favorite part of flying when I hear their voices say, “Please put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else.” So however this season -- or this crazy year -- has shaped up for you, would you join the Primerrily Crew by finishing strong by finishing with gentleness? “Strength” and “Gentleness” sound like opposites, but they go together like chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream. Like kisses on a boo-boo, a little gentleness on a worn-out mama enables her to keep carrying the mantle of motherhood with stronger shoulders and heart.
Join the Primerrily Crew by finishing strong by finishing with gentleness
Trust me, I understand; it’s hard to practice self-care in a world full of cares and people clamoring for your attention -- your kids, your in-laws, your boss, your spouse. A spa day would be nice, but even if that’s out of the question due to schedules, finances, or COVID, we can still start somewhere. Let’s get creative and start pouring into our pitchers in simple ways.
To help you begin, here’s how we’re un“masking” our need for self-care. We recommend sharing one of these affordable rituals with your mother, daughter, or close friend. They also make great gifts for the stocking … or a faraway friend’s mailbox!