Let’s look at it head-on ladies, the word we moms fear most:
Mothers are giving. Mothers are selfless. Mothers do everything for their children.
Mothers are overwhelmed. Mothers are frantic. Mothers are burnt out and fried from doing everything for their children and forgetting about themselves.
So many working moms try to be that perfect mother (which has never really existed). They forget what they need and leave themselves empty, with nothing left to give until something in their life truly has to break.
It does not have to be that way.
I believe the things you do for yourself actually allow you to give more to your kids.
Taking care of your health, your confidence, and your spirit will make you a better mom, a better real estate broker, and a happier person.
So why is it so hard for us?
Are You Neglecting Yourself?
Do you feel anxious, frantic, alone, like you’re the only one who cares, like no one ever helps you, and no one appreciates you?
You might be wondering if it’s depression. It might just be self-neglect.
I’ve been there. Here’s how I climbed out of it.
When to Take Care of Yourself
Everybody has the thing that helps them feel like they’re winning at life. I get up at 5 a.m., and honestly, it is everything. That’s my thing.
If you get up before your kids and establish a morning routine of self-care, you’ll feel like a rock star mom for the rest of the day. For me, that’s been the only way to do all those things that I know are good for me, but are so easy to let slip until it becomes a crisis.
My business coach said to me: “If you were the best in the world at what you do, how would you treat yourself in the morning? How would you take care of yourself?”
I think that’s a really great way to think about it.
A Mom’s Guide to Physical Health
How you feel every day for your kids can so often be traced back to whether you’re moving your body and what kind of fuel you’re putting into it. Parenting is so, so tough that it can be easy to let these non-screaming things slide. You have to decide to put as much emphasis on your own health as that of your kids’. In fact, you are their biggest influence in this arena, so how you take care of yourself really matters for how they grow up to take care of themselves.
The easiest way to get a workout in is of course to have someone watch your children while you do it. But there are a lot of ways to be active without childcare. Some gyms either allow your child to be in the room or offer daycare. You could use a jogging stroller or do an exercise video in your apartment. Be the creative mom you are. You have to break the seal and make it work for your life.
Find someone who’s going to hold you accountable. If your partner understands and helps arrange for you to get up without worrying about the kids first thing, that’s definitely a plus.
Add some movement to your social life. You’re only as good as the average of your friends, so pick friends who want to be active with you.
It really hard to start if you’ve been neglecting this area of your life, but just find a way to get through the first two weeks, and it will start to get easier.
A Mom’s Guide to Mental Health
To me, the biggest service I do for my brain is meditation. I’ve only been doing it for about a year, but it’s changed so much for me. If you feel scattered and stressed, just 15 minutes of meditation can make a real difference.
I used to just get up and go out to face whatever the day had to offer. Now I strengthen my focus and intention first, so that whatever is waiting for me is easier to handle.
I do Tony Robbins’ recommended 90 deep breaths, and I push thoughts out to focus.
Then I do a manifesting exercise. I pick three things I want to accomplish and basically focus on how to make sure they happen. I pick three big things, then three financial goals.
Here are some other important considerations for your mental health:
- If you’ve had an extended bout of what you think might be depression, consider talking to a therapist.
- If you’re letting those thoughts of one last mind-numbing show take over another hour of sleep you really need to get, mommy needs to turn off the tv and get a bedtime, too.
- Keep in touch with your friends. You need adult conversation time to feel human again.
- Keep a check on your relationships. Stay away from toxic people in your home and your business.
A Mom’s Guide to Confidence
If you had an office, you’d paint it a lovely color, put a flower vase in the foyer, and give your clients a soft place to sit. As a real estate broker, you are your office. How you put together your look sends a message about your business.
When we think about appearance, think about the things that give you confidence. What most people take as vain luxuries are business investments when you’re in such a face-to-face world as we are. Try it for a month and see how it feels to have a manicure, hair routine, and clothes you feel good in.
This doesn’t have to take a ton of time. With clothes, five killer outfits are better than a walk-in closet full of stuff you half-like. Many stores offer free shopping services, or you could use one of the styling delivery services, such as Stitch Fix.
The most important thing is that you feel like you look your best. That’s what will give you confidence.
What Stops Moms From Taking Care of Themselves
Ego or Overattachment
As mothers, we all have this happen to us when we have new babies. We’re totally attached. We don’t want to spend any time away from them. It’s easy to become controlling because your ego is so wrapped up in your child. You need to figure out how to trust someone else to be there for your kiddo, so you can take some time to be there for yourself.
A lot of times moms stop working and then feel like they can’t spend money on themselves, especially the money is technically coming from a partner’s paycheck. Remember that mothering is a value-creating part of the partnership. That money wouldn’t be made without you.
I recently heard a story about a couple where the wife passed away, and the father had to hire a full-time person to do all the scheduling and logistics, for an eye-popping salary. The job that the mom has is a full-on real job. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, making sure they’re emotionally stimulated, it’s more than full-time.
If you pay someone to do what a mom does, it’s more than $100,000 a year.
The reason some women neglect themselves is that they feel guilty they have to outsource any of it. If you don’t outsource some of it, you can’t do the things that are most important to do, including starting a real estate business.
Setting Yourself Up for Self-Care
Self-care does not happen spontaneously. It must be planned.
In the evening, set your clock so that you basically have a bedtime clock. Give yourself an hour to wind down. I try to get in bed as soon as possible and stay off my phone.
In Case of Emergency, You’ll Find Yourself Screaming at Your Family
Sometimes it really all comes to a head in tears, yours or that of your family. At the end of your rope is no place to be wishy-washy. It’s time for a serious plan.
If you feel neglected, here’s what to do:
Communicate exactly how you feel. Tell the people who love you how your life feels right now, and let them know you need a change. Sometimes you feel like you’re floundering and you feel like no one really cares. But really, that’s just you.
Figure out who can help and ask for it. If that person won’t else or can’t help, get someone else, even if you have to pay for it. If you have children who can help, be very clear about what you expect for them. Don’t just say, “I want you to help around the house.” With a nanny, ask them to do specific things and give them positive reinforcement when they are being wonderful and helping you feel your best. When they don’t do that and they don’t follow-through, you have to make sure they know why it’s important.
Put systems in place. Use a calendar, a to-do list, a chart, whatever you have to do to both design a system and share that system with the people involved in your life. Your home admin organizational structure needs to be known and agreed upon by everyone. As your kids get older, you can have a family meeting. Whatever you do set up, you need to make sure there’s follow-through. If there’s no follow-through, it doesn’t matter. It’s good for you, good for your kids, and good for a family as a whole.
A woman who is well cared for by herself is a statement to all of womankind. You’re modeling how a woman can be for daughters, young women, and any woman letting herself gasp for breath without grabbing on to the oxygen mask she deserves.
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One comment on “Putting Your Own Oxygen Mask on First”
Thanks for this article. It’s so me, I just started real estate a year ago and still trying to find that balance with two kids of my own and then my aunty passed away and I took in her two kids. Now I have more responsibilities and not much space at home, it’s a lot and I need to take better care of myself. I love the article and I will do better for me.