Being a mother is an all-encompassing job. Our children’s needs can be so overwhelming that we have little or no time to think about ourselves. For short periods of time, this can work, but constantly giving without ever looking after yourself, is not good for you, nor your children.
Meirav * was a mother of 3 small children. She spent all her day looking after them and one of them always seemed to be up in the night. She rarely had a moment to herself. Being a full time mother wasn’t exactly what she had imagined. She’d envisioned baking with her children and having the best fun playing with them. Her reality wasn’t exactly like this as she couldn’t bear the mess they made in the kitchen and didn’t have the patience to play the same games over and over again. But what bothered her most was the sibling rivalry and the constant fighting. Why couldn’t they all just get on? She was always exhausted and found herself shouting at her children. Meirav couldn’t get out of this vicious cycle and so she gave me a call.
When Meirav came to see me for the first time she found it so strange to actually have an hour to herself without her kids. She was feeling very tearful, overwhelmed and disappointed in herself as a mother. We began to explore what being a mother meant to her. For Meirav, it was to love her children and enjoy being with them. Unfortunately because she was so exhausted and overwhelmed she wasn’t really enjoying being with them. She even worried that she was damaging their relationship. We discussed how a mother is the central person in the home and when she is being neglected then everyone else at home suffers. Yet Meirav couldn’t see who was neglecting her. So, we examined her routines and special activities over the previous two years. I asked her to think carefully about that period and to tell me all the things she had done just for herself. Meirav began to realize that she could not even remember when the last time that she had done something for herself. And only then did it hit her. Meirav was the one neglecting herself.
We continued working together. Meirav began to realize that to be a good mother, she also needed to look after herself. She found a babysitter who would watch the children twice a week. During this time, I set her tasks, requiring her to do activities just for herself. Meirav found this challenging, so we made a list and agreed upon the things she should do in her ‘free time’. They weren’t big things, but they were things that made her feel good, like reading a good book or going for a walk or a coffee with a friend. We still had other parenting issues to work on, such as the sibling rivalry (which I will write about in the future), yet, by having this time to herself, Meirav was now able to have more patience for her children and enjoyed being with them more.
If you, like Meirav, are feeling overwhelmed and would like to learn tools on how to deal with the stresses that life throws at us, then call me Helen Abelesz, Life Coach, for a free first consultation, 054 482 9815. If you have an issue you would like to me to write about, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
* Not her real name and all identifying features have been changed.