Hey Mama, You Need to Take Care of You Like You Take Care of Your Kids

Hey mama,

I know it’s been a long day but I’ve gotta tell you something really important. There’s something you need to do, starting now, right away. I know you’ve already got a lot on your to-do list but this one, well this one’s really important. It might sound weird or hard or impossible at first but doing it is really, really important: You need to start taking care of yourself the way you take care of your kids.

I’ve seen how kind and gentle and tender you are with them, how you make sure they eat their veggies and get to bed on time, how you wipe their noses and kiss their boo-boos. But I’ve also seen how you struggle to take care of yourself. You run yourself ragged. You eat chicken nuggets standing up, you struggle, exhausted, each morning to get your wiped-out self out of bed and going again with a cup of coffee that just won't touch the sleep deprivation you’ve been racking up since your first baby got here.

I’ve also seen how hard on yourself you are. How you throw mental punches at yourself when you mess up the laundry or forget an appointment, how harshly you judge your still-new-feeling mom bod, how you judge your own parenting more harshly than that of anyone else you know. It's time, mama, to give yourself some of the love you pour into your babies every single day.

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Image via Unsplash/ JD Mason

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I know it feels impossible, but you need to take care of yourself with the same gentleness and tenderness you show your kids. How come it’s so easy to give kisses and hugs when their own frustration sends them into a tantrum but so easy to beat yourself up when your frustration leads to you be a little short-tempered or less available for your kids than you’d like to be?

Even though it sucks, and even though it’s hard, you need to work on being the loving parent to yourself that you are to your kids. Each time you feel the urge to skip a meal because your ‘too busy’ and your jeans are a little tight anyway, think about whether you’d let your kids skip a meal for the same reason. Each time you decide to stay up late to finish chores, knowing you’ll be exhausted in the morning, think about whether you’d let your kids do the same. Each time put off going to the doctor because it feels inconvenient and your family needs you at home, think about whether you’d let your kids skip a visit for the same reason.

It’s time, mama, to take care of yourself. Sure, you should take care of yourself because your family needs you and you can’t pour from an empty cup but, besides that, you need to take care of yourself with love because you deserve it.

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Hey Mama, You Need to Take Care of You Like You Take Care of Your Kids

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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