Are you a high functioning mother?

We’ve all been there, knee-deep in the murky waters of motherhood, desperately trying to live up to family and societal expectations. Then one day you look in the mirror and wonder who the hell is staring back at you.

Is it time to take your self care more seriously?

Recently, the Huffington Post shared a story all about self care during Motherhood. I stumbled across the article while I was doing my regular Facebook scroll and noticed it had been shared by The Gidget Foundation.

As mothers we have a tendency to put ourselves last because that’s what good mothers do, right? We pass on those lovely shoes we long for because our child needs another shirt he’ll only wear once and then grow out of. We put off going to the gym, because the limited time we do have we feel should be spent with our kids. We skip the meditation time that we so desperately need to recalibrate in favour of folding the washing while the baby sleeps. We eat standing in the kitchen because we haven’t left enough time for us to sit down and enjoy a meal, we forego washing our hair as much as we’d like (gross, but true), and we fill our schedules with activities, playdates, and the like—all for our kids.

In one article, this type of woman has been referred to as a “high functioning mother“. We get labelled with this because we have to adapt quickly to serious levels of pressure and strain put on the mind and body due to juggling multiple roles all at once (mother, wife, employee, daughter, community member etc). And while many of these “high-functioning mothers”, myself included, understand the importance of self-care, many women in the study reported having difficulty practising self-care.

There are several reasons why we do this. First off, we love our children immensely, so putting them at the top of our priority list is only natural. Secondly, we are bombarded with social media’s perfectly annoying Pinterest moms and articles on how women need to endlessly lean in. We are expected to do it all. What happens when you lean so far in, you tumble? In our quest to fulfil this unrealistic status quo, we’ve left someone far behind—ourselves.

Once you realise there’s a problem, the only person who can fix it is you. So, that’s exactly what I am now actively doing. The motivation behind self-care needs to extend beyond our own in-the-moment happiness. instead, we need to understand that our self-care impacts the lives of those around us in innumerable positive ways. From a macro perspective, self-care reaches beyond the individual to impact our kids, our family, and even further to our communities, neighbourhoods, our nation, and, ultimately, the world.

Defining self care can be tricky, and I realise if you don’t have a strong close by family support system, spouse or partner, making all these changes can be difficult, if not impossible. But if you look at it through the lens of defining self-care as the practice of taking an active role in protecting our own well-being, pursuing happiness, and having the ability, tools, and resources to respond to periods of stress so that they don’t result in imbalance and lead to a health crisis, things feel a lot less overwhelming.

 

And now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway lesson from this story? Are you a “high functioning mother”?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, leave a comment below right now.

Laura Ruston

Mum to Harvey. Wife to Dave. Founder of MUMOKI. Art lover, design obsessed, lipstick hoarder.