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Self love is hard.
I’m just going to start this article out by saying that I have not mastered self love by any means. Not even close! Self love is simply the ability to love yourself and to make sure that you take care of yourself enough to keep your sanity. Everyone has heard the saying “you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.” I do believe this to be true but I never acted on it until I had a baby.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my little boy for anything but I went through some major changes after becoming a mom. Before I was pregnant I exercised twice a day, every morning and night. I went to classes, I taught classes, I did it all. Probably the most important point to make is that I wasn’t always like that. It took a lot of work for that to be my normal routine. I wasn’t in shape or athletic my entire childhood. Every year I made the same resolution to lose weight. So cliche, right? One year I actually stuck to it though. I lost almost 70 pounds! I had never felt better.
During my pregnancy I still exercised twice a day up until a month before I was due. Let me just tell you that I currently could not do a fraction of what I was doing then! I didn’t gain my weight during my pregnancy. In fact, 2 weeks after giving birth I was in my pre-pregnancy jeans. The funny thing is if you sit at home with your baby and just stare at his cuteness everyday for weeks you gain weight, lots of it! That’s what I did. I didn’t exercise anymore and breastfeeding made me more hungry than pregnancy ever did. So…fast forward 3 years and 70 pounds later and here we are. Self love is hard!
I do not love the way my body looks, the way my body feels, or the constant fear that my son is going to end up falling into these same bad habits too. It’s all terrible. I DO, however, love the reason I gained weight. I wouldn’t trade those times with my little boy for anything and if I’m ever blessed enough to do it all again I’ll do the same thing, except with a few more walks! I can’t change the past but I can work on the future. I had the right mindset to lose weight before and I’m really hoping that I’ll find that mindset again.
Over time, I’ve been able to understand that self love isn’t all about body image. If body image is important to you then there is no doubt that body image will be a part of your self love journey. But only a PART! Self love is so much more. Self love is taking care of your mental health just as much as your physical health. Here are some of the non-physical changes that I’m trying to make:
1. Limit mom guilt. Every time I have to go to work I feel an extreme amount of guilt for leaving. Especially on the days where he doesn’t want Mommy to go but there is no shame in working hard for your family. I’m really working on not feeling the guilt and I know one day he will understand. For now, I will cherish every single minute that I can with him!
2. Stop caring so much about what others think. My whole life I have cared about what others thought about me, even more than what I have thought about myself. This is SO hard to stop but I’m trying. What other people think of you is none of your business! Find your tribe of people and they will love you for exactly who you are!
3. Take time for myself. This also ties into number one. I LOVE going to training to better myself and to learn everything I possibly can about the business that I run. However, the mom guilt hits hard when I leave to do those things. I honestly believe that EVERY mom needs to take time for themselves. It doesn’t need to be a trip away (those are good too, though!) but just find some time each week to focus on yourself. I am perfectly fine just sitting in silence for a while!
I’m sure there are many more things but these few are enough to focus on right now. I encourage you to find your focus as well and to start your journey to self love. You will thank yourself for it and your family and friends will thank you too!