Guess what mama? You matter. You matter because before you had kids, you took time for yourself. Before you got married, you loved yourself the most. Before you began to take care of everyone else, you took care of yourself. Why the change?
Sure, I get it. Children are demanding and have an amazing ability to command attention and get their needs met no matter how big or small. Keeping house is a never ending task that feeds into our stress level and itches in the back of our brain. Maintaining work deadlines and friendships and relationships with family members can feel overbearing and burdensome.
But I am here to tell you to stop. To stop taking it all on and spreading yourself thin. Because YOU MATTER TOO.
That old saying that goes "you can't pour from an empty cup" is spot on. If you are constantly giving and giving, you are likely to burn yourself out. Resentment can arise, you may be getting sick more frequently, and your needs are getting put on the wayside. Your amazing ability to think of others before yourself may actually be hurting you.
How can you say "no" without losing your altruistic nature or keep your environment from crumbling?
In order to say "no" or put up boundaries with others, including our own children, we first need to examine our drive for pleasing others. Take some time to review why you jump at certain requests. Why you are fearful of someone being upset with you or someone else. Why you avoid conflict, or why you'll just "do it yourself".
Many times it has to do with our upbringing. You may have had an unstable household so maintaining order and consistency within your life brings peace and a sense of control. What if you had unpredictable parents growing up; if you were not sure what mood you were walking into and were frequently on eggshells with caregivers, it can be normal not to want to rock the boat with others, even as an adult. Maybe your struggling with your own mental health challenges and it may be difficult for you to to manage not only your own, but your children's emotions too. So you often give into their requests because that is all you can handle in that moment.
Once you're able to better understand this reason, you then need to give yourself permission to matter and put yourself first. Yup. I am here to repeat over and over again that you matter too. You need to give to yourself and confidently say no to others. It is vital to your own well being but also extremely vital to your children's. If you wont do it for yourself (which I'll still keep trying to change your mind) do it for the KIDS! Seriously. Your children are watching you. By modeling that you have needs too, your kids are able to learn to be less egocentric, more patient, practice delayed gratification, and pick up on life skills such as I MATTER TOO. You know, because mama practiced it.
Stop jumping at every request as soon as it's asked. Say "I can't right now", "try it yourself", or "sorry, we wont make it to the holiday party this time. Have fun!". Then put your feet up and know life is still in motion. By incorporating time for yourself in front of your children, you are reflecting that your self care is just as valuable as your care for them.