Why Putting Yourself Matters…
Selfish. Never has a word been so misunderstood. Never has a concept received such bad press. Never has an idea ignited so much guilt… particularly when it comes to our lifestyles and the way we rear our spring chickens. Some days it seems that us mums are damned if we do and damned if we don’t; subject to the perpetual approval, and more often than not, the disapproval of others.
I was inspired to write this article after reading a friend’s post on a mummy blog about the outburst of criticism she received simply for living her life her way. This friend is a gal who stands out from the crowd; a lady who shuns conformity, and a total inspiration to others. She climbed Kilimanjaro while pregnant! Not everyone thought that was such a wise idea, and boy did they like to tell her about it then, just as they still do now.
Whilst a mountain hike with a bun in the oven may seem a little extreme, if we, as women, want to reach new heights, then why in the flippin’ heck should we not? (As a side note, I really should add that this Super Woman wasn’t expecting at the time of committing to the expedition and was only in her first trimester. She had also received thorough check ups, took the climb a little easier than others, and had complete medical back up!)
It’s time we re-defined Selfish.
Putting ourselves first means caring only about what we think, making our own path and following that blissful trail… regardless. There are so many conflicting opinions out there anyway, we are never going to please all of the people all of the time! Nothing is more important than remaining true to ourselves. Our dreams shouldn’t die just because we have given birth. So quite frankly, it’s time we threw out that idea alongside our babies’ pooey nappies!
Selfish is good, and Self-less is not all it’s cracked up to be…
Which completely defies the ‘logic’ we have been taught since many of our parents misinformed us that self-love should be conditional. How many of us have been brought up by mums and dads who have made us feel ever so slightly guilty for the sacrifices they made to get us through Uni, to pay for us to go to karate, and for ‘working all the hours God sends’ to save up for that much revered fortnight in the sun? This is not an attack on our folks though. They did their level best with the information they were handed down… and so it goes on. But had some of these parents of ours been enlightened enough to feel entitled to follow their dreams of turning the garden shed into a writer’s den, backpacking around Oz or learning to hang glide, you can bet your bottom dollar they wouldn’t have felt so bitter towards us as kids!
Think about it, you know it makes sense!
When we withhold ourselves from our ambitions and goals, what have we left to give? Resentment. Big doses, not-so-little doses… it’s all the same and it’s usually dressed up in the word ‘sacrifice’. We harp on about our easy lives pre-kids, the things we could do, the doors that were open to us, when in fact nothing has changed except for our warped perception. If it was on our Bucket List to visit all of the 50 states of America (or 51 if we’re including the potential Puerto Rico) on a tandem with our other half before the first twinges of labour… then it’s still on our Bucket List now. Sure, we may need to save up and get a bit more practical about childcare. We may not even be able to do the whole trip in one go as we’d originally planned. But we can make a slight detour and get back on track. This year Washington, two years’ time California. All it requires is a little thinking outside the box… but what having children definitely doesn’t need to mean is that we shut ourselves away in that cube of cardboard peering out with envy (and sarcasm) at those who continue to be themselves! This is why I applaud my courageous Facebook friend for going against the grain.
Because when we are Selfish, that’s when the magic happens.
We put our own happiness first. We become shining lights. We show our children that contrary to popular belief, life isn’t full of limitations the minute we hand back the gas and air and trade in the Friday night cocktail bar for three hours of broken sleep and a colicky baby. We are never too old to take up ballet. We are never too ‘past it’ to study law. And we are definitely never too long in the tooth to become a still life model at the local art class. In short, if it floats our boat, we should be out there doing it. Or at the very least, making plans to!
We are responsible for raising the next generation!
There is no greater job. So let’s do it with aplomb. Let’s do it with style. And above all, let’s do it with a smile on our faces because we still honour our dreams. What a paradigm shift that kind of attitude will bring to our babies. Selfish mums are best. And children learn through example. Want them to break the mould and achieve their heart’s desires? Then inspire them and start living your own!