How often do you sit back after a long, hard week filled with mom duties, work responsibilities and family upkeep and say, “Girl, you killed it! You made those dinners like a pro. You got yourself and the kids up and out every day without a hitch! You dealt with a sick baby, a grumpy boss and still got yourself to the gym this week. You remembered to put the garbage out on time even though you barley slept! You finished that project when you said you would. You even sent a few nice text messages to your mom!“?
How often do you give yourself props for living life, for doing the basics? I start with these basic props because if you aren’t in the habit of patting yourself on the back for doing a good job at small things, I highly doubt that you ever give yourself permission to celebrate your big wins.
To most of us, doing the basics, seems more like givens than accomplishments. To some extent I agree. When singled out, these small basic life things are givens. We don’t necessarily need to be rewarding ourselves for brushing our teeth or driving the speed limit. However, collectively, the list of basic life to-do’s and the culmination of responsibilities is actually more than enough for a little ‘I did well’ glass of wine or ‘I’m a bad b*#ch’ solo dance party.
Mom’s especially have a harder time accepting that everything we’re doing is enough. Why is this? Is it because the role of mom is just expected and taken for granted? Is it because as a society we’ve yet to call-out and acknowledge the dual-job that many women are preforming as mama and (insert any of the hundreds of other roles mamas play). Whatever it is, it’s stopped us from thinking that we’re allowed a ‘good job’.
Here are some ways I’ve started to celebrate myself:
- Working out: I have a goal to work out 3-5 times a week. Recently that’s been impossible because the other big-ticket items on my list are needing more attention. And what am I saying to myself? I’ve been saying… “I’m proud of you for taking time to understand where your energy level is and where you need to be putting the energy you do have”. During weeks that I make it to spin class or get out on walks, even if it’s just once or twice, I say, “Girl, you are on top of this shit… You’re putting your health first, like you said you would. Thank you.”
- Routines: I’ve been working on a night routine with my son. We get home, we play, we work, we eat and then we take a bath. Within a few hours after that we’ll go to bed. Let me tell you, running the bath, cleaning up the water on the floor and getting into bed at 9:00 p.m., when I want to be working or watching a show is harder than it would be if I just let my son do whatever and went to bed around midnight when he crashed. So, what do I tell myself? I say “You’ve figured out that routines help you and your son feel more secure and stable, even though it’s inconvenient, you’ve chosen to do the harder thing for a greater outcome. I’m really impressed with your dedication to this. I’m really proud of you for creating this stability and structure for Max.”
- Self-Discipline: When I’m able to get a sitter, it means that for at least a few hours I’ll have time to myself. I get to choose if I sleep, if I zone-out, if I work on my passion projects or if I work…. When you’re a stay at home single-mom, what you want to do when baby is gone, is sleep or veg-out and not use your brain. However, we all know that most of the time what needs to happen is the choirs, the errands and the work. It’s the tougher choice but getting out of the house and to the DMV, getting your car oil changed or finding the UPS to return Amazon purchases from a month ago, instead of laying on the couch watching the Kardashians, ends up feeling better later on. What do I say when I’ve won the couch or choirs argument? “You deserve to feel like you’re able to keep up with life and by spending that hour checking off stuff that needs to be done, you really helped yourself. You’re doing a great job at juggling life. Let’s order take-out tonight and spend those extra 30-minutes you saved by not cooking on the couch”.
It doesn’t hurt your motivation or your worth ethic to tell yourself that you’re doing good. Life is a collective bundle of basic tasks, responsibilities, roles and feelings that can take a lot out of us. Celebrate your wins- big, small and basic.