By Jane Kingsu-Cheng
We’ve all had burnouts at some point in our lives. Frustrations come in the form of silent cries in the shower while family members keep asking for help, and panic attacks in the car in between the kids’ pick-ups. Signs can also subtly crawl in our lives through scenarios such as wearing the wrong pair of shoes out, or forgetting your house keys or mobile phone as you leave home. All these (and more) are reminders that you need to slow down and take care of yourself.
But what will the others think of me? I’ll be a bad mother in their eyes.
Mom guilt comes in, and you push your self-interests aside.
Let me say this to you, from one mother to another. You are not a bad mom. In reality, self-care is very important. Remember the Filipino saying goes, “Ang nanay ay ilaw ng tahanan?” But how do you shine and radiate if you don’t have it in you to do so? How can one give when there’s nothing to give? How can we pass on positive energy when all we feel is hopelessness?
To be honest, I’ve met quite a few mothers who don’t even know where to start. They know they need to take care of themselves, but they’ve pushed this back in their priority list that they have forgotten how.
So this is our gift to all of you moms this Mother’s Day. Together with my first reminder (read the very first tip), I asked our columnists and writers to share self-care tips they live by. If they can do it, so can you.
We know we’re our own worst critic, and it can be toxic to keep on blaming ourselves for something that’s already done. This could range from not cooking on time to forgetting your child’s moving up day (Yes! This happened to me for my son’s pre-Kindergarten graduation).
What one should do in times like these is to acknowledge what happened, apologize for the mistake (if you’ve hurt someone), learn from the experience and move on. No one is perfect, so we have to cut ourselves some slack. We are all in the same journey of learning who we are, and that includes correcting the errors that we’ve made.
So, please, forgive yourself. We all make mistakes; what’s important is that we remember to learn from the experience and become a better person.
For me, the best form of self-care is taking proper care of your body through regular exercise and knowledgeable food choices. Not only are you proactively nurturing your health, but you get endorphins which boost your mood. Everyone benefits from a happy and healthy mama.
-Amanda Griffin Jacob, Glam-O-Mamas Founder, amandagriffinjacob.com
MAKE TIME FOR PROPER SLEEP
Being a new mother changes us. Our brains and hormones wired us in a way that we become attached, alert and a bit anxious to get everything done in our household. Before we know it, days become nights and nights become days. We’ve become a mommy zombie. If pushed further, become at risk for post-partum depression. Create protected time for your sleep! Two hours prior your sleeping time, avoid caffeine and blue light from gadgets. Use aromatherapy and essential oils to set the sleeping mood as those scents can help you relax. Sleep in a dark room with a nice cool temperature. Lastly, ask for help and gladly accept help from relatives or friends, so you can have proper sleep and rest. It is true that it takes a village to raise a child. Your baby will appreciate it.
-Dr. Celeste Gomez-Timoteo, Pediatricia
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SOUL
CS Lewis said, “You do not have a soul; you are a soul.”
By nature, many of us are inclined to attend to areas in our lives that are visible— our bodies, our work, our families, our home. These areas demand the most from us. If we do not take care of these aspects, we almost immediately see the results. The inner self, however, is not as demanding and as urgent as all these. It is very forgiving, allowing us to go ahead and start doing, even if we have not taken care of our being. It is only a matter of time, of course, before we realize we are running on empty.
What has kept me grounded and refreshed all these years is the daily soul care I set aside every morning before doing any work. As much as possible, I make it a daily practice to wake up before everyone else in the home to allow myself time to pray, read God’s Word, and make a list of things I am grateful for. Before I start taking care of the household, attending to the family, homeschooling, managing my birthing classes and doula responsibilities and doing ministry work. I try to align my thoughts to what is true, align my priorities to what really matters, align myself to my Maker.
At the end of our day and our lives, what would truly matter is the person we have become more than the things we have done.
— Samantha Rae Te-Sy, Childbirth Coach, Breastfeeding Counselor
It is easy to indulge in unhealthy food, especially when having pregnancy cravings. Try to keep such indulgences to a minimum and opt for healthier food choices instead. A nutritious diet during pregnancy will not only allow healthy weight gain for both mother and baby, but will also help prevent the feeling of sluggishness.
Make sure not to overeat. We all remember the saying that a pregnant woman should “eat for two,” it does NOT mean she needs to consume twice as much food as she normally eats. Only an additional 200 to 400 calories is required, depending on which trimester of pregnancy. It is important not to skip meals either. Remember, your body needs the extra calories for your growing baby. Lastly, drink lots of water to avoid dehydration which can also cause fatigue and headache.
— Dr. Myka Martinez, OB-Gyn.
FIND TIME FOR THE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO
Moms tend to put themselves last on the list, but we also need to care for ourselves- mind body and soul. So read, run, go to the salon, have a weekly massage, learn a new skill, excel at work, buy those shoes, go out with the girls and travel! All these will benefit both you and the family. It’s essential to have a life apart from the kids, find joy in the ordinary (make room for the extraordinary!), and have gratitude in our hearts. Happy moms are the best kind!
— Paulyne Fermin, Lawyer
LOOK YOUR BEST
Have you had days where you feel low or blah, and how a simple thing like a new haircut, having your nails done, wearing your favorite dress or killer heels instantly picks you up?
That’s the power of appearance.
How we look on the outside has an impact on how we feel in the inside. I always teach my clients that feeling good comes after looking good. It doesn’t matter what age, or shape, occupation, we all have our assets that we can focus on and play up.
If you’re always in a rush and don’t have time to blow dry your hair, try a wash-and-wear hairstyle, get color and highlights. For a quick magical transformation, make sure to have perfectly groomed eyebrows, lip, and cheek color.
If you don’t know what to wear, make sure to have your basics on-hand: a plain white shirt or polo that fits well, jeans or black pants, statement shoes or a fabulous bag.
The key is to always have something that would make you feel “extra” — in your eyes. Whatever sparks joy, go for it.
Look your best for you. Learn to love the one you see in the mirror. You just have to make time, no excuses. One small thing will do a world of wonders for you, and the people around you. Look good to feel good.
— Angel Llamanzares-Martinez, Style Coach