I’ll be the first to admit, I often suffer from Mammy Martyr Syndrome.
My friends will tell you, I find it very hard to put myself first, to think of my own needs as important – and certainly never more important than the kids’ needs or my husband’s needs.
Self care is a genuine struggle for me. I struggle with the guilt, the time missed, the imposition, the repercussions of me not being there.
I’m not sure where I picked up the attitude that my self-worth was completely tied up in my family. It’s like I only believed I was a good mother or wife when I was putting all of me into my family.
Somewhere along the line I put myself at the very bottom of the list, and it is only now that I am trying to claw my way back up.
I have finally come to the realisation that there are no benefits to me always putting myself last. It doesn’t benefit my children, it doesn’t benefit my husband and it certainly doesn’t hold any benefit for me.
I have started to place a value on myself and on time spent on myself.
I’m not talking about spa days or brunches. I am simply talking about doing things every day that are just for me.
I have taken time to read, to write, to explore my creative side as well as time to rest and to meditate – all to try to improve myself from the inside.
I have laid in my bed alone watching Netflix for hours drinking tea and eating copious amounts of chocolate.
I have hidden from my children and husband so that I can take a few deep breaths in peace, or scroll through my socials without being interrupted.
I’m well aware that this kind of self-care isn’t for everyone, but this is what works for me. It helps me to relieve myself of the symptoms of Mammy Martyr Syndrome for a short while at least.
Something I try to remember is that my harshest critic, my most critical judge is always going to be me.
Nobody else is watching.
Nobody is taking score!
Nobody comes along with a medal at the end of your life and says, “She did everything for those kids. She earned this.”
And if they did, what good would it be to you then?
There is no reward for Martyr Mammies.
There is no reward for the biggest self-sacrifice for your kids.
You need to reward yourself by looking after yourself, giving yourself grace and going gently.
So whatever self-care is for you, take the time to do it.
Also, when all this is over a spa day wouldn’t hurt!
Sinead is a mammy of four who started a blog in an effort to remind herself that she was a creative, outgoing individual before she became ‘mammy’, ‘mummy’, ‘mama’ or ‘wife’ – depending on which of her brood was calling. Over the last year she has posted about her own motherhood journey as well as her ‘Lockdown Diaries’, some reflective pieces about motherhood and woman hood and a few book reviews for good measure!