We are so excited to welcome Mandy Lanphere to the blog! She is an amazingly talented mama and one of the most bad ass women we know! Today she shares why selfish is the new selfless. She discusses the importance taking care of YOU and some ways that you can make yourself a priority in the midst of motherhood madness.
Motherhood. Selflessness. It seems those words go hand in hand. They are one in the same. At least that is what we have been told for centuries. It seems to me that when I inherited my grandmother’s sloppy joe recipe I also received an innate belief that our families are to come first. We, as mothers are to sacrifice our personal well being and happiness for that of our children and even our partners. We are told that if seek our own happiness we are selfish. I know I cannot be the only one born with this skewed value imbedded into my genetic makeup.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I do believe that with the honor of becoming a mother comes responsibility and that there will be times when our babies will come first. That goes without saying, but this insane notion seems to run so deep that the lines have become so blurred.
What does it really mean to put our families first? What does it mean to be selfless? In my experience (which is really through trial and error, mostly error) I have learned that when we put ourselves first our families will thrive and blossom. On my quest to finding and making myself a priority I realized that it is not unattainable! I know how busy life can get. I own a business with my husband and we homeschool our daughter. I also have a plush second home. Who am I kidding? I live at the damn dance studio where my kid dances. EVERY DAY. They do offer snacks and there is a coffee shop around the corner AND they have free wifi (Sex and the City re-runs anyone?). It could be worse, but I digress. I would love to share with you a few ways in which I make myself a priority.
This will look different for every woman, but for me this looks like a cup of hot coffee and a good book. It’s me pounding pavement or, as of late, me pretending like I am a professional skier on my elliptical machine. It’s an exfoliating facial in the bathroom that I have created to look just like a spa. It’s me locking myself in my bedroom and screaming obscenities into my pillow. It’s a long bath and glass (or bottle) of wine. It’s the taste of Scotch after an awful day and you contemplate leaving your family to run away and join a band of traveling gypsies. It’s a deep breath on my meditation pillow. It’s a phone call with an old friend. It’s cooking a delicious and whole meal while Patsy Cline drowns out all my problems. Self care is crucial to your well being and happiness.
Connection with the outside world
While I find conversations about the latest and greatest “Shopkin’s Season I don’t give a single fuck” completely riveting (I have to tell you that my daughter just came up to me as I write and she said, “Did you know they have season 12 Shopkins now?” Fuck. My. Life.) I do occasionally like to wander outside the four walls of my home and meet up with my girlfriends. I crave this connection. I have such a great support system. My tribe is also crucial to my well being and happiness. These women encourage me to live from a true and authentic space. They remind me of the gentle power that resides within all of us. They fuel me. After spending time with these goddesses I am energized. I am ready to go home and love on my sweet family. If you are fortunate enough to have a tribe such as this, call them now and tell them how much you love them. And if you are a new mama and find yourself with one foot in your new reality and one straddling the old, head on down to your local moms group or the library. There is someone there waiting for you who yearns for the same connection.
Dream and Create
Being a wife and a mom is the single most empowering job I have. I love it. All of it. The mess. The tears. The fights. The love. The fun. The joy. The trials. The bliss. All of it. But can I tell you a secret that took me a few years to have the courage to say? It is not enough for me. I yearn for a life outside of these beautiful humans. I want to create. I want to have the courage to dream up something extravagant for myself. I want my daughter to witness love in action. Love of self. And dreaming is one of the ways that I do just that. Do you have dreams of traveling? Writing? Drawing? Painting? Washing your hair twice in one week? Shaving more than twice a year? Dream on baby. They will become your reality. A fulfilled and inspired woman will change her family from the inside out and most importantly it will change the woman.
I would venture to say that letting go of the need for perfection has been the single most life-changing thing I have done for myself. Growing up, my mom was a hard worker. She worked two jobs and still made sure we were tucked in each night for bed. I remember thinking that I wanted to be perfect just like her. While she taught me the importance of hard work and a clean house, she failed to teach me the value of an imperfect life. I remember the first time my day ended in tears as a young mother. I hated my daughter. I hated my husband. I questioned my decision to fall in love and procreate that day. “I could be traveling abroad and having sex with beautiful, exotic strangers!”, I thought to myself. I felt like a failure. I quickly learned that life’s beauty was to be found in the imperfections. When we learn to let go of perfection, we teach our children that life is messy. When we struggle, we unknowingly teach them to navigate through life’s mishaps. When we embrace the imperfection, we will taste how perfect life with these souls really is.
These are just a few ways I love on myself. Being a mom can be so daunting and maddening. In one moment we want to run away and the next our babies say something astounding or shoot us a sweet look and that is our undoing. The feelings of love wash over us and take with it the feelings of monotony and frustration. We must be gentle on ourselves. We are doing the best that we can. It is my belief that when we choose to put ourselves first it is then and only then that we can truly love our children and partners selflessly.
Don’t be afraid to love yourself. You deserve it. Put your hand on your heart. You feel that? You are worthy. It’s 2016, selfish is the new selfless.
Wife. Mother. Step-mother. Homeschooler. Hiker. Lover of walking. Spiritual badass. Ocean lover. Amateur chef. Connoisseur in the art of food. Writer. Believer in magic. And in no particular order. The human experience is breathtaking, daunting, extravagant, beautiful, gut-wrenching, and sometimes scary. Join me as I walk (sometimes crawl) on this journey we call life. Read more on my blog.