Be Good To Yourself: Wisdom for Wives and Mothers

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I watched a video of actress Jada Pinkett-Smith having a round table conversation with her daughter and her mother. Watching the dialogue between these three generations of women was awesome in itself but what impacted me the most was Jada’s response to her daughter’s question about being a wife and a mother. In a nutshell, she talked about the importance of women taking care of themselves first! As a clinical social worker and former mental health therapist, this was not new information to me, but this was a much-needed reminder.

With the non-stop demands of life, it is easy to lose yourself. As a wife mother, preacher, and professional woman, I feel so overwhelmed at times. How do I make sure my family feels loved and prioritized while pursuing my dreams and goals? How do make time for my friends? How do keep my marriage spicy when I am physically exhausted and mentally drained? Do these thoughts sound familiar? When was the last time you did something for you? When was the last time you set some personal goals? When was the last time you pursued the goals you set? Balancing the various roles is a not always easy, but it is possible.

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This post is not to say that men don’t need to practice self-care (because they do) but I believe women are most often the ones over-sacrificing for their families. As Jada states in the video, it’s the messages that society gives to us as women that make us feel like we are “bad” if we don’t give up everything to make our husbands and children happy. There’s a lot of pressure on us! We must be aware of such messaging because it can ultimately lead to feelings of unfulfillment and regret. I have heard several stories of women who reached a point in their lives where they realized they had raised their children and supported their husbands but had not done anything for themselves. How disheartening is that? This can easily become you and I if we don’t make our dreams, goals, and aspirations a priority.

We as wives and mothers must learn to balance taking care of others and taking care of ourselves. Not only this but we must learn not to feel guilty when we do something good for ourselves. I remember when I first had my oldest son, I would feel guilty if I went into a store and wanted to buy something for myself! I would immediately think about all of the stuff I could buy for him (that he didn’t need). It took a while for me to buy myself something without buying him something as well. Honestly, I still do it sometimes. Jada goes on to say, “when we neglect our happiness [as women], we start to look for our happiness in others.” How often do we look to our spouses and children to make us happy? How often to get angry and frustrated because they can’t fill our void? The reality is that we are responsible for our happiness.

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I encourage you to take your dreams off the shelf, dust them off, and pursue them! You can be a good mother and wife and still have your fulfillment. Learn to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. What makes you feel good? Read a book, get a pedicure, join a gym, go back to school…heck, start a business! Do something for you!

Again, you can not care for others (and be fulfilled) until you first take care of yourself. Doing this will make you a better wife, a better mother, a better YOU! In the words of writer and feminist extraordinaire Audre Lorde, “Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.”

Watch the full Jada Pinkett-Smith video here: https://youtu.be/FQK9Ufr4yrY

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