Growing up a twin, I often wondered how my mom got everything done. I never heard her complain. She never spoke of needing a break. Was she a superhero, or was she pushing through because that is what she thought being a good mom was all about? When I became a mom almost eight years ago, I knew I wanted to be a good mom, but I never signed up to be a superhero.
Of course, becoming a mom was the answer to my heartfelt prayer. It is a prayer that so many women are praying for today. In 2014, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in losing one of my fallopian tubes. Six months later, I was pregnant again at the age of 35. There were complications at 19 weeks, and I prayed every day until I delivered a healthy baby boy at 39 weeks.
The stress and anxiety I experienced throughout my pregnancy continued after the birth. When my husband and I left the hospital, he jokingly asked, “So, are they just going to let us go home with a baby?”
“Of course,” I said, “We are his parents!”
My confident response was fueled by the thought of knowing that I was a great mom because I carried my baby full term. I kept him safe. But as the months passed, the sleepless nights and sore breasts started to take their toll. I thought about all the television commercials depicting happy and well-rested moms. I thought about how my own mom had twins and never complained. I talked to my mom friends, and they said that moms don’t get breaks.
So why was I feeling guilty about needing a break?
I knew then that mom life would be different for me. I didn’t want to lose myself in motherhood. The Saturday morning hair appointments continued. I resumed my spa club membership. I traveled out of the country with my husband and my girls—we had childcare. I had mastered being a full-time pharmacist, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Life was good…until it changed.
I became a widowed mom overnight, and then came the pandemic. I never wanted to be Superwoman, but I somehow became Wonder Woman. I began to wonder. How would I raise a son without his dad? How would I hold it all together while everything was falling apart? The answer was simple. I wouldn’t. It was time to hang up my cape. I didn’t have to do everything. I was human, not this superhero that society expected me to be as a mom.
We are often praised for our ability to multitask and handle stressful situations. We juggle careers, families, relationships, and social lives while trying to maintain a semblance of sanity. The pressure to hold it all together can affect our health. As a Black woman, I know that heart disease is the number one killer of women, and I wanted to be here to raise my son. It became essential to prioritize self-care.
For many women, the idea of practicing self-care can seem selfish. We’re conditioned to put the needs of others before our own, and the thought of prioritizing our well-being can make us feel guilty. I had to realize that self-care is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. When I care for myself, I have more energy, patience, and compassion to give to others. Today, self-care for me looks like establishing boundaries, asking for help, and using my PTO.
What does self-care look like for you?Leave a Comment
Susan Kenny says
For me being a mom is about accomplishment. I am a country girl who had made my parents proud after graduating from graduate school. After working in my chosen field, I felt that I wanted to be a mom. I was so excited to become a mother. I spent valuable time with my daughter by exposing her to life and making many childhood memories. My thoughts were with her as she ventured off to college. She is a licensed esthetician and a salaried employee. I am one proud momma!
India King says
I appreciated this message, and I needed it today.
Carlor Beard says
Thank you for sharing and reminding us of our status as mothers and humans! We try to be it all! My self-care is resting and sleeping, spa treatments, time to take a break away from my family, and taking time with my Heavenly Father! I am not a superhero, superhuman, nor super-mom. I try my best and I get tasks done. However, there are times when I let things go to keep my sanity and strength. I appreciate you and I wish you love and joy in your journey with your son! I am sorry your husband is not with you. Peace and love to you, Dr. Reed.
Felisicia Williams says
Self-care for me looks like reading a good book, or article or visiting this wonderful Mahogany community I discovered and writing. More recently I am beginning to realize that it’s okay for me to spend money on me, so I am getting my first professional facial in years! God’s Blessings!
Yes girl! Use that PTO and take care of yourself! Being your best self is the best gift you can give your son!
Evalyne L Bryant Ward says
This is so timely for me.
I think I am honestly still trying to find out what self-care looks like for me. The thought of rushing home once I finish a nail appointment or going to happy hour is no fault of my husband, but me as a mom thinking I have to hurry home or the routine will fall apart. However, the reality is when I get home whether it is early or late my family is just happy to see me. I’m still working to figure out not to be selfish by pouring into my cup first and being able to pour into others once I am taken care of.
MD, sounds like you are on the right track!
To me self-care looks like doing the things that bring me joy. It often entails watching my favorite television shows, shopping at my happy place stores and enjoying the fresh air during a brisk walk. I agree that self-care is a must and goes hand in hand with self-love.