Dear Mama,

If there is one thing I want all my client’s mamas to know it’s this:

Take Care of Yourself.

One the best gifts you can give your child is the gift of a healthy mother – mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Everywhere we turn there’s someone or something there to tell us all the ways we are falling short. Pinterest becomes a list of saved ways we haven’t been creating magical experiences out of daily life. Facebook shows us pictures of people’s lives that is NOT how life really is. Even theirs. Mom guilt is real. It’s also completely unnecessary.   Because, here’s the truth: motherhood is life in the trenches, it’s small and big victories, it’s standing in the moment with your child, it’s messy hands, it’s homework drama, it’s learning to walk and talk, it’s celebrating that first baseball hit, and sharing a popcorn at the movies.

Motherhood is HARD and it is BEAUTIFUL.   You have to provide nurture and rest for yourself to do such a hard and beautiful job each day.

Now, I hear you laughing and saying that the idea of taking care of you is wonderful, but when is it going to happen?   Especially when it feels like you are barely juggling all the appointments and commitments that the week brings. So, here are a few ideas:

  • Make a list of the things that most rejuvenate you. What makes you feel revived and rested? Sleep, coffee with a friend, watching a movie without a distraction, a date night, attending a support group? Find 2-3 things that really work for you and try to make one happen in the next week.
  • Rest before you are too tired. The Galloway approach to long distance running involves the concept that you need to rest before you are too tired for rest to really benefit you.   Rest before you are too tired. I don’t know much about running, but motherhood is a marathon and you need to seek intentional rest along the way. Ask for help from family and friends. You may need someone to watch your child so you can have alone time. You have permission to seek help from others that will help keep you healthy.
  • Tell your therapist if the home program we have given you is going to work or not. We are going to recommend what we think will help your child. But, we can also find something that will realistically work in your life. So, let us know what you need. We don’t want to add another thing into your life that doesn’t work, but you have to tell us.
  • Ask your OT and ST for ways to help your child learn to be more independent in play or even sleep so that you can also find some moments to be still and rejuvenate yourself.
  • Sometimes you may want to observe therapy, some days you may want to have 30-60 minutes to yourself. As a therapist and a mom, I completely understand the need to do both. Own what is going to be best for you and your child that day and don’t feel guilty about it.

As a therapist to all you sweet mamas out there-

Hear me tell you that you are a good mom. You love your child and are seeking whatever services or activities are going to benefit your child. You owe your child a healthy mom and I wholeheartedly support you in finding intentional rest that lifts you up.

Take care of you,

Rachel Ashcraft, OTR/L