What would you like for Mother’s Day this year? A beautiful handmade card? Breakfast in bed? A big bouquet of flowers? Would your answer change if you were gifting something to yourself? Admittedly, my answer would. I made an off the cuff remark to my husband the other day. For Mother’s Day, I would relish one, maybe even two, uninterrupted hours that I could spend alone. As soon as I uttered those words out loud, I felt a pang of guilt. Am I selfish for wanting a little bit of me time on Mother’s Day, the one day of the year that I should be celebrating and spending with my family? Even then, what would I even do with that alone time? Over the last few years, the idea of being left alone has become so foreign to me. I would love to spend the time to practice yoga. Maybe I could read a couple chapters of my favourite book. Maybe I could pour myself a large glass of wine and do absolutely nothing. As my mind began to dart in different directions, it dawned upon me: Am I burned out?
As mothers, we feel constantly overwhelmed and exhausted by everything we have to do but somehow we still end up feeling like we are not giving enough or doing enough.
We live in a world that constantly expects women, especially mothers, to be nurturing, kind, loving, tranquil, caring, maternal, selfless and eternally giving to the needs of everyone else. On top of that, we should be happy, pretty and a perfect size 36. Because of this constant, exhausting, unrealistic and unattainable (at least for me) expectation, I am exhausted.
“Mommy burnout” is definitely real, it’s just something society doesn’t like to talk about. It’s become taboo for moms to contemplate, to communicate, to confess that we too are overwhelmed and exhausted. Someone spiked the mom Kool Aid and now we constantly feel like we are not giving, doing, or being enough for our families. Do you know what else is definitely real? Mom shaming. God forbid that we take a business call over taking our kids to school. On the one hand, we are told to be selfless and loving homemakers ready to attend to our children’s every whimsical need. On the other hand, we are told that we should not forfeit our aspirations to be career women too. Sound overwhelming? Don’t fret– you’re a mom after all; you’re supposed to be able to juggle it all. Oh, and always remember to smile, and don’t forget you’re on a time crunch to lose the baby weight.
Our maternal instincts make us invincible protectors of our children. But we mustn’t disregard the importance of protecting ourselves too. We all have breaking points; there will come a point in time when the chaos catches up to us. Although some of us will bounce back from burnout, maybe we shouldn’t let ourselves get to that point. I believe that Mother Nature provides a perfect analogy.
Mother Nature is the most unfailing and selfless of givers. From her flora to her fauna, She welcomes us with open arms. She gives us air, water, soil – everything we need to sustain human life. But, as Her children, we have become greedy. We have pumped pollution into Her lungs, stripped biodiversity from Her nest, and dumped toxic waste into Her oceans. We expect that She will kowtow to our every exacting demand, and that She will always be okay. We have become impervious to the telltales of Her fatigue. It is not a coincidence that She has released storms, floods, and droughts with increasing frequency and intensity. We have this expectation that Mother Earth can take it all. The expectation that she won’t be tired or burnt out. Maybe we should pause, lean in and recognise that Mother Nature sometimes needs a break too.
I hope that this Mother’s Day, all moms will find a moment to catch their breath. Self-care is not selfish. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. Carving our time to replenish and to protect the sanctity of our mental and physical wellbeing is arguably the best thing we can do for our kids. Likewise, let’s venture to show Mother Nature our gratitude by giving her the opportunity recuperate. Let’s support Her by finding ways to be more sustainable. We need not overhaul our lifestyles. If we all take small steps of action together, we will be able to preserve Mother Nature in all her splendour, and all her glorious shades of green.
That is why at 8Shades, wellness is one of our pillars. I don’t need to emphasise how important self-love is. Being sustainable can mean 100 different things to 100 different people. In this case I want to say that sustainability is not just about the well-being of our mother earth, It is also about the well-being of all people. Sustainability and wellness are intertwined together and are complementary of one another. On Sunday, go easy on yourself, and our Planet.
Lets celebrate all mothers all over the world in all shapes and form especially Mother Earth and the life she has given us. Show gratitude for the life we been blessed with and lets together make our world a shade greener.
EditorEmily Lam Ho
CreditLead image: Kim Lo