Your darling three year old and one year old boys are the epicentre of your world. You are a great mum even if it doesn't always feel like it.
You beat yourself up if they are ever late for school; if you forget to get them to brush their teeth or if you just bung a pizza in the oven instead of cooking from scratch. In the grand scheme of things none of this matters. What matters is the time you spend doing silly voices that make them giggle. Or the effort you put into supporting their learning. Looking after them when they are poorly and the every ounce of affection you pour into their lives so they know that they are loved.
Just one question: Why don't you show yourself that same love?
You know the importance of a healthy diet and exercise for your boys. You are acutely aware of how to foster robust mental health. You are their ally and fiercest advocate when the occasion calls for it but are you looking after yourself?
You know that niggling health issue? If you don't see to that, it could potentially have a huge impact on the rest of your life. Please, please speak up for yourself. If you are not convinced by your GP's diagnosis see someone else. Be your own best advocate in the way you are for the boys. Eat healthily and stay active. Make good food choices for yourself as well as the rest of the family.
Yes, it's a cliche - 'until you love yourself... yadda yadda yadda.' 'You must prioritise yourself...' etc etc. You've heard it all before. You scoff at these throwaway phrases, not realising their truth.
Even now, twenty years later, I cannot hand-on-heart say I prioritise myself. Our - now adult - boys and our other two beautiful additions (you don't know it yet... you will be Mum to more children - ones you didn't give birth to - but that's for another letter) will always come first. But I must... and YOU must put yourself at joint pole position.
So, here's a checklist for being a fabulous carer of yourself while our boys flourish throughout their childhood.
- eat well
- stay active
- laugh and have fun
- learn every day
- do not isolate yourself
- stick up for yourself
You really are doing a great job don't second guess yourself - you're doing just fine. I just want to give you the biggest hug.
Lots of love from your 45 year old self. xxx