Notes for Mamas from a Self-Help Junkie

I love anything self-help. I love vlogs, blogs, and podcasts. If there was a self-help bandwagon, I would hop on it while reading anything listed on Oprah’s Book Club list. I love any type of motivation or inspiration to do and be better.

Gain wisdom from self-help books.
Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Every time I finish a book or podcast, I can’t help but think to myself: These are fabulous things I wish I had heard when I was a young mom — when I had no time to myself and when I was stretched way too thin, running myself into the ground.

But at that time, reading a book or listening to a podcast for myself was next to impossible even though it was when I probably needed to hear it most. I needed to hear that it was okay to listen to my gut, not to be afraid to set strict boundaries, and to speak up when you are in need of support. When you are knee-deep in tiny tots and nursing on demand, you need that motivation, that good cry, or that inspiration.

If you are surrounded by children and nursing every two hours, here is a simple rundown of the best self-loving, mama-motivational advice that I’ve gathered through my self-help journey.

Embrace the Change

No one mentions at the baby shower how motherhood changes every aspect of your life. A primal shift occurs, and we become more aware, truthful, and vulnerable. The ultimate soul-searching quest is really becoming a parent. We are pushed to our limits, come to know true love and selflessness, and then must learn to let go. The change can be challenging or scary, but it is okay to allow yourself to be different and change your plans or priorities. It is a worthwhile journey that you will find yourself grateful for. 

lady smiling next to happy face balloon

More Self-Care

Book after book, I was reading how self care is important to any person, but if you are a caregiver you need more. If you are in a state of physical and mental exhaustion (like after having a baby), it is vital to take care of yourself. Mothers cannot pour into our children from an empty cup, and we need to nourish ourselves and remember how worthy we are. It is more than a bubble bath; it is positive self-talk, support of partners and family, nutrition, being in nature, and mental health support. As any parent would give fully for their child, we need to give ourselves the grace and love it needs to do so.

Show Happiness

Show your children joy and let them see it through you. Just as you would want your children to create for themselves a life of happiness, do so for yourself.  Motherhood requires so much selflessness, and it is easy to get lost in it. Just as you need self care, you should be intentional about balancing the giving of yourself with filling yourself back up with things that create joy. Take the yoga class, go back to school online, go back to working part-time, and say “no” to the extra social obligations that drain you. Create space for your own heart and its desires. 

No Comparison

Oh baby! Saying this mantra to myself got me through some tough momma moments. Motherhood is not what is posted on social media. It is not picture perfect nor is it nice and tidy. It is hard, messy, and at times painful. Your family is unique, and embracing that idea is powerful. Remind yourself often of your own family’s mission, priorities, and morals.

No Perfection

My family doesn’t need me to be flawless, but rather authentic and true to myself. I will apologize when I am wrong and be honest when I am struggling. I do not want to be seen as infallible to my children, because I am not, but rather a whole person that is still learning. They will see my heart just as I see theirs. Do not try to make everything perfect for your children, but focus instead on being intentional with your time and try to create connection as often as you are able to. Just do your best and love them hard.

Valerie was raised in a small town in south Texas and met her husband in Aggieland. They moved to Fort Worth in 2007 and are now happily raising three wild-hearted children. She is a part-time homeschooling mama and spends most days in parks, libraries, or a grocery store. She loves coffee, music, road-trips, any new health fad, and well-written children's books. Valerie is also a portrait photographer and has photographed the journey of motherhood from pregnancy and birth to breastfeeding and beyond for DFW families for more than 10 years.


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