Editor’s note: Sara Davison is the founder of Kinly, a Triangle-based parenting platform designed to help expectant parents and parents of little ones through access to expert support, education and community care.
America Allen is a North Carolina-based registered clinical social worker and owner of suNu Healing Collectively, PLLC, a private mental health practice that supports millennial women unlearning unhealthy patterns so they can prioritize personal care and build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
America got its start in government and nonprofit spaces supporting caregivers and families facing mental health crises through parenting counseling and counseling. Her transition to private practice came when she noticed that many (almost all) of the mothers she supported in the community were constantly sacrificing themselves for their families and that she wanted to create a safe space for these women to chat. of their challenges and learn to care. for them too.
We spoke with America about ways mothers can love and honor each other more.
Q: Once we become mothers, it is so easy to get lost in the day-to-day care of our children and families. Why is it so important for us to put ourselves first as mothers?
America: Mothers do everything. No matter how they feel, whether they have slept or not, whether they are sick or not, they are just doing what needs to be done. Unfortunately, this also means that when it comes time to remove something from the program, it’s usually something you have to do for yourself. When this happens, you often feel exhausted or overwhelmed with your daily tasks. What we do know is that it’s not good for you or your family.
By putting yourself first, you are not selfish or neglecting the needs of those around you, in fact it is the opposite – you are feeding yourself and your family in this act of self-care. You teach your children the importance of taking care of themselves. It is such an act of love.
Q: But life is so busy! How do we practically begin to honor our own needs when we are in so much demand?
America: Life is very busy and the reality is that the things on our to-do lists will always be there. We must be prepared to make room for our needs to be met. What I have noticed is that moms usually tell me that when they want to take a break, guilt sets in. The guilt of mothers is real. I am aware of the impact of guilt. Guilt keeps us stuck. I often encourage my clients to understand the function of guilt. Guilt is present to suggest that we are doing something wrong and we internalize these feelings to mean that “we are wrong” or “we are bad” so that we are not doing these things. I encourage mothers to ask themselves, “Do I feel guilty about doing something wrong or doing something different than what I think is expected of me?” This guides us to begin the unlearning process. So do it feeling guilty and keep practicing. You have to remember that what is good for you is also good for your children. Your family wants the best for you. They want to see you happy and healthy. Make yourself a priority and take the time each day to do the things that make you happy. You may ask yourself questions like “How am I feeling right now?” “” What do I need now? »Is it food? the water? deep breathing? a walk or just a bit of calm? Do I feel anxious because I need to have a difficult conversation? We must be prepared to be connected to ourselves and to our bodies.
Q: What would be your top 3 tips for helping moms prioritize?
1. Asking and accepting help (we cannot live and thrive in isolation)
2. Find a healthy emotional outlet (a therapist, a partner or someone you trust)
3. Communicate your boundaries (Boundaries allow us to create and maintain healthy relationships without resentment.)
Q: If you could leave one main message to mothers about the importance of putting yourself first, what would it be?
America: The message we receive about giving ourselves, pushing ourselves to our limits, being productive and compromising our needs is usually taken to the extreme. We must actively reject this notion. Our self-care is full of itself.
America Allen is an expert on the Kinly network. For more information on Kinly, visit the website or follow the Kinly Instagram or Facebook.