As I was adjusting to being a mother of 2, I found myself frustrated, anxious and feeling like something was missing. Of course, I had 2 beautiful, healthy children, a great husband, and supportive friends and family. Even during a pandemic, I still felt supported by friends and family. (Thank you social media, internet, and delivery services!) Yet still, I was feeling discontented. There’s nothing like that initial post partum period to send you reeling back to a person who gives and gives to others, leaving nothing for yourself. Especially when there are two needy littles. It seemed like my cup couldn’t ever get filled back up.
Finally I realized what was missing. I wasn’t making time for me. Face palm moment! When Patsy was a newborn, of course it makes sense that I wouldn’t have a whole lot of time for me. But now that she’s over a year old, it’s easier to think a little more clearly. I’m able to recognize what I’m needing. I am the type of person that needs a certain amount of time to themselves to get their energy. I just wasn’t getting that. I was going through the motions, taking care of what needed to get taken care of, and not investing in myself like I had begun to do on a regular basis over the past couple of years.
Fortunately, I’ve been in this spot before. I was doing this shortly after my son was born 3-ish years ago. So, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to figure out the amount of time I needed, what things I needed to do with the time, and how I was going to get that time. The first two steps are relatively simple, and require an internal thought process for me. The 3rd step tends to be the one that gets people hung up. How will I get the time I need? The answer is simple – Ask for what you need. I never said the answer was easy, but it is simple.
I’m going to sidebar here for a moment about why it is not easy to ask for what you need. I’d like to talk about how this is not easy for women in particular. Society has ingrained in us that we are good only if we are continuously giving of ourselves to others. We are told we should put others needs before our own. We should have bodies that look like someone else’s ideal form. We should be quiet, submissive, and compliant. While deep down we all know that this is absolute garbage, it’s still hard to fully deflect all of the constant messaging around this — blatant and subliminal. The tide on this front is slowly changing, but for now, it’s important that we know of the challenges we face, admit where we have unlearning to do, and make an effort to overcome. Acknowledgement of the problem is half the battle, right?
Asking for what you need is SO IMPORTANT! Here are 3 reasons why:
1. No one can read your mind.
As well meaning as any of our partners, friends, colleagues, parents, children, or other people in our lives can be, they can not read our minds or anticipate our needs. As humans, we are implicitly selfish. It’s wrapped into our makeup. We are naturally inclined to look at the world for how it will affect ourselves and our immediate situation. This isn’t good or bad, it’s just a fact.
On the bright side, we also love and care about others around us. When we have someone in our lives that we love and care about, we are usually happy to support them. When our loved ones need something, we want to help them get their needs met. So, use that to your advantage and tell your loved ones what you need. Give them the opportunity to help you and connect with you in that way. More than likely, they’re pleased to do it.
2. You are the best person to teach others how to treat you.
There may be people in your life that naturally treat you well. They know you well enough to know what you like and don’t like. They’re able to communicate to you in a way that you enjoy. But not everyone is going to know how to treat you in a way that you’d like. So, it’s important that we speak up for our needs in all areas of our lives – home, work, groups, and friendships.
3. We need to model for our children that advocating for our own needs is important.
Often times our children have trouble communicating their need to us. This is especially apparent during early childhood when language skills are only partially developed and much of their communication of their needs is misunderstood. They get frustrated and throw a tantrum and we just want them to stop. We try to mitigate the tantrum instead of figuring out the true need and that initial need can sometimes go unmet. Over time these moments can quietly teach our children not to ask for what they need because people won’t listen or hear them.
As adults, many of us continue on this way, never advocating for ourselves and our needs, and going through the motions trying to keep up with everyone else. As parents, we need to get over that and advocate for ourselves. Let’s show our children that it is always OK to ask for what you need. We all deserve to have our needs met, without qualifiers.
So, the moral of the story is that I asked my husband for his support because I am going to work on my blog. I’ve asked for 4 hours every week. For now, it will be Saturday mornings, and he was happy to comply.
Ask for what you need. You just might get it!
❤ Mama Caped Nerd
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