I’ve been thinking about self-love a lot.

And there’s this one thing that keeps me curious:

It’s that thing that stops us Mamas from self-loving…

What is that? What is that about? I mean with very few exceptions, the Mamas I observe all struggle to love themselves.

They may be able to say they love themselves. They may do the whole twice-a-week self-care thing. But loving themselves truly-madly-deeply for loving themselves [period]?

Nope. It just doesn’t happen. Usually they love themselves for practical reasons…Because it makes them kinder to other people. Sweeter and more patient with their kids. Gentle and more loving to their husbands. A better person for the rest of the world.

The self-care becomes a utilitarian means of being “gooder”, kinder, better. And I go with it because the side effect of joy, soul nourishment, sweet bliss is worth it. Or maybe they love themselves conditionally…I’m awesome because I did this or that oh-so-well!

So I deserve a bit of self-lovin’ today…Yes, this happens. But to head out to that yoga class, that walk, that art class. Just because it feels great. Just because we know we’re worth it. Just because a Mama knows that life is short. And because it is going to make that life just that bit more awesome

Well, that just doesn’t happen so often. And as Valentine’s Day comes to a close I’m wondering why. One blog I read suggested it’s because we don’t really know ourselves. And we can’t really love what we don’t know.

Can this be true?

Oliver Cooper says that our identity is “typically constructed out of what other people have said to us about who we are or who we should be…So it becomes clear that it is extremely difficult to get in touch with who we really are, as a result of all the pressure we experience from our early childhood and the society we live in, that is constantly influencing us.”

And so we grow up seeking external approval versus exploring authenticity and feeding self-acceptance. Yes. It’s true. For everyone.

But for Moms there’s something different that confuses this whole identity business. When a child comes into our lives it’s as though a new thick muddy layer of what-mother-should-be is placed on us. The pressure is heavier

Because the consequences of fucking up have all of a sudden become more serious. Impacting a sweet new person that becomes the world to us. And so when Rajneesh says

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.

She never existed before.

The woman existed but the mother, never.

A mother is absolutely new. 

It’s true. But the newness is a layer on top of whatever muddled external-approval-seeking woman lay beneath. The newness is a whole new set of contradictory guidelines, navigated in a sleep deprived, judgmental hyper paced new world.

Where demands are doubled, tripled, quadrupled. Where energy and time are halved. And where the external seeking habits still prevail.

Welcome to motherhood.

Ouch. This is not everybody’s story, of course. But it was mine. And it is most of my Mama friends’.

Unpeeling the layers and unravelling the tangled web of shoulds, of guilt, of doubt to find that amazing loveable woman who seeks joy just to, well, seek joy and feel it…

To reconnect with that girl-child within who plays just for fun…

Who knows what she likes…

Who knows who she is…

Who knows what she is about…

Who loves who she is and isn’t afraid to show it.

Who lives life to the fullest.

To help you find the you that you can love.

The you that is love. Just for the sake of loving. This may be where you are at. Know that it’s a journey. Invite curiosity. Invite exploration. Invite experimentation. Sack judgement. Embrace mistakes.

Because once you’ve done that…Everything else will fall into place. I promise.

Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day, with LOVE,