Women are notorious for putting everyone else’s needs before their own; this can ring especially true for moms, as it’s part of the job. However, it can become a problem if your own needs are never being met. While you have to put your heart and soul into your family and your business, you can’t give so much that it hurts. Here are some indications that you need to draw a line:
You have nothing left to give
You would love to go outside and play with your child, or take time to do some research for that new client. The problem is that you can’t seem to will your body to get up off the couch. As difficult as this may be for you, either get someone else to do it or let it wait. You need to rest.
You’re feeling resentful
You spend so much of your day looking after everyone else that you never do anything for yourself. That would make anyone feel resentful. Your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s, and it’s important for you to feel cared for and respected.
Nobody considers your needs
Have you started to notice that nobody seems to even recognize that you have needs? Don’t be too hard on them; others around you have become so used to depending on you, that it probably doesn’t even occur to them that you’re just as worthy of attention as they are.
Picking up on the signals that you are in need of some important self-care time, and helping those around you to understand how you are feeling, is not necessarily an instantaneous revelation – old habits die hard, as they say. It may take some strategic planning, focused conversations, and honest open-mindedness to not only share your thoughts, but also have those in your circle understand and appreciate them.
Once you have identified that it’s time to start drawing boundaries, you need to find a way to do it without hurting the people around you:
Tell them what to expect
Most people hate surprises. Explain to them that you are feeling overextended and that you need to set limits on what you do. They probably won’t like it, but they will understand it a little more which in turn will make changes come more easily.
Plan special time with everyone
Change tends to make people feel a little nervous. If you are pulling back, there is a good chance that some people won’t be happy about it. Plan a date with the people close to you so that they know that they still matter. It could be as simple as going ice skating with your child, or taking one of your employees out to lunch. The amazing thing about this is that you are exchanging tasks that you once resented, for quality time that will help build your relationships.
As mothers, as entrepreneurs and as women, we need to stop putting ourselves last! Taking care of yourself and having your own needs heard and met is not selfish, and should be made a priority.