In my eight-year career as a licensed massage therapist, I have worked with a lot of mothers. From relaxing and ache-relieving prenatal work for expectant mothers, to women who are balancing a full plate of job responsibilities and child-rearing, to stay-at-home moms, those who are nursing newborns, coordinating their schedules around the school drop-off and pickup times, managing a household, fundraising, PTA-committed, and after-school ferrying to this lesson or that soccer team, the to-do list of a mother is literally endless.
Even when the kids grow up and move out on their own, it’s a lifelong bond that sustains throughout our whole lives. Beyond the day-to-day minutia and the emotional labor of mothering, there is so much that is culturally wrapped up in the archetype of “Mother.” And as human beings, we start to “should” on ourselves about what it is to be a mother. Not only do we try to measure up to what society dictates what motherhood is, we try to shoehorn that into our own identities, expectations of ourselves, and busy schedules. Being a mother can be an emotionally complex roller coaster ride: a constant dance of your child’s needs vs. your needs.
It can be very hard to justify self-care as a mother. There will always be something that your children need, and it is easy to prioritize those needs without a second thought. But at some point, because we are all finite human beings, our energy stores run low, and our giving power dwindles. There is a popular analogy I like to use in the treatment room with those who are mothers or caregivers: in the event of an emergency on an airplane, the oxygen masks are released from the upper compartment. You are always instructed to put the oxygen mask first over your own nose and mouth before attending to your children. Why is that? Because, as caregivers and mothers, if we cannot breathe first, we cannot help anyone else. Past a certain point, it can become nearly emotionally impossible.
Here’s hoping no one ever has to experience anything like the above scenario, literally or figuratively. And all of this is to say that self-care is, at the end of the day, just as crucial as the oxygen we breathe! So if this rings true for you, or if it’s bringing someone to mind whom you know and love that would benefit from some much-needed self-care, guess what? In celebration and support of mothers everywhere, milk + honey is offering exclusive Mother’s Day packages and specials. It’s one-stop shopping for services to help you or someone you love create a day of relaxation, love, and gratitude.
Contributor: Kelly M, one of our talented 2nd Street District massage therapists.