Mom’s Self-Care is Family Care

To all our Inays and Mamas: This may make you feel awful at first, but taking care of yourself also means taking care of your family!

Our culture refers to mothers as "Ilaw ng Tahanan," or "Light of the Home." Despite the perception of a male-dominated society, we must acknowledge the role of moms and strong women in developing our Filipino culture.

Prior to colonialism, women were considered equal to men. Remember our lessons on "Maganda and Malakas"? According to Filipino myth, the first man and woman in the Philippines emerged from the split halves of a bamboo stalk by a large bird, demonstrating the absence of gender significance and equal status for men and women. What about the Babaylans? Yep! People depicted Babaylans as women who served as healers, herbalists, and ritual keepers.

Women's roles in society shifted from autonomous and courageous to meek and submissive as our culture dealt with the harsh consequences of colonization. First, the Spanish regime had a significant impact on our culture, delegating women to the role of homemakers and disregarding their opinions. Changes occurred during the American regime, as women gradually gained opportunities for self-development and self-expression. With the opportunities that slowly opened for our female ancestors, women are today participating in a variety of fields such as health, law, education, government, and even politics. This has helped empower the Filipinas we know today.

One of these roles is, of course, motherhood. Our mothers share a common passion to devote their all, heart and soul, to their family. Today's Filipina women not only meet cultural expectations of what a wife and mother should be, but they also display the capacity to manage a business, study, or work while balancing homemaking. 

Filipino mamas are known to put the needs of their families before their own. Some of them went abroad to provide better for their families; some were frontliners during the pandemic; and some even studied their children’s lessons to help their kids during blended learning! How cool is that!? We love you for it, Mama! Nevertheless, we are here to remind you that it is important to give yourself and your interests some time!

The American Psychological Association defined self-care as personal activities that promote caring for themselves and can be done without needing assistance. Furthermore, these activities can boost well-being and have an impact on different aspects of a person’s life. 

We know that mamas are happy when their family is happy and healthy. Yet, sometimes they forget that they deserve all the happiness too! Here are some simple ways moms can start practicing self-care while creating a safe and happy home for their family.

1. Schedule it. We all know that mothers' schedules are jam-packed, with everything from cooking their children's food to attending work meetings, assisting their children with homework, and cleaning their home. Schedules can help you be more mindful about your routines, including time for yourself.

This can be a short period of time, such as a morning walk before packing your children's baon or an evening Kdrama session to help you unwind with the day’s tasks. Weekends are also an excellent time for mamas to plan something—meeting friends, date nights with the hubby, or perhaps attending that spa or yoga class you've been wanting to try!

2. Set boundaries. Understanding when to say “no” is one approach to setting a boundary. Mamas who are active in the Homeowners Association or Parents-Teachers Association should take note!

There are times when we say, “Okay, sige,” so quickly that we forget to consider whether we can complete a task and whether it matches our schedule and skills. We're not saying you can't do everything, but trying to accomplish everything can lead to burnout.Setting boundaries is also a good life skill that we can teach our kids, because it can help them see that it is okay to say "no" and that we cannot please everyone by becoming and doing everything for them.

3. Don’t burn that bridge! Maintain friendships and relationships outside your home. Yes, burning bridges with toxic relationships can be healthy for your mental health, but we hope that you don’t unknowingly do this to your friends too. 

Socializing is important for reminding oneself that you are a wife, a friend, a sister, and a daughter outside of motherhood. It doesn’t need to be a group hangout; you can do it with a few close friends. 

4. Do what you love! Engaging in and exploring activities that interest you helps relax the mind and body. Exercising, doing your favorite hobbies like crocheting or knitting, watching K-dramas, learning new recipes, and reading a book are all awesome ways to start. You can do these alongside Tip #1 by scheduling them!

The primary focus is on ourselves when we talk about self-care because it helps us be more present with the people and circumstances around us. When we take care of ourselves, we perform better and are more present in life. Remember that we cannot pour from an empty cup. Once you know how to do it right, it can really help you become the mom you want to be.

Kids can learn how to take care of themselves by watching their parents do it. It is our hope that parents model this important life skill for their children.

While self-care is beneficial, moms can acquire good coping techniques with the help of a professional. Remember, moms, that assistance is also accessible for you!

References:

  • BetterHelp Editorial Team. (2024, April 24). Why Self-Care Matters For Moms. Retrieved from BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/mindfulness/why-self-care-is-important-for-mothers/
  • Cequina, J. (2021, May 7). HERstory: The evolution of motherhood & women’s roles in the Philippines. Retrieved from POP!: https://pop.inquirer.net/109525/herstory-the-evolution-of-motherhood-womens-roles-in-the-philippines
  • Nissim-Mathels, L. (2022, July 19). Mamas, Please Take Care of Yourselves. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/special-matters/202207/mamas-please-take-care-yourselves
  • Self-Care. (2024, May 1). Retrieved from American Psychological Association: https://dictionary.apa.org/self-care

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