Taking care of mum

This is a guest post from life coach Grace Marshall. It’s excllent advice…………………You’ll find Grace’s own blog at www.gracemarshall.com

Mums are amazing. Some of the world’s best nurturers, carers, encouragers and cheerleaders are mums. Yes, we are often completely out of our depth, and certainly no strangers to being stretched, but we are GOOD at looking after people. Apart from ourselves, that is.

It’s funny, I intended to write this last night. But I was so tired I was falling asleep before my one year old’s bedtime. You see, it’s been a wonderful full on time lately, which coupled with my daughter’s current body clock means that I’ve been getting well (re)acquainted with chronic sleep deprivation.

Normally I’m a night owl. My brain works best at night and I love the clarity and freedom to think and work without interruption. But last night, I did seriously start considering going to bed straight after putting Catherine to bed. And as soon as I thought about it, the thoughts that came to mind were “I can’t because…” followed by all the things I had to do, including writing this blog post on “Looking after yourself as a mum”. Yes the irony didn’t escape me either.

So I took my own advice and put my own needs firmly back in the picture. I went to bed – not quite as early as Catherine – but MUCH earlier than usual. And the result? Well I could have still stayed happily in bed for longer, but not only was I NOT the aching growling zombie mummy waking at 5am, I was able to genuinely enjoy that time with Catherine before the rest of the house awoke and I’ve been on much better form all day, getting things done and giving from a place of plenty.

So here’s the thing. Maybe it’s not so much what you do for yourself but the fact that you do, and what you’re telling yourself when you do: that you’re worthwhile, precious, worth caring for and looking after, that it’s ok to be human and to appreciate TLC, and that you can…

A suggestion I heard recently is to put a picture of yourself as a child somewhere you’ll see every day, as a reminder to point some of that instinctive nurturing love in your own direction.

If you are looking for ideas, one exercise I love doing with my clients is getting them to write a list of twenty tiny things that bring them energy, joy, peace, inspiration, or all of the above. You’ll be surprised at how simple, affordable and freely available many of them are.

Here are a few real life examples:

  • Take time in the evenings to just unwind. Take bath or watch a film.
  • Take an hour out and go and sit under a big tree on the heath
  • Music and dancing
  • Knitting when there is no deadline
  • Taking my time in the shower
  • Reading
  • Laughter
  • Time with friends
  • Sitting under a starry sky on a clear night

And if you do fancy a spot of good old-fashioned pampering, check out your local college. If they offer a beauty or massage course, they will usually offer treatments at very affordable prices for their guinea pigs – ahem I mean case studies and portfolios. Although possibly avoid the waxing.

Thank you Grace!



  1. Donna Pinnell
    July 26, 2010 / 10:57 am

    This is so true. Mums have to be a thoughtful caring, domestic goddess, entertainments manager and perfect wifey! Definately multi talented!

    Great Blog and I totally agree with taking time out for you! Its a must for your sanity x

  2. Colin Bowen
    July 26, 2010 / 11:47 am

    Printing this off to give to my wife. I should take note myself, too.

  3. Becky
    July 26, 2010 / 8:39 pm

    I remember when I was training as a therapist having therapy myself. My counsellor asked me where my coat was one v cold winter day. I told her I didnt have a winter coat (student days!) and she asked me if I would ever let a child go without a coat . No I said. What if you wre poor she said Well I ‘d beg borrow staeal or hit a car boot to get them one I said. You must always treat yourself as well as you would treat a child she said. That little girl who needs a coat is within you too.

    I have never forgotten.

    I like milk and cookie and a rest mid afternoon too!

  4. July 31, 2010 / 8:33 pm

    That’s a great lesson well illustrated Becky. It makes so much sense when we actually stop and think about it. The key is to remind ourselves from time to time and encourage each other along as well, like you’ve done here with highlighting this theme for the month.

    Glad you’ve found it useful too Donna, Colin and pharmacy technician!

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