How Can You Mother Yourself?

A few weeks ago, after four days visiting my mother, I spent 10 days struggling to rebalance and ground myself.  In that struggle, I decided to begin exploring why this happens and what I can do about it.  My mother will be 79 this summer, and is fairly healthy, but getting older with health concerns cropping up here and there, and we are both nervous about what the next few years will bring.  I am ready to talk about it and make plans.  She is not. This happened to be a particularly challenging rebalance for me, and for more than a week I felt like I wasn’t even in my own body after I left her house.  This is a common occurrence after I have spent time with her.  I was exhausted. I couldn’t think straight, I was anxious, teary, and spacey.  Not how I wanted to return from a 10 day statewide trip, and welcome home my love who had also been traveling for weeks.  

 

A few days after I returned, in my unbalanced state, a woman I know told me about the book, Mother Hunger.  After reading the cover, I immediately picked up a copy. I also decided to find a therapist, go to a cranial sacral massage therapy session, attend several yoga classes, and enjoy a sound healing class with crystal bowls and chimes; all in search of help to get realigned.  At the sound healing, she had some oracle cards up front we could draw for guidance during our session.  I drew a card, turned it over, and about fell over.  The card read, “How can you mother yourself?”  

 

I’ve been asking myself this question ever since. The book, Mother Hunger, is about how adult daughters can heal from lost nurturance, protection and guidance.  You see, my mom and I have never had the best relationship.  I know some women for whom their mother is their best friend, and I love that for them.  But that is not my experience.  While she was there physically growing up (sometimes too much), I still felt alone.  I don’t remember feeling like I could tell her things, or if I did, that she was even interested.  The message I got was kind of “life is hard” “don’t complain” “don’t expect much” “don’t rock the boat” “keep your feelings to yourself.”  I was curious (and still am), always asking why (and still do).  I am sure that was annoying, but even more annoying was just getting the answer “because I said so.”  This led me into a path of rebellion I won’t go down right now.  (More about that in my upcoming book)

 

A few years ago I realized the best we ever got along was when she was on anti-anxiety medication in her late 40s for about 5 years, and I was in my late 20s. 5 years of seeming like I had a mom I could talk to who didn’t freak out about things, who didn’t stay up all night worrying about things she has no control over, who I didn’t feel like I was disappointing in some way or another.  But that was a long time ago. 

 

Now, the question of “How can we mother ourselves” is about how we can nurture, protect and guide ourselves today, as grown women?  I am a mother, too, but this isn’t about parenting, it’s about us and our relationship with our own mother, and ourselves. 

 

To nurture is to care for, and to encourage growth or development.  How can we nurture ourselves?  We can:

  • Avoid self-criticism, and instead speak kindly to ourselves
  • Avoid foods without much nutritional value; instead, give your body whole, real foods that energize and delight, and promote healing and repair
  • Avoid burning the candle and instead prioritize rest
  • Avoid being sedentary and indoors and instead get outside and move
  • Avoid isolating when we are down, and instead reach out to those who lift you up

 

To protect is to keep safe or preserve.  How can we protect ourselves? We can:

  • Set good boundaries and follow through, instead of allowing ourselves to be walked on, used, overextend ourselves, and become resentful
  • Ask for what we need and share how we are feeling, instead of trying to be wonder woman, do it alone, or suffer in silence
  • Place an energetic field of protection around ourselves, so we don’t take on other people’s stuff.  It takes practice.  If you ask “Is this mine” and the answer is no, you’ll know you picked it up
  • Save money for emergencies and the future instead of spending every penny to fill the void with stuff that never will. 
  • Make sure we are properly insured.  Schedule an annual check up with your insurance agent.  Things change; so should your insurance. 

 

To guide is to show or indicate the way, or have influence on a course of action.  How can we guide ourselves?  We can:

 

  • Be intentional about being intentional.  Think and feel into what you want.  Write it down.  Post a picture.  Look at it often.  Let your own words guide you. 
  • Get quiet.  Get off autopilot and tune in.  Connect with yourself.  Stop numbing yourself with whatever your drug of choice is – TV, social media, sex, food, alcohol, gummies – and connect with your intuition, your inner wisdom, your inner guide.  She knows.
  • Connect with spirit, the universe, nature, God, Buddha, whatever your name is for your higher power.  Ask questions.  And listen.  Don’t forget to listen, and pay attention. 
  • Get creative! Write, paint, garden, play an instrument, take a stained glass or macrame class, or whatever your heart desires.  Open yourself to creativity and let it guide you.

 

If you resonate with any of this at all, I encourage you to explore this further. 

 

Get curious. Ask questions.  Read the book, Mother Hunger, talk to your therapist, explore with a coach.  Most of all, remember, you deserve to be nurtured, protected and guided now, even if you weren’t before.  

 

Healing is a process that takes time, peeling the onion of our lives.  Be patient.  Be kind.  Be kind to yourself and to others.  You never know what someone else is going through. Who knows? It may be similar to your story.  Maybe you can support each other. 

 

As women, we heal privately AND together.  We are collaborative by nature.  We heal and grow with nurture.  Let nature and nurture soothe your soul.  Much love, Michelle

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