The US has a long history of paying moms lip-service and little more. Once a year, we’re showered with spa gift cards and brunches as gestures that what we do — raise children — is valued and respected. Moms are told to “take care of themselves” via a variety of self-care methods that, let’s face it, often cost money and are only available to moms of a certain privilege; a way to recognize that moms are notoriously overworked, underpaid, and undervalued without actually doing anything to fix it except give us more things to do.
Meanwhile, we continue to live in a country that refuses to provide mandatory paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, universal childcare, affordable health care, access to perinatal mental health care, and that has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation.
And now that we’re continuing to endure a public health crisis that is disproportionately impacting working moms — especially Black moms and moms of color — we’re being bombarded by “remember, self-care!” messages that seem comical at best, and insulting at worst.
What we need is systemic change that reconfigures how working mothers are treated and supported. And in the wake of COVID-19, when more people are working from home than ever before, we have seen the myriad of ways in which we could monumentally alter the workplace to best fit the needs of mothers and other caregivers. Instead of urging moms to find the non-existent “work-life balance,” we could ditch the 40-hour work week (the US is the most overworked nation in the world), mandate paid time off on the federal level, and provide universal health care so a person’s access to health insurance is not tethered to their employment status. We could enact mandatory paid family leave, so moms have the time they need to recover from childbirth and/or bond with their babies. We could pass the equal pay act, to ensure that moms are paid as much as dads, and that Black and brown women are paid just as much as white women.
There are honestly so many things we could do to support moms. This much we know.
Until that day, though, it is important and worthwhile to remind moms that they deserve to be cared for too. That they are more than the work they do as moms, and it is vital that they create and hold boundaries that make it possible for them to “fill the well,” so-to-speak. Whether it’s a quiet 20-minute morning meditation, a sign on the door that lets everyone, including your children, know that this moment is your time to focus on one thing and one thing only, a bath, or the use of essential oils, like those offered by Mountain Meadow Herbs, even the smallest moments of self-care can help moms avoid burnout.
Be it a glass of wine, CBD oil, or extracts and formulas that promote calm, like Mountain Meadow Herbs’ HB Formula, which can bring about a calming sense of balance, reminding mothers who are managing a variety of responsibilities simultaneously that they need to prioritize themselves in whatever way works best for them bucks the notion that being a good mom means being a martyr for your family.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor (although a multi-hour stay at a spa sounds like heaven right now), either. We can all work to normalize finding ways to invest in small acts of wellness throughout the day — using a Frankincense tonic, which is known to reduce stress, or making a protein shake to start the day refreshed.
Changing this country in a lasting and significant way will, of course, take time. And none of the aforementioned proposed changes that would make daily reminders of self-care obsolete, are new. They’ve been discussed many times over, and in order to come to fruition they would require political support that, to date, has been severely and disappointingly lacking.But that doesn’t mean these proposals should be forgotten or that the work to make them a reality is a waste. And, in the meantime, we can all do more to remind moms — ourselves most of all — that we are worthy of the same love, care, and attention that we give to those around us.
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