As a mom, you are always taking care of your family and your kids, and like a lot of women, you are always the one giving. You are the one that does everything for everyone else. But I want to ask you: who is looking after you?
Just like you take care of your children, the truth is that you need someone to take care of you, too. To love you, to care for, and to see you. When you allow yourself to be taken care of, you become healthier, happier, and able to give more to those around you.
In this episode, I’m encouraging you to consider how your life would be different if you changed your mindset to become someone who not just gives all of the time, but allows people to give back to you. Discover why, as a mom, allowing people to take care of you is necessary to your wellbeing, and how to prioritize your own needs as well as everyone else’s.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey there. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for your reviews. I read every single one. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being a part of this community. Without you in it, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this. So thank you for making this all possible and for allowing me to get these tools and resources out to so many other women and amazing moms. I appreciate you being here so, so, so much.
With that, today, I want to talk with you about who mothers mom. So this topic stems from two resources I recently came across. I listened to the Raising Good Humans podcast season two episode 17 called Who Is Mothering Mom? I read the book The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson. Both of these resources lead me to think about how we allow ourselves to be mothered.
So as we get started, I want you to think about if you allow people to take care of you. Or if you struggle with this, like a lot of women, and instead you find yourself wanting to do all of the taking care of. So if you think about it, as a mom if you are taking care of your family and your kids and you are always the one giving, are you allowing people to give back to you and feel like you are being mothered and taken care of?
I find that culturally, particularly in the United States, mom is seen as Superwoman who is supposed to do it all. She is rewarded for how much she gets done. Of course there is always more to do. So the more items you check off of your to-do list, the better you are as a person. So you’re always adding more and wanting to do more. You end up giving so much to everyone else. This is the ‘I need to do everything for everyone always’ mentality.
The problem with this is that you’re trying to achieve your worthiness. You’re thinking that if I do more, if I achieve more, if I cross more off this to-do list, I am somehow better. I am doing a good job. I am meeting that Superwoman supermom standard that we’ve all set as a society. The problem with this is that when you try to do this all of the time without allowing someone to mother you, you will feel drained and overwhelmed and tired and like you have no more left to give.
I think because of this limiting belief that we need to do everything for everyone always and the belief that it’s important for us to measure up as some super mom or superwoman, we find ourselves really unable and unwilling to receive. To be taken care of. So we struggle with prioritizing ourselves. We struggle to say we need someone to hold us, to take care of us, to love us.
What I want to shed light on today is bringing more awareness to this so that you can see if this is something that you’re struggling with. For me, I am much more in balance with this now, but I wasn’t always that way. That’s what I want to talk with you about and give you an example here. I was someone who always had to do it all. I had this belief that that made me strong.
So I can remember back before I was married. When I was dating, I would give, give, give and pretty much expect very little in return. I really felt like I had to be in charge of and do everything. So I ended up being in my masculine energy a lot.
If you haven’t listened to the episode of masculine versus feminine energy, that is an episode I would listen to after this where I talk about how the masculine energy is always doing and being really go, go, go and achievement oriented whether that’s achieving a goal or just checking off your to-do list. For me, it was a little bit of both. It’s to-do lists, being type A, and just having that forceful energy all the time.
The opposite of that is the feminine energy where you are receiving, and you are in flow and you’re allowing things to come to you instead of going after things. Basically what I explain in the episode is how you really want both. So we don’t want to be too far on either extreme.
So when I was too far on my masculine energy, I didn’t let people take care of me. I wouldn’t have said this explicitly, and this is why I really wanted to do an episode on this. I don’t think that we as women say it like this. We don’t say, “No one can take care of me.” Instead we make it sound positive. Like I’m doing so much. I’m getting so much done. I’m giving in this way. It’s this energy of, “I’m so strong because I’m doing so much.”
For me for dating, this actually led to me dating men who liked to be taken care of because I was in an energy of I like to take care of everyone. I wasn’t balanced and allowing people to take care of me. If you look back at my history with my family and particularly with my dad, this doesn’t come at a surprise for me.
It’s interesting because what served me so much as a child in taking care of so much for my family no longer served me as an adult in those romantic relationships. So it wasn’t until I learned how to let people take care of me, let people love me that I go into balance with the giving and receiving. Then this changed my relationships. Of course that led to me getting married to a wonderful man. Steve and I both give and receive in our marriage.
Also I want you to think about this in terms of being a mom and being a friend. Not just in romantic relationships. I think particularly it comes up as moms. If you are in your identity as a mom trying to be the best mom and you’re always giving, are you also allowing people to give back to you?
One note here that I also want to make is noticing the identity that you give to yourself. So in Grow You I’ll hear women say, “I’m just someone who has to operate from a to-do list. Or this is just my personality to be type A. My personality is I just don’t like to be taken care of.”
I want you to notice that these are all thoughts. These are all thoughts that you’ve made true that are now beliefs and now your identity, but they don’t have to be. So there was a time where I would have identified strongly as someone who was type A and someone who was always getting it done. That was my personality. I really loosened that up. Now do I still run a little bit type A? Yeah, right? I hold onto that a little bit, but not so much like I did before in a way that doesn’t serve me.
So if you’re holding onto a belief like, “My personality is I don’t like to be taken care of.” That is going to block you from receiving love, from being taken care of. It’s totally optional for you to hold onto that belief.
A lot of times we think that these sentences are the truth. So it seems very true that you are someone who is type A and operates from a to-do list, but it’s only true because you’ve made it true. There’s a good book that goes into this more called Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy that I really recommend. He dispelled so many of these limiting beliefs, and I think that you can do this here. I would only suggest holding on to the beliefs that you want, not past beliefs that you no longer want to be true.
So instead of telling the story that you are someone who has to do it all of the time, question that and see if there is something else that’s also true. Like some of the time you like to take care of people and your family, and some of the time you like to be taken care of. Because truthfully you do need someone to take care of you too.
Just like you are a mother to your kids or a caretaker, you need someone to mother you, to love you, to care for you, to see you. Something that I want to point out here is that it shouldn’t be your spouse. Of course you take care of your spouse and of course your spouse takes care of you, but I think in addition to your spouse or your romantic partner there needs to be at least one other person who you are allowing to take care of you.
This also shouldn’t be someone like your therapist or even your life coach. Of course these people love you and care for you, but it’s professional. So if you’re Grow You, I love you. I coach you. We have that relationship that’s amazing. But if you leave, that relationship ends.
So you want to make sure that in addition to your spouse or your partner, in addition to your mental health expert, your therapist, or your life coach, you also have people in your life, friends or extended family. It doesn’t need to be many but maybe one or two people who you really allow into your life to mother you, and how that isn’t weak and that isn’t something to look down upon. It’s actually something that is necessary to your own wellbeing and to your own internal balance.
It’s going to be someone who sees you, who lights up when you’re there, who is comfortable giving to you, who you’re comfortable around, who you can be authentic with and genuine with. Who really is a match for you in terms of seeing you and hearing you and loving you and taking care of you. This person can help take care of you just the way that you take care of your family.
I think that sometimes our default brains go to, “Well, that sounds great, but how do I actually do this? There’s not someone in my life right now.” I think it’s more of a mindset shift than anything. As soon as you start to become someone who says, “Yes, I allow people into my life to take care of me.” Then that will be what you attract.
So when someone offers to go grocery shopping for you, let’s say you just had a baby. Do you let them? Or when your mother-in-law offers to clean. Do you let her? Whenever someone offers to care for you, do you let them?
This, again, is something that I’ve worked on. I love, love, love letting people help me, and I also love helping. So it’s not just that we want to get to the point of where we’re only being taken care of. I think as women and moms that is something we’ll never do right. We are caretakers. We love to help and to take care of people, but it’s in the middle. It’s both. It’s not “I do everything” but it’s also not “everyone does everything for me”. It’s, “I help, and I give, and also I allow people to help me and give to me.”
By allowing someone to take care of you, to support you, to mother you in the way that you mother, in the way that you care for others, you become healthier and happier because you aren’t so drained and exhausted. It’s like recharging your battery. You can then give more. I think it really comes from a mindset shift of allowing people in who are offering.
I think it’s natural to struggle with this, particularly if you are where I was years ago thinking that it’s better to always take care of yourself and always give. I think once you realize that this is sort of what’s happening that you can get into balance with it where you are giving, and you are receiving.
So the idea here is to prioritize your own wellbeing by allowing yourself to be taken care of by someone else, by that one friend or that one extended family member who loves you, who sees you, who offers to help and allowing her in. Letting go of this idea that you have to be the one who does it all for yourself, for your spouse, for your family, for the kids, and on and on and on.
This probably means an identity shift of letting go of being the person who adds more to her to-do list, who has to be the strongest, who has to do everything all of the time.
Instead it’s, “I’m a human being who’s able to give. Also sometimes I need to be taken care of.” It doesn’t mean that I’m weak. It’s not a sign that something’s gone wrong. It’s a sign of my humanity. When you get into the truth of this, when you become more grounded, you’ll become more vulnerable and willing to talk about any hurt or pain or challenges that you’re going through in a way that really is inviting for other people to come in and care for you.
So I want to end with what I started with, which is who is taking care of mom. Who is taking care of you? How would your life be different if you changed your mindset to be someone who not just gives all of the time but as much as you give you allow in people to give to you. So you give as much as you’re willing to receive. All right my friends. I will talk with you next week. Take care.
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