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Being A Mother In Recovery

“Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.” -Unknown

Being a mother is the most rewarding job in the world.  It is also the hardest.  People often ask women how do you do it? In the world of women what we do as mothers and as job holders is an unfortunate debate. Women face inequality in many areas of the world, the worst of which, is often among each other. On the one hand, being a mother is celebrated as a beautiful journey and a necessity to the survival of mankind. On the other hand, being a mother- the full time job that it is- isn’t seen as a highly regarded position. Being a mother, having a career, living in recovery, and still being an individual is a bewildering accomplishment. How do we do it?

It is a question most women ask themselves at night before their head hits the pillow. Before falling asleep, before our last round of to-do lists, worries, concerns, frustrations, and dreams go swirling in our minds we wonder how we did it today- and how we’re going to do it tomorrow.   

Women face unconscionably high expectations. Women who are mothers face these expectations tenfold. As mothers we often feel like nothing we do is ever done as well as we would have liked. More often than not, there is someone else with the same opinion, more than willing to share with us. Finding balance, managing perfectionism and challenging both personal as well as socially implicated “mommy guilt” is something we face daily. Mothers in recovery have all of this worldly pressure on top of another critical daily challenge: staying sober. We are told in recovery to take it “one day at a time”. When you’re a mom, that day can feel like a thousand years. It is imperative for women that self-care always be a priority in their lives. Many women will be asking themselves that familiar question: how. The more important focus should be: why.

Consider the example of oxygen mask instructions given on airplane flights. Flyers are given a simple instruction: put your mask on first before helping anyone else. Most often these videos display two vulnerable populations as needing to be helped: elderly and children. Before helping our children get oxygen we have to give oxygen to ourselves. This critical metaphor stems beyond the airplane. As mothers, we would die to give our last breath to our child if they were in need. As mothers who have lived as addicts and alcoholics, we can admit that even at our worst, our children weren’t enough to stop our addiction- no matter how desperate they were for us to.

We must care for ourselves before we can care for anyone else or the results could be catastrophic.  Our ability to be happy, healthy women relies on our willingness to take good care of ourselves. Though ‘free-time’ is a laughable matter for most moms, the time has to be made. Spare time? We’d love some. Creating time to make time for mommy time is critical. Like scheduling play dates for your kids, you need to schedule a date with yourself. Taking care of you is one of the best things you can do for others. A tired, flustered, exhausted, drained, deprived mommy usually is not her best. It happens to the best of us. Self-care is what helps us be our best selves which helps us be better for everyone else.

Give yourself permission to have fun!  You may want to even journal about the things you enjoyed doing before life got so busy and ask yourself what your deepest needs are.  Then write a letter to yourself reminding yourself of how precious you are and how much you need this- how much you deserve this. Schedule one small thing each day and one larger thing each week. Motherhood and recovery isn’t a life sentence. This beautiful blend of life circumstances are life opportunities. Surround yourself with people who support your journey on becoming your best you. When it’s time to take care of you, ask everyone else to give you that space. Demand it. It’s yours.

Villa Tranquil is a unique opportunity for women to attend a transitional care facility after treatment. Take your time to heal and gain your life back in our beautiful estate home on Jupiter Farms, Florida. Call (561) 294-0427 for information.