Self Care and Black Moms
Self-care is “an act of political warfare” not only because the personal is indeed political, but because when black women take care of themselves, they challenge the myth of the superwoman (Michele Wallace) and simultaneously challenge structures of oppression that praise black women for being the perpetual “mules of the world” (Zora Neale Hurston).
Self-care is vital for black women, particularly black mothers. In discussions among my friends we all chat about self-care as if its some luxury idea that we’ve only now began to embrace. When do we embrace self-care? Typically, we embrace it when we are worn to bits, shredded and stretched beyond belief and at our very lowest of points. We can all point to an image of our mothers working endless jobs, raising children and fighting in a world where she was expected to do it all, be it all and solve it all leaving very little time or emotional flexibility for herself. When we grow up with these models of what it’s like to “mother” how can we expect to know or do any better?
Just like education and the strive for a better childhood than we had black mothers must place value on self-care as a requirement for the key to our emotional and mental health. Black women must acknowledge and take active steps to rest, realign and reduce stressors in our everyday lives. While this is much easier said than done it is not impossible. Racism, sexism, micro aggressions and overt racism plague black women and black mothers at home, within our communities and at the work place. Self-care is a way to deflect upon these assaults of our bodies and minds. We can create intentional pathways to our own healing and personal development. What can self-care for black mothers and women look like? I’m glad you asked…
1. Professional body work (massage, acupuncture, cupping, yoga, cycling or boxing)
2. Professional Psychotherapy or Life Coaching
3. Creation- Do more of what you enjoy i.e. cooking, painting, singing, drawing, traveling. Do these activities strictly for pleasure.
4. Sex. Sex has a way of rejuvenating the soul (especially when its with the right partner)
5. Communication. Let your partner know you need time to focus inward. Schedule a “me” day once a month. No negotiations.
6. Utilize an online community for support. This could be watching Instagram or Facebook lives that encourage you to grow and provide the encouragement you need to put yourself first.
7. Ask for help. Sometimes help is simply shooting a text and saying “Girl you got a minute”
8. Setting boundaries with children. Children as young as four can easily understand the concept of quiet time. Set a nap schedule or quiet time schedule where you can read an article, sip some tea and your child can color QUIETLY or watch a program for 30 minutes.
9. Take a shower daily. No negotiations. Life is busy and post partum life is rough but I promise no one will deny you a shower.
10. Make YOUR favorite meal and enjoy every single bite. Don’t count the calories, carbs or sugar. Eat the food that makes you smile. Trust yourself.
While we thank our ancestors and the mothers that came before us, this Black History Month thank yourself and take time to take care of YOU.