Women—and moms especially—are typically excellent at giving to the people they love but could use a little extra practice in receiving.
As a mom, you give an abundant amount of time, energy, love, sustenance, safety, and more to your kids and perhaps to your partner, too—even if it takes every inch of what you have to offer.
But just as much as you give, it’s important to receive.
In my work, I help kids and adults restore their lives through movement, mindfulness, and creativity. In other words, my work is a form of self-care, and I spend much of my time helping people—especially kids and their moms—practice receiving.
When you allow yourself to receive from others and, most importantly, from yourself, it can make the difference between struggle and ease.
Additionally, when you practice receiving, something remarkable happens in your children. They see that the giver of life (you!) is also a receiver of life. Meaning you enjoy and live your life just as much as you provide joy and life to others. This gives them permission to do the same and opens the door to incredible growth and development.
Below are a few simple ways you can practice receiving and why, as a mom, you will want to!
1. Model how to receive: Just say thank you.
Receiving can be as simple as accepting a compliment or an offer of assistance. If someone tells you, "I don't know how you do it, you look amazing!," just say, "Thank you!"
Often we divert praise, saying something like, "Oh, you're just saying that" or "I feel like a wreck."
Same goes for offers of help. We say, "Oh, I've got it, don't worry." When really, we could use the help. Yet another opportunity to practice saying, "Thank you."
When your child sees or hears you divert praise or resist help, they learn to do the same thing. If you want them to be able to receive praise, to believe yes, I do look amazing, I am doing amazing things in the world, and I can also receive support to help me achieve everything I do in the world, then it starts with you showing them how.
2. Let your kids have a chance to give too.
A huge part of my job (and any mom's purpose) is giving kids love. I rub their feet and back; I hold points to relieve tension. Whatever they need to help heal, I offer it with joy and encourage the moms I work with to do the same.
Almost every single child client of mine eventually—or right away—offers to do the same for me.
Rather than saying, "Oh, there's no time for me" or "Oh, this is just for you," something that I've witnessed many a mom say, I encourage it!
Here's why: When I say, "Yes, it is my turn, thank you so much,” not only do they learn about sharing and giving love, they also better learn how to do the techniques. They become the teacher and, in doing so, have the power to heal themselves and others.
What I teach them becomes a lived experience, something they know how to repeat and use without my guidance.
3. Take a few minutes to center yourself—and see what happens.
Picture a morning where everything goes wrong, the kids are screaming, you’re running late, your spouse is in a rush, and on top of that you haven't eaten, you didn't take a moment to catch your breath, and you are so run-down that you want to cry and scream louder than your kids.
Now picture the same morning. Everything goes wrong, the kids are screaming, you’re running late, your spouse is in a rush, but this time you ate breakfast, took two minutes to say your favorite mantra and breathe, and, even though the world is rushing by, you feel ready to dance with whatever comes your way.
I'll bet in the first scenario you were a little more harsh with the kids, spouse, and yourself, which only made each respond in turn with more turmoil. Whereas in the second, your calm and steady attitude helped the entire energy of the house improve.
I see it with myself and with my clients all the time. If I am restored, the energy around me is lighter. If I am drained, then the kids I work with are fussy.
Your kids, spouse, friends, and coworkers can feel the difference between a cared-for you and an ignored you. And the more you take care of yourself, the easier everything else becomes.
One final note: Remember that self-forgiveness can be the highest form of self-care—because beating yourself up for not taking care of yourself defeats the purpose of taking care of yourself! (One of my favorite personal mottos: Do your best and forgive yourself for the rest.)