by Mariam Middleton, Founder of Sydney City Mums and social worker
Mothers, know that you are your daughters very first female role model. What is important for you to show your daughter about motherhood? Are you a mother who does everything for everyone else and does not prioritise herself. Or, a mother who values herself, she is an individual with her own needs, values, and interests.
Children observe what we say and what we do, even when it’s not directed at them. They pick up on a lot more than what we as adults may give them credit for, especially emotions. According to a 2008 study, by Shannon and Shaw, daughters “learn about leisure, leisure values and attitudes, and make leisure choices based on the behaviours they observed in their mothers.” Daughters are learning from their mothers that having some “me-time” and taking part in fulfilling activities is great and terribly important.
However we all know that there are hurdles often in the way here to being a great role model for our children. Probably the biggest hurdle with self-care or fitting in “me-time” for mums is time. However, self-care is not always about major life changes, it can also be little things. Self-care is not always about doing something; it could mean practicing self-compassion. Self-compassion involves acknowledging the struggle and being kind to oneself.
How can we be a better conscious role model? Try the following easily applied behaviours to demonstrate healthy self-care, mindset and attitudes to your young women ( and boys too!) in training.
- Tip 1. Demonstrate that you value yourself by prioritising your needs, the messy house can be wait.
- Tip 2. Demonstrate that you are an individual with your own hobbies and interests, in addition to your caring role. If your interests are in fitness, involve the kids and exercise together.
- Tip 3. Deliberately use language that demonstrates you value yourself.
- Tip 4. Role model positive self-talk.
- Tip 5. Share the mother-load by asking for help. You are modelling to your children that asking for help is not a weakness but an insightful strength.
Reference: Shannon, C. S., & Shaw, S. M. (2008). Mothers and daughters: Teaching and learning about leisure. Leisure Sciences, 30(1), 1–16