Hey expectant, new, and/or experienced Mama! What are you doing right now? Yes, at this exact moment. Are you thinking about the myriad of tasks (wash clothes, clean the house, check your emails, call the plumber, get your hair done, pick up the kids, etc.) you have to complete before the end of the day? Perhaps you've finished reflecting on how grateful you are and can sit still enough to tune into what your body needs in this moment. If you're unable to do the latter, it's okay, every mother needs a reminder to rest without guilt.
Oftentimes, our modernized society sells mothers the message that a mother must be productive every waking minute. If not, then they're an underachieving mom. But what does productive really mean? There are several definitions of productive, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1: having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance
2: effective in bringing about
3a: yielding results, benefits, or profits
3b: yielding or devoted to the satisfaction of wants or the creation of utilities
Take a look at definition "3a," a mother who is resting can actually be productive simultaneously, "yield results, benefits, and profits" in her overall health and well-being. Allow me to explain. When a mother is resting she is allowing her brain to function at its optimal level. The primary function of the brain is to control the central nervous system. Our brains are responsible for processing information, solving problems, reasoning, expressing emotion, storing memories, feeling pain and so much more (Ashwell, 2016). Simply put, the brain is a badass computer. To me, the characteristics of the brain sound a lot like expectations of mothers. When your child doesn't know how to complete their homework, who do they ask...Mom. When your spouse needs help with an issue at work, what do they say, "Mama, how should I go about.... "(it's funny because after a while your spouse refers to you as Mom instead of your name...lol). Moms are considered the walking activity planner and have to recall in .25 seconds the schedule of everyone in the household to avoid double booking an activity on the same day. In order to sustain the lifetime of moms there has to be change.
I propose changing the narrative and encourage mothers to rest more. Here are some real life scenarios of moms that deserve rest and should never be negotiated. For instance, a pregnant mom is literally growing a baby human within her body. Proper rest increases the likelihood that baby fully develops and mother gives birth full-term. A mother who is in the postpartum period needs rest to physically heal, mentally process her experience, whether loss or delivery of a newborn. An experienced mom needs rest to make it through the day of managing the various roles she may wear in her family, community, and career.
I recognize the holiday season is approaching which for some can bring about all sorts of emotions. However, my charge to all mother's, no matter where you fall along the motherhood spectrum, is to REST! Your body will appreciate you for doing so, in fact you will be more PRODUCTIVE as a result.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Productive. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/productive?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld
Ashwell, Ken. (2016). The human body atlas. Chartwell books.