The Woman, The Mother

Nicole Serafin - Age 42
Nicole Serafin (Age 42)

Walking into a business this week being complimented on how great I looked, then being met with utter confusion by the clerk as to how I could look so great when she found out I had 2 children (a 6 yr old and a 12 month old), made me ponder on how we women see ourselves when we become mothers.

A lot of women feel a sense of losing their identity after having children – they become someone’s mother. Some also believe it is impossible to maintain the same level of care for themselves when they become mothers.

Why is it that it is so hard for us to continue looking after ourselves in the same way we did prior to having children?

I can totally relate to the challenges motherhood and having children can bring, and the younger the children, the more there is to do for them. But are they truly challenges?

Many women who have kids can relate to the scenario of not being able to shower before 10am, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea while it is still warm or have a long hot bath with some beautiful candles and possibly a drop or two of your favourite oil.

Why don’t we do these simple things once we have children? Do children really stop us from living, or do we choose to make it all about them, and not about us?

For me, having children has made me even more aware of the way in which I support and nurture myself. It can be easy to get lost in the busyness of life, but I make a constant choice every day to make me matter, knowing I am just as important as everyone else.

My meetings with other women and mothers are generally full of “wow, look at you, you look amazing”. Yes, I do look amazing, but I am no different to how I was before I had children.

Nicole Serafin - Woman and Mother of 2
Nicole Serafin
“We can be mothers, but we are and will always be a woman first.”

Our children are now 6 and 1 year old, both needing completely different levels of care from myself as a mother, but within that I create space for myself.

I make myself meals when I am hungry, I sit down for a cup of tea, I take time to get dressed, to catch up with friends occasionally, and to have a bath that is taken not because I had a big day and need it, but because I feel to have one. I even get time to paint my nails, which seems to surprise most mums above all else.

Being a woman should always come first. We need to honour, nurture and support ourselves, then from that livingness of the woman we are, we can then support and be with our children and partners in the fullness of ourselves.

If we choose to deny ourselves the nurturing and support, then we are denying ourselves to be, live and express who we naturally are.

We can be mothers, but we are and will always be a woman first.

By Nicole Serafin, Age 42, Tintenbar, Australia

279 thoughts on “The Woman, The Mother

  1. “Do children really stop us from living, or do we choose to make it all about them, and not about us?” We could use this statement for many things in life as women other than having children, including how we are with our work, the care of our elderly parents, our volunteer work, even the care of pets. I don’t have children but I could very much relate to the line of making something outside of myself my life and neglecting myself. We are so geared as women to get into roles and to lose ourselves, instead of staying present with who we are, and having a loving and caring relationship with ourselves.

  2. “Being a woman should always come first.” Children learn by observing those around them and nurturing and honouring yourself as a woman is to offer a priceless lesson to children – of any age.

  3. We lose our sense of identity in life when our focus changes to the outside more and more, allowing the busyness and pace of life to dictate how we are with ourselves and not maintaining a connection to our essence and the knowing of who we are so we express ourselves through the different roles we take on and not from honouring how we feel and what we innately know to be true from our body.

  4. As women, when we become our roles, whatever they maybe, we deprive the world of our innate womanly qualities that we are here on earth to share unhindered for the evolution of all.

  5. This is super important for all of us as women (and indeed men) to read … we don’t need to become any role, be it a mother, a dedicated worker, whatever, we are ourselves first and we can choose to make space within our lives to honour ourselves no matter how ‘busy’ we are. And in fact it’s a call for us to look at that ‘busyness’ and see if in fact in how we approach our lives are we using it as a way to not connect to ourselves and feel who we truly are.

  6. it’s so easy to identify with and get lost in roles, even as children we are told we “will be a good mother” and other things we are good at. We are not so much acknowledged in our qualities and that being what we will bring to the world as we get older, it’s usually about what we do.

  7. I agree, we then bring this reflection to our children, and the world, ‘For me, having children has made me even more aware of the way in which I support and nurture myself.’

  8. “I make a constant choice every day to make me matter, knowing I am just as important as everyone else.” If we don’t prioritise ourselves, no-one else will do it for us. What a great example you are setting for your children too.

  9. Your commitment to yourself shines through this blog and is such an inspiration to other women whether they are mothers or not as there are plenty of alternative roles that women can choose to lose themselves in.

  10. The principles you share here Nicole, can be applied across all areas of our daily lives as women. Are we being ourselves first, because in all honesty who we are innately as women is not only far greater than any role we undertake, but the innate qualities of a women when claimed and lived, is what humanity needs to progress with true advancement or evolution.

  11. Often I see very competent mothers look distressed outwardly—they appear completely competent and caring as well as nurturing to their children, but there is just something that does not quite add up, they do not look treasured and precious in the precious and very patient way they are treating their children. Something is off in this scenario and I wonder if as mothers we realise this.

  12. “We can be mothers, but we are and will always be a woman first.” A simple truth that asks us to appreciate all that we are.

  13. What a beautiful example you set for women of all ages Nicole but especially the young who feel there is no time for themselves when they have as young family. You share that this is possible.

  14. Women first, that’s so important and one many of us as women do not always heed … and this applies if you have children or not, you can get lost in mothering, in work … there are a myriad of ways and the question for us is do we make the time and space to support us to be us in the world and not just the roles we may do. We are women first … do we live that?

  15. I find myself sometimes going into overwhelm about what there is to be done but the moment I do this I know I have lost myself in fact I have lost myself well before I feel the emotion but by simply nominating when this happens it changes everything. I nominate the picture I have been carrying where I have been placing pressure on myself from the outside putting others expectations on me instead of listening and following what is true to me. By holding on to beliefs about what I should have done in the eyes of another keeps me in the disconnection to myself and to others and by living in this way means there is not one drop of love towards myself or to those around me.

  16. When I was a mother of four young children I was at their beck and call. There was no thought of what I might need to do to take care of myself. I wish I knew what I know today. I certainly know what not to do; in fact I am an expert in this field.

  17. When my son was small I quite liked the bedraggled worn out mother look. I was so identified with being a mother, and being a good mother at that. I thought if I showed the world how much I gave to my child (represented by how much I didn’t give to myself) it would then be known I was a good mum.

  18. Well said Nicole, . . . “If we choose to deny ourselves the nurturing and support, then we are denying ourselves to be, live and express who we naturally are” . . and I will add if we don’t choose to nurture and support ourselves everyone misses out on us for if we exhaust ourselves everyone just gets an exhausted version of us and never the full package. No joy in this for anyone!

  19. Great blog Nicole, I know many mothers who put their children and everyone else first, yet when we look after ourselves first we have a natural quality about us when we are with them, rather than being exhausted trying to keep everyone happy.

  20. Great to explore what it is to truly nurture and support myself in my everyday life rather than getting caught up in doing things for others and then becoming resentful that there is no space for me. I used to put myself at the bottom of the pile but eventually realised that this benefitted no-one and since I have taken increasingly better care of myself I have more to offer others not just on a practical level but also in the reflection I offer of a woman who takes the time to care for herself.

  21. This is a beautiful letter to all mothers, I for one know I have done both, I have days when I loose myself and go into thinking I have to just be there for everyone else. Then there are days where I feel and honour myself as a woman first but there are also days where I feel I don’t connect to my kids enough and am too self focused.
    Finding the balance for me is key, I know that I am not completely taken by being a mother and loosing the woman because people always say to me that they can’t believe I have 5 kids, that I seems so relaxed and look so young, I was also told this when I had 2 children. I know myself as a woman and I love my kids, my trap is thinking that I need my kids to have a great time all the time, instead of just letting them be with me and what ever is happening on the day.

  22. Very inspiring Nicole. What you have shared for me translates to how we are as women in life in general. In being ourselves first, committing to cherishing, nurturing and honoring who we are within, we are then able to live with a fullness that not only enrichens our lives but also the lives of those around us.

  23. Nicole what you are sharing is important for all women, even those of us who do not have children. I work in a caring role and find that I can be easy to slip into the person I am caring for is more important than me. But this soon turns to feelings of exhaustion, resentful and eventually burnout. So we do need to ask ourselves is this true and why we feel that caring for another is more important that caring for ourselves?

    1. Great question Jennifer. It can be very exposing though when we do not play ball with another’s expectations they have on us. It can bring up a lot of hurts in another but I know by listening to me and following that which is true for me is being love and this is the greatest gift I can offer to another.

  24. Like anything .. it makes sense we take deeper care of ourselves after we have kids so our children benefit for all that we choose thereafter. The more we take care of ourselves the more the awareness.

  25. Nicole, I don’t have children but I love your approach and feel so many women I know could benefit from this wisdom. The respect, care, love and nurturing we provide to ourselves as women shouldn’t change in ANY situation.

  26. I certainly got lost in the mothering role when my daughter was little but eventually realised the messages I was giving her were others come first and I don’t matter which is not what I wanted her to grow up feeling so I gradually started making changes to my behaviour and taking better care of myself and the more I did this the more I felt the benefit.

    1. That is very true Helen, I saw that role modelling in my own family and now see it in many others. We think it’s love to place the children first, but they too are simply learning to be self sacrificing as adults.

  27. “Do children really stop us from living, or do we choose to make it all about them, and not about us?” Great question Nicole. If we do not treat ourselves with the same love and care as we treat our children, what message do we give them about what it is to be a woman?

    1. Thanks Mary for highlighting this question, we could replace the word “children” with “Does our job, husband, family member, friend, pet, etc, stop us from living, or do we choose to make it all about them, and not about us?”, and it would still be very relevant to women.

  28. It is us who determine how much time we take for ourselves and the rhythm we live, what needs to be particularly honoured when we have children as we so easily fall for the belief that our children always come first.

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