February – the month of love. This February, I want to mix it up a bit as I encourage you to trying something new and focus on loving yourself. Look into the mirror and say nice things to the person looking back at you. As you work to become more compassionate to yourself, be mindful of that voice inside your head that often speaks in ways we would never speak to anyone else.
I’m starting with you because loving ourselves, taking care of ourselves, being gentle with ourselves, is the most important thing we can do for our children, our relationships and our families. If we aren’t OK, our kids won’t be either. We are so incredibly hard on ourselves and we so often think we are falling short, rather than realizing that our expectations are not reasonable, especially for us moms. Remember to foster self-compassion as you are doing the very best you can with the tools, knowledge and resources you have. Counter to what we have learned, research shows that self-compassion is a strong force in coping and resilience and it greatly improves our mental and physical wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend the book Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Phd.
Loving your kid: Remember that love is spelled T-I-M-E. Real, not distracted, no agenda time - even just ten minutes a day - will make all the difference in your connection and relationship. Meet them where they are and join them in their space. If you have bandwidth or interest in a little project, cut out some hearts and write little notes of what you love about your child (character, not achievements) and tape them to your child’s bedroom door. This is a wonderful way for your child to feel seen and loved for who they are.
Date night? Plan a date night if you don’t have one on the calendar and just remember my two rules: no talking about kids and no talking about money. Even the strongest relationships will wither if they are not nurtured. Connect as partners.
In case you missed it:
Article in Your Teen Magazine - If you, your teen, or someone else in your family or support circle is struggling with body image and eating challenges, Jax has given us an anthem to help slow and reverse the rising trend of ED hell, Read my Can Powerful Lyrics Effect Change in Teens? Jax’s “Victoria Secret” Anthem Succeeds.
Article in Good Morning Wilton - [OP-ED] Domestic Violence: Not What You May Think. It Impacts the Whole Family - and Happens Right Here in Wilton
Webinar Panelist: Navigating the complexities of the mental health system and strategies for sourcing the right help for your family's needs.
Lots of love,
About the Author
Vanessa Elias is a mental health activist, certified parent coach, speaker, and writer featured on NPR, PBS, and in the WSJ. She is the founder of Thrive with a Guide, LLC and serves as a group facilitator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Block Party USA is her passion project. Vanessa helps parents achieve healthier family relationships and lasting, meaningful connections.