A journey of wellness & self-care through empowerment, education, and understanding.
I created my Health Advocacy major with the idea in mind that I simply wanted to help people feel their best as well as create a shared understanding of responsibility with individuals of which screams, I am there for them in any way. I want people to know that achieving health is not simple, yet the steps can be small and simple. I have undeniably been in love babies and feel passionate about the magic of birth, women’s rights, and family medicine. I also, undeniably feel open about how lost I am in what that means for my future as I spend so much time caring for
my own baby (she’s 5 now so maybe I should stop calling her a baby *sad face*), and most often forget to think for myself. This does not mean I lack passion for my education or don’t care for what I am learning, it simply means I have let myself go. Mentally, emotionally, physically, let myself go.
Once a baby enters your life, there is a magical moment where your sense of purpose is formed (or redirected) and I think it is amazing. I live and breathe for my child and I would not have it any other way, most would agree they feel the same. BUT what we (parents/guardians/caregivers) find in purpose, we quickly lose in self-care. For some this might mean relationships with our partner’s get tough, we no longer find time for the gym, we eat cheese doodles for breakfast after cooking eggs and cutting up fruit for the kids, we neglect getting a hair cut for over a year, and sometimes we forget about our personal passions. Not to say my personal passion is not simply to love my baby, because I wish I could just live off hoola hooping and making cookies, but I can’t. As a mother, you enjoy what you do with your children, but you lose a sense of self along the way in terms of individualizing yourself from your child. Some days are fun, some days are tough. Your child has a melt down, you have a melt down, it is what it is.
What some forget to remember is:
- IT IS WHAT IT IS.
- Parenting is damn hard.
- It’s ok to not be ok.
I forget those things all the time and that is ok.. You are only human. You might have to be responsible for another tiny human, but you are only human. You can only do your best and that is good enough! Through realization of my faults as Madison and as Mommy, this aided me in realizing how much I don’t have my shit together. I don’t eat properly, I don’t achieve the recommended amount of physical activity, I’ve formed a sense of self-diagnosed generalized anxiety, I don’t sleep enough, I don’t keep stress to a minimum, and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I can list my “do nots” for days, BUT what I learned is that I do have education and ability to relate. I have an understanding of how hard it can be to parent when you don’t have the best sense of handle on your own health. I have academic and professional resources AND the ability to access, identify validity, and recap them in a relatable and realistic way for other’s to read. With my strengths and weaknesses in mind, I created a wellness blog dedicated to Mom’s. Being a mother can be one of the largest barriers to an individual’s wellness. With hours of research into finding a place to access realistic information about how to care for yourself which caring for a child that is grounded in academic/professional research as well as holds a sense of reliability- I FOUND NOTHING! There was no area in the vast black hole that is The Google, which provided a resource for improving and empowering wellness dedicated to mother’s which was not trying to sell me products, medications, or therapy. After learning so much about Open Pedagogy which is a learning style summarized in 4 points:
- Approaches education from a “commons” orientation, advocating for the sharing of resources, ideas, and power;
- Bakes access and accessibility into the design of its assignments, courses, programs, and institutions;
- Empowers learners to contribute to– not just consume– knowledge;
- Connects learners with their scholarly and professional communities of practice.
I understood my potential to extend open pedagogy through a blog which utilized my learning in nursing, psychology, medical sciences, social work, sociology, health education, and marketing. Mommy’s Time Out is just that, a time out area for mother’s to go for support, education, humor, and empowerment. With the goal of sharing knowledge based on the fact that being and becoming the best you, allows you to be the best parent possible for your child. With the proper attitudes, behaviors, and skills to care for yourself in all six dimensions of health, as a parent, you are better able to care for that tiny human in every way possible.
There is an immense pressure to focus all attention on the child, which is great because children need attention and to be cared for in every way possible to help them grow into kind and respectful functioning members of society. BUT there is little focus on how important it is to care for yourself as a parent. One can not successfully parent without caring for themselves. It’s just like when the flight attendants give the safety speech informing you to put on your oxygen mask before you put on the mask of another person or help anyone in any way. If you cannot help yourself, there is little help you can truly do for someone else. I feel that I sound so dramatic, but it’s the truth.
With that in mind, I identified challenges mothers face to caring for themselves, barriers to their health that create barriers to parenting or caregiving, and ways they advocate for their wellness. For the first couple weeks of the project identify resources and articles that related to specific topics regarding health and wellness. With categories based on different aspects
of wellness and self-care, I wrote short articles relating the topics to sources of valid, research oriented material. For 5 weeks, I wrote two articles each week based on stories I read, research I found, and videos I watched. I added an area to share blog posts that were not grounded in research or education materials to simply share personal stories about my journey as a mother towards personal wellness. It felt important to identify myself as a knowledgable individual on the topic of health and wellness, but also highlight the no judgement area as parenting is hard, kids are crazy, and no one is perfect. By marketing myself as relatable and knowledgable I cover vast ground of identification with my readers and validity in my posts.
Creation of an education based wellness blog was challenging in that I had to utilize my limited knowledge of website and branding development to sell myself and my knowledge. Creation of the blog was a bit difficult as I simply could not pick a theme to save my life. I am not 100% happy with the theme and layout, but that is
where I should have more time dedicated to development. I also found it challenging yet rewarding to attempt to write articles that were educational yet inspirational to support individuals to care for themselves a part of lifestyle changes. I wanted to make sure that I made posts specific yet general at first. Specific in nature so there is continued room for additional articles, but general to share an initial notion to readers about my style of writing and humor. I narrowed my target market down to mothers that are able to identify barriers to their health, but next time I think I would narrow the target market down even further. By narrowing the audience, I would be able to write an abundance of articles specific to a want and need. I plan on continuing my blog as a portfolio and as a self-care method for myself. I found it empowering and personally reflective to connect every day ideas or questions to resources and current articles. As I am able to further understand myself and my audience, I will most likely work to narrow my article focuses.
Through an open access resource, I was able to marketing wellness in simple ways and work towards selling health as a lifestyle through simple behavior changes.
Mommy’s Time Out, visit, read, share.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.