Today, families’ in the United States are celebrating Mother’s day.

Overall, I think it’s a great idea to take a moment and honor the endless efforts of mother’s, especially mother’s of children with autism. Lord knows you deserve it!

But I have one bone to pick about mother’s day.

It only seems to reinforce the misguided notion that once you become a mother, and yes, this is magnified further when you become a mother of a child with autism, all other aspects of who you are seem to no longer be seen or considered.

Part of the reason that all that has been brushed under the carpets is because we are the ones who have put all other aspects of ourselves on the back burner.

What can then happen is that you forgot who you are and along the way and you may lose a sense of empowerment that comes along with self- knowing (who you are, how you feel, what you want, and what you don’t want).

How does this happen?

One long frenetic whirl wind of doing.

What’s the solution?

Time by yourself (and an urgent break from ‘doing’ to ‘being’).

When was the last time you took 20 minutes to be by yourself, to check in with how you are feeling, what you want, what’s pulling you?

Time alone  is my survival tool to living a balance life.

Some of you may have heard me mention in the past that this is how I spend every one of my birthday’s for the last 10 years- by myself (usually coupled with a small family celebration in the evening).

I have found that nothing is more nourishing.  I usually go to a coffee shop, bring along my journal, go for a walk in the forest, and usually tag on a little shopping 🙂

I come home at the end of the day empowered, nourished, full of gratitude and totally in alignment with who I am.

So today, I encourage you to celebrate mother’s day with a twist.

Celebrate yourself as a mother (yes, you are a superwoman and your family is beyond blessed to have you) and THEN, celebrate the whole YOU.

Here are 4 steps in honoring YOU on mother’s day: 

1.Alone Time. Carve out 30 minutes by yourself (no cell phones, no babies nothing!)

2. Reflection.Use this time in a way that cultivates quiet reflection; this can be a walk, sitting down with a journal, hopping over to a local coffee shop, and during this time reflect on this question; “Are there any areas in my life I have neglected? If so, what are they?”. This can be anything- time with girlfriends, exercise, rest, creative expression. Make a list and don’t filter yourself.

3. Action Step. Create an action step.  Based on your response from step #2, create a clear action step to incorporate this aspect that you have neglected back into your life, whether it be a weekly date with a girlfriend, finding a yoga class, etc.

4. Make ‘alone time’ a habit.  My hope for you is that this ‘mothers’ day’ becomes the beginning of celebrating yourself as a person, who is also a mother. But this requires an ongoing habit of reflection and implementation.  I encourage you to schedule in 20- 30 minutes, ideally every day, and if not, at least 3 times a week.

Do you feel guilty about the idea of taking time for yourself?  If so, this is a common issue amongst mothers. Simply remember this-EVERYONE benefits from a mother who is peaceful and empowered, including your child with autism.  You will have a lot more to give when your tank is full (and the resentment that can build from leaving yourself on the back burner for so long begins to dissolve and is replaced with peace and energy).

Are you ready to commit to yourself this mother’s day?  If so, how are you going to use your alone time? Join the conversation by adding your comments below!