The Mother's Bill of Rights is a reclaiming of the rights that the current culture of sacrificial motherhood would strip from us. It is a commitment to ourselves and to our families that we will not diminish ourselves or them by placing these parts of us on the altar of motherhood. We will be whole human beings. This is the gift we give to ourselves, our children, and our world. Click here to access the entire series in order.
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Article Three: Space
How claustrophobic is your life? Do you have room to breathe? A place to call your own? Space is a human need and motherhood can make us forget that. But I want to remind you right now that you have a right to take up space. You have a right to space that is only yours.
It starts slowly. Maybe you decorated and filled a nursery, maybe you made a special place in your bedroom, maybe you welcomed an older child to a room of their own. Slowly your house becomes their house too. And that's the way it's supposed to be, this is what you wanted.
Your purse is now filled with snacks, tissues, the rock they handed you for no reason, the keychain they made that you can't let go of, the permission slip you forgot to give back to them, the card they wrote to their favorite teacher two years ago.
Your car looks like a cross between a dumpster, a backpack, a closet, and a toy store.
Your phone is full of apps for kids.
There is a size 2T sock in your dresser drawer.
I call it kid creep and like a lot of things about motherhood it's funny...but not really. Yes, everyone found it hilarious when I tried to put on my 2-year-old's sock one morning (pre-caffeine, this MUST be made clear).
But is there a place in your home that is just for you? Do you have space in your life?
Physical space: a chair, a desk, a room, a closet - whatever!
Mental space: time to think about yourself, a journal, therapy, etc.
Emotional space: daydreams, wishes, art, reading, music, creation.
How have you shrunk yourself so that you fit into your family's routine? So that you make their lives flow more smoothly? So that you help their days run seamlessly?
From the moment that women arrive in this society as babies, we are told to shrink ourselves. The goal is to be thinner, smaller, softer - to be low-maintenance, to be easy to love. This is replayed in motherhood where the goal of the mother is to fade into the background. The mother should be there to support, to guide, to give, to nurture, to pour and pour and pour out and not to take up space.
What would it look like if you stood in the center of your family? How would it change your life if they flowed around you, with whatever hills & gullies that created, instead of you bending & twisting yourself to fit inside their world?
Can you imagine a family where each member was allowed, even encouraged, to take up space? To express their needs honestly? To be fully human?
There are so many ways you might start to take up more space in your life. It begins with the mindset shift that we are worthy of space. I love the exercise of the Superhero Pose because it literally makes you stick your arms out and take up more space. Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, brace your fists on your hips, tilt your chin up slightly and hold the pose for anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes depending on whose teaching you follow. It makes you feel grounded, it makes you feel powerful, it opens your chest and lets you take more expansive breaths, and in this pose, you take up more space.
How can you superhero pose in your emotional life?
How can you superhero pose in your relationships?
How can you superhero pose in your inner life? Yes, inside your own mind! Are you continually focused on what everyone else in your life needs to the point where you aren't even taking up space in your own head? If so - you are not alone.
It's time to push our elbows out in our lives. It is time to create physical space for ourselves - claim that bookshelf, reorganize that drawer, push back the kid creep and reclaim that corner. It doesn't have to be a whole room (although if you can get it, GO FOR IT), the act of reclamation can be as important as the amount of space.
Put your favorite song on in the car.
Put your favorite movie on the TV.
Put your favorite book on the family reading list (stop freaking out that you don't have a family reading list).
Be more intentional.
TAKE UP SPACE.
Get Started Today
Get the conversation started right now by sharing about The Mother’s Bill of Rights on Facebook or Twitter with #momsbillofrights and let everyone know what right you are reclaiming today!
Don't forget to download a pdf of The Mother’s Bill of Rights so that you can hang it on your fridge, put it into your journal, make it your desktop background, or just have it on hand as a reminder that you are still YOU.