Mother Comes First

It’s time to expose and debunk some of the common motherhood myths that suggest mothers should always be selfless, exhausted, and happy about it.

By Dr. Lisa N. Folden, PT

Video Transcript:

Hello, everyone, my name is Dr. Lisa Folden. I’m a licensed physical therapist and mom lifestyle coach. I own healthy fit physical therapy and wellness consultants in Charlotte, North Carolina.


I absolutely love what I do. I focus on helping busy mothers find their healthy. And today I want to talk to you about the topic of mother comes first. I am going to be exposing and debunking some of the common motherhood myths that suggest mothers should be selfless, exhausted, and happy about it.


Okay, so please take a seat, grab a pen and paper and jot down some notes. And I hope that this speaks to you in some way and liberates you in others.


What are some common beliefs that you can think of, things that you’ve said or heard said, or maybe things that you’ve never said that we sort of put on mothers, some of the attributes or things that we think they should be or do? For me, the ones that come to mind is a mother should be tired, right? I’ve fallen into that trap as a mother of three, someone will say, how are you doing? And I’m like, I’m tired. I haven’t even taken inventory of how I actually feel. It’s just tired. Because I’m a mother. Right? I’m doing all the things.


I also think that mothers are often expected to be thankless, you know, as if the work that we’re doing is not to be held in any esteem. It’s what we’re supposed to do, because we chose to have children, right? So if we have a lot going on, it’s because it’s the life that we chose. And so a thank you isn’t always necessary. And sometimes when we get those thank yous, we’re quick to shun them like, Oh, no, it’s fine. It’s fine. You know, no big deal. But it is a big deal.


The other thing that comes to my mind when I think about what we expect, and you know, a sort of an unconscious expectation from women and for mothers is that we should be self sacrificing all the time. All of our comforts and needs come last, everyone else’s come first. And today, I want to tell you to throw those beliefs away. I want to tell you that while motherhood is of course, going to require some sacrifice, and it’s a wonderful journey, but having this attitude all the time that you’re exhausted, you’re tired, you don’t deserve any thanks, your needs don’t matter, is very problematic.


It’s problematic for three reasons. The first reason is because it creates resentment toward those that we love. How does it do that? Well, over time, if you give, give, give, give, give, give, give, and you are never being given to, no one else is pouring back into you either because they’re overlooking it, or you’re dismissing them, and then you’re not mindful of pouring back into yourself, you become empty. And when we become empty, we become angry. And when we become angry, we start to resent the people that are closest to us. So we start to resent the title of motherhood or the title of wife, we start to resent sometimes our children, sometimes our spouses, other family members that we’re helping. So it’s really important to not build a hardened heart and create that resentment. That is why we need to get rid of some of these thought processes.


The second thing that it does is it sets an unrealistic example for our children and our future generations. And this should be a big one for moms, because we’re all about what’s best for the kids, right. So the more children see us doing, doing, doing, doing, never resting, never rejuvenating, never refilling. They believe that that is the way mothers should be. And our daughters grow up and they idolize that thought process. They idolize that vision of motherhood, our sons grew up, and they make the assumption that the woman that they choose to spend the rest of their lives with will also be that way. We don’t want to create roles and positions for our children, unconsciously, that ultimately can hurt them and impact them negatively as they get older.


The third reason why we need to get rid of these beliefs and these thought processes associated with motherhood is because it inhibits our ability to be great mothers because our cups are never full. I am a better mother, when I’m well rested, when I am relaxed, when I’m happy, when I’m full. If I constantly neglect myself, I cannot operate at the level of motherhood that I want for my life for my children for my future for myself.


So let’s change the narrative together ladies, we do not deserve less. In fact, we deserve more. This should be an affirmation you repeat daily. I do not deserve less. I deserve more. Because we do. We bring life into this world and we nurture that life and send beautiful humans out into the world. We should be rewarded and we should be looked at as something to be proud of for those things.


While we may sacrifice things for our family That should not be the expectation day in and day out. We deserve to have things for ourselves as well. We teach people how to treat us, and it’s our responsibility to request, expect and sometimes demand more. Yeah, sometimes you have to demand it. And that is okay. Sometimes I tell my children, this is mommy time, please leave. Twenty minutes I close my bedroom door and lock it. I focus on me, meditating, sleeping, working out, whatever I need to do. Don’t feel guilty about that. Let’s stop idolizing the idea that the slaving mother who refutes any identity outside of that of her children or spouse is to be looked at and adored. We are women first. And we should have our own lives, our own interests, our own occupations, our own habits, things that make us happy.


There’s nothing wrong with being your own person outside of motherhood. We are whole complete women. And when we care for our own needs first, not second, third, fourth or fifth, then we are even better mothers.

Dr. Lisa N. Folden is a licensed physical therapist and mom-focused lifestyle coach. As a movement expert and women’s health advocate, Dr. Lisa works to help busy moms find their ‘healthy.’ The owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, NC, Dr. Folden works with clients recovering from orthopedic and neurological injuries. Additionally, she assists busy moms seeking a healthier lifestyle by guiding their food, exercise and wellness choices through optimal organization, planning strategies and holistic goal setting. A regular contributor to online and print articles on topics related to health, wellness, self-care, motherhood, pregnancy and pain, Dr. Lisa has had the distinct honor of being featured in Oprah Magazine, Shape Magazine, Livestrong, Bustle and several others.

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