Dear Moms: You Matter

03/12/2015 12:12 pm ET | Updated May 12, 2015
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As mothers, we fight battles and put out fires (metaphorically speaking, I hope) every day. We tend to wounds. We teach and guide. We read and color and drink imaginary tea. We discipline and forgive.

And we sacrifice.

Even I, who was so unprepared for parenthood, knew that this adventure would require sacrifice.

We sacrifice our bodies as we grow a little human inside of us, stretch marks racing up our underbelly and organs rearranging themselves to make room for their new womb-mate.

We sacrifice our sleep, whether it's because our newborn wakes up to nurse or because our fourth grader is getting bullied.

We sacrifice our time, as our days are fraught with decisions to make about how best to spend our days now that our children are awake and ready.

We sacrifice our hearts and put ourselves through so much emotional torment because we just want to be the best mom we can be, and some days -- maybe most days -- we feel as though we are failing at that goal.

We sacrifice. It's just what we do. It's part of parenthood.

One thing I'd like to argue that we should not sacrifice, though, is ourselves.

Call it selfish, but I believe that we, mothers of newborns to high school students, we matter.

You matter.

And, therefore, what you want also matters.

And I believe what most of us mothers want is to feel like ourselves. To feel like a strong woman. To feel like a woman first and then a mom. To feel healthy, powerful, beautiful.

So often when our babies leave the safety of our uterus, they take our sense of self-worth with them. Of course becoming a mom gives us a new purpose, and it's an almost regal new role that we are given. But the sacrifices of motherhood should not take away from our self care.

I strongly believe that if we are taking care of ourselves first, we will be better able to take care of our children.

You matter.

And what's important to you matters.

If it's important to you to take a shower every day, do your hair and makeup and wear clothes without an elastic waistband, then you should do everything in your power to make that happen every day.

Because you matter.

If submerging yourself in a new book and being whisked away in your mind to some other time and place matters, then you should fight to find that time to make it happen.

Because you matter.

If you want to begin valuing your health more and eating better and wearing your yoga pants for actual yoga, then you should find that time and guard that time with everything in you.

Because you matter.

Carving out time to make these things happen will of course require sacrifice. But hey, we're already great at sacrificing these days. We're professionals. And we shouldn't have to sacrifice ourselves any longer.

I don't know what makes you feel like "you," and I don't know how you can find the time to remind yourself that you matter. Maybe it means waking up a half hour early to get that shower-and-shave-your-legs time in. Maybe it means forgoing the dishes so you can read a chapter in your book. Maybe it means making a phone call and asking someone to watch the kids so you can just get away for a few minutes.

I don't know your struggles, but I do know that you are important.

I don't know your schedule, but I do know that you are a person who deserves the opportunity to take care of herself.

I don't know you, but I do know that you matter.

You, your thoughts, feelings, wants, desires, needs -- they all matter.

I hope you believe me. I hope you find time to tell yourself daily that you matter. If not, hit me up and I'll help remind you.

You can find more from Toni Hammer at Is It Bedtime Yet, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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