“Hey Mom, did you get one for yourself?”

By Maureen Falvey

Lead Coach & Trainer


Happy National Day of Unplugging! As I was writing this blog last Sunday I took the message to heart, put my computer down, and invited my daughter to take a walk with me into town. We popped in a little store and I picked up three stones with inspirational messages for people I love: One for my dad saying, “You are my sunshine”, one for my friend who is starting a new business saying, “Reach for your dreams” and a third for my daughter which read, “I’m so proud of you”.

She was tickled pink with her stone and then asked me, “Did you get one for yourself?” There it was. The million-dollar question. By taking care of everyone else, once again, I’d forgotten to nurture myself. In doing so, I was perpetuating the myth that has gone on far too long – as women, we must fill everyone else’s glass and then, maybe then, consider whether ours is empty.

But as my wise mother says, “If you’re not full, you have nothing to give.”

This has never been truer than it is right now. Women are bearing the brunt of this pandemic in disproportionate numbers [just read this, this, this, or this].

And the ripple effect is that we are passing down this destructive pattern to the next generation. As working women, we have an obligation to perpetuate some new behaviors instead, and that it is not only ‘ok’ but necessary to:

  • Speak up in meetings and push back when we are interrupted (“I’m speaking, Mr. Vice President”)
  • Advocate for career advancement and compensation in line with our contribution
  • Fill our own damn glass of water first

The irony is that, when we don’t prioritize self-care, our value around caring for others is in conflict. The airplane oxygen metaphor is overused for a reason (e.g. put your own mask on first before helping others). Keep giving if it brings you joy, but do it from a place of strength and fullness, and only after giving yourself some oxygen first.

The good news is that this pattern of putting our needs in the back-seat has been conditioned into us and, therefore, we can condition it out. Let’s make National Day of Unplugging a day to remember that as women, wives, workers, friends and moms, we need to pull the plug on our habit of saving the world and start by being a hero to ourselves by practicing new, more constructive behaviors. There is strength in numbers; together, let’s make this holiday a daily habit in the necessary pursuit of self-love and self-care.

Click here to join the movement, find ideas for how to celebrate it (all year long) and share how you will honor it: https://www.nationaldayofunplugging.com/

Finally, the next time something is asked of you, slow down your ‘yes’ and first ask yourself three questions:

  1. How am I doing?
  2. What do I need?
  3. Will saying yes to you mean saying no to me?

If you’re not full, you have nothing to give.

As a team with many strong women, this is a conversation we want to continue having. We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at hello@markstrongcoaching.com.


About Strong Training and Coaching

Strong Training and Coaching provides professional training and coaching services to executives and employees. Virtual sessions including employee training, strategic facilitation, and leadership and life coaching services are available. Contact us today to make an appointment for an introductory call.