Mom guilt…we all know that feeling that washes over us when we choose something for ourselves rather than our children. We question it, analyze it and oftentimes give in to the “sacrificial mom” ideal that our world enthusiastically promotes. We wonder if we should really spend the money on an activity or the time away from our children. When gifted an hour with napping children, we look at the always-present-mess around the house and choose cleaning over taking a bubble bath and reading. Why? Because that’s what society deems is the “right choice” that a “good mom” would choose.
But, is it really good or healthy to always choose sacrifice? I bet that every mom reading this article will make sacrifices on a daily basis, many times without realizing it. You DO sacrifice. So the question is not about that but about taking care of yourself so that you can take better care of your little loves. We have gotten it wrong at times. We think saying no to ourselves means saying yes to our children. That’s what we should do, right? While that definitely can be the case, it’s not always the case. We have to consider how we are filling ourselves up so that we have the ability to pour into others. Here are some things to consider:
1) When is the last time you took some time for yourself? This could be as simple as a morning quiet time or meditation. It could be a workout class, lunch with a friend or a mani/pedi. I like to say, “Self care each day keeps mama’s sanity in play!”
2) Take a look at your mood. What does your mood say about you? Is it saying that you need a little “me time”? Or that you need to go to sleep earlier? Or maybe that you simply need to move and nourish your body in a way that honors it.
3) How do you view self care? Do you think it’s selfish or is it a way to show yourself respect and honor the body you have been given? Keep in mind that you are a role model for your children. By modeling self care, they learn the importance of it for themselves.
Mom guilt is normal. We all experience it from time to time. The important thing is that we don’t allow it to control us. We must learn to recognize it, accept that it’s just a thought and not benefitting anyone and move on. If we find that it is debilitating and keeping us from taking proper care of ourselves, we need to reach out for support from family, friends, or a professional. Next time you experience a wave of guilt, stop what you are doing for a moment. Take a deep breath. Say to yourself, “I am a good mom, and good is good enough.” And, finally, choose to have the same compassion for yourself that you daily show others.