I try so hard to empower other moms to take time for themselves without feeling the dreaded “mom guilt” that sets in whenever we do something that is not for the benefit of the family.
But when it comes to allowing myself that same grace I have failed. Over and over again. For years. I recently reached my breaking point and decided that something had to give.
Taking Care of Myself
So I joined a gym…
Big deal, I know. But for me it was.
Like many of you, the past year and a half have been some of the most stressful in my life. At home and at work I felt like I was being pulled in every possible direction. I was working harder than ever to make sure everyone at work and at home felt like they had what they needed. Running on empty like never before. I found myself collapsing into bed most nights dreading having to wake up and do it all over. But I did. Like we all do.
My lack of “me time” was really catching up with me.
Joining a gym was a small thing I could do that I knew would give me some time just for me. Plus, adding more exercise to your life is always a good thing. So now I go to the gym a few times a week after work and on the weekends.
Give Yourself Permission to Have Me Time
Here is what I have learned:
Everyone is just fine when I get home.
Honestly, it feels like my absence is hardly noticed, which is a good thing as it reaffirms the fact that others in my family are, in fact, capable human beings.
No one cares if dinner is a little late.
Turns out I was the only one beating myself up about not having dinner on the table at my predetermined time. In fact, with my daughter’s cross-country schedule, a later dinner time works better some nights.
While I am on the topic of dinner, let go of the idea that every night has to be perfect. I have embraced breakfast for dinner (so easy) and “fend for yourself/leftover” and no one goes hungry.
I really needed this.
As much as I needed the exercise, I needed the alone time. Now I look forward to the hour or so that I am at the gym. I can put in my earbuds and listen to a podcast or an audiobook as I work out. I come home feeling accomplished and ready to take on dinner and homework. It’s funny that extra time away from home has made me feel like a better mom at home.
Back to letting the guilt go.
Release yourself of the notion that you always need to be at home and available for your family.
They will be fine. And you will be better if you do take some time to do something just for yourself.
Go to a coffee shop, find a quiet place to read a book, get caught up on a favorite show, go to dinner with friends. Find something that you can do, just once or regularly, to help you fill your bucket.
As moms, we so often give all of ourselves to others that we can lose sight of what we need to feel whole.
I promise it will make you feel better.
After you realize the world you have created will not collapse without your constant presence, the mom guilt will naturally start to fade away. I wish I would have followed my own advice years ago! I hope this will nudge some of you toward doing something unapologetically just for you. Give yourself the grace to let the mom guilt go and take care of yourself.
I would love to hear what you have made time for that is just for you and how it has helped!