For most moms, prioritizing self-care is a major issue. We don’t get the time we need to rest up and recharge. We know we need it, but instead of making it happen we continue to care for everyone else and ensure their needs our met before ours. Why?
I think one of the answers is simple. We often attribute it to time, and sometime sit is, sometimes we just don't have the time in the day. If that is our biggest problem it won't be that tough to solve. There a million ways to save time and get more time for yourself. I've shared some of them here.
But I don't think time is our biggest issue here. It's guilt. More specifically I don’t think it really is even guilt. It’s shame. What’s the difference? To quote the always wise Brene Brown:
Whoa. Is that it? Are we afraid that by not just needing, but wanting, alone time away from our children that somehow we are unworthy of connection with them? Do we believe that wanting time alone makes us bad mothers? So much so that we don’t deserve our children’s love, and therefore if we take that alone time risk the possibility that they will not love us anymore?
For me. Yes. Many times when I leave to go shopping or even just leave the room to use the bathroom, my toddler cries and screams for me, even if she is under the expert care of my husband or her grandparents. Lately she only wants me. Part of me is so happy about this because it confirms in my mind that I am a rockstar mom. Part of me is confused because it makes me wonder if the attachment she has to me is normal or if we may have a problem. Part of me just wants to run out of the house and be alone for a while.
But my biggest fear eating away at me underneath it all is that big fear of losing the love and connection that I have with my daughter. I wonder, what if this one time I give her to her Dad and walk away to hear screams, will this be the time she decides she’s done with me? Now, I know how absurd that sounds. That will not happen. Ever. Parents need to do something exceptionally wrong to their children, and probably do that thing repeatedly to really lose the love and trust of their child. Nevertheless, it is a fear.
This is not the only thing that is causing me shame though. The very idea that I want to have time alone makes me feel like I’m unworthy of the love and connection I have with my daughter. Can you relate to this? The expectation of mothers is that our number one priority in the world is our children. While my daughter is one of my biggest priorities, she’s not the only one. Sometimes she’s not number one because something else is more important in that moment.
Namely, me. I know that I need to find a way to release that shame I feel so that I can care for myself. I know that if I am always just pushing myself without taking the time needed to recuperate, I won’t be healthy or happy, which means no one in my home will be happy either.
If we really want to prioritize self-care, and make sure that as moms we are in the best level of health and state of mind possible, this is non-negotiable. It’s time to stop shaming ourselves, and each other. Think of it this way… You can either NOT prioritize your self-care and you will be with your child more but during that time you’ll be stressed, exhausted, and not a lot of fun to be around. OR you can prioritize self-care so you will miss a small amount of time with your children, but that time they get with you, you will be a much more balanced, loving, and attentive mother. I know which one I’m choosing for myself and my family.
PS - I know that this is easier said than done, so keep and eye out in the next day or two for my three best ways to get rid of the guilt and shame we feel for prioritizing ourselves. In the meantime, check out my recent post about living an abundant motherhood by clicking here.
Because so many of the moms in the Motherhood Community have said self-care and time management are big issues for them, we are currently reading The Fringe Hours right now by Jessica Turner. You can find out more about The Fringe Hours and our book club in my recent post here.
You can also purchase the book through my Amazon affiliate link, and I've also included here some from Gretchen Rubin who is one of my personal favs.