Ahhhh mom guilt. It’s always rearing it’s ugly head, even when we try our best to ignore it. It seems to show up EVERYWHERE. Working moms, stay at home moms, taking time to exercise, going on trips without the kiddos, just taking time for YOU whatever that looks like…MOM GUILT.
When we become parents, our lives change overnight. Our world suddenly revolves around the love we have for our kiddos and how we can best provide for them. I’ve often thought about why we guilt ourselves when we give our lives to taking care of others. I know that for me personally, I’m too busy thinking about what I SHOULD be doing rather than enjoying what it is I’m doing in the moment. For example, I felt the mom guilt creep in on me the other day when I was home alone in the evening for a few hours while my husband took our son out for a boys night dinner. Why? Rather than focus on ME and enjoying the freedom to do whatever I wanted, I was thinking about what I SHOULD be doing instead with my few hours of freedom, like cleaning or working. We feel as if there is never enough time in the day that we put ourselves last, but in doing that we aren’t truly showing up in life as the best version of ourselves. We think that giving everything we have to our family and putting ourselves last makes everyone else happy, but it can leave you feeling empty and yearning for more on the inside. As Moms, we give so much of ourselves to our family that we forget to take the time to enjoy the the things that make us who we are. We’ve become so focused on being selfless that we forget how to be selfish.
I’ve spoken with many mommas who feel lost, like they don’t know who they are anymore after they have children. Every Mom was first a single, individual person with unique interests, talents and hobbies. Why do we feel like we should give those up when we have children? When we lose our sense of self, we can cling so tightly to our children that we lose track of who we are. For me personally, I love to workout and run. I changed my life through hard work, nutrition and exercising. I fell in love with health and fitness through my journey of losing 50 pounds and becoming a marathoner. Working out and coaching others gives me purpose and running is my stress reliever. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I push myself to be a better version of myself every day. I continued to run and workout during my entire pregnancy, running a half marathon each trimester. It helped me stay healthy, relieve stress and kept me rooted to what made me happy. The 6 weeks after my son was born was difficult because I couldn’t exercise. I could feel a difference in my energy, mood and sense of self. It was like I had lost a little piece of myself that I needed to get back. I knew soon enough I would be able to get back to it, but my point is, doing the things you love keep you sane and content. What brings you joy outside of your family? Crafting? Exercising? Going to the salon? Getting your nails done? Grabbing a glass of wine with friends? Traveling? You can still (and should) do the things that bring you happiness and make you YOU. If you don’t know, join a group or try new things! Join MOPS, try a new activity, meet new people! You will show up as a better wife, mom, friend, significant other, daughter, sibling, etc… when you stay true to who you are. When the mom guilt creeps in, try to stay in the moment. Don’t worry about your never ending to do list and all the things that don’t truly bring you joy. So take that trip. Make that spa appointment. Join that run club. Get together with your friends. Above all, take time for you because you deserve it!