Mom Guilt: Dealing with the Guilt and Moving Beyond it
Mom Guilt, we all have it, let’s move on from it
Momma, I know how you feel. You’re worn down, just plain tired, needing a few minutes by yourself, but there’s so much to do. The babies need you. You have dishes in the sink, the dryer keeps buzzing, the sofa has a pile of clothes to fold, dinner needs put away and you kind of just want to sit and cry. Am I close?
We all have those days (maybe weeks) where everything piles up on us. There’s so much to do and no time to do it. We sacrifice sleep to finish that last dish, or fold the last of the laundry. The baby keeps us up half the night, so even the sleep we get isn’t restful. There’s practice for sports to get kids to, and equipment to wash before that next game/ practice.
You think to yourself,
How can I focus on me when everyone needs me and all this needs done?
If you take time for yourself you feel immensely guilty knowing all that other stuff needs taken care of. It’s hard to break away from our duties as moms to give some attention to our own needs.
We feel guilty over everything, the girls want to eat dinner out. We feel guilty the whole time because we aren’t with our family, or we are spending some of the family entertainment budget on ourselves when we could be out as a family.
When we go to the store to buy a new outfit that makes us feel amazing, and then put part back when we see an outfit our ‘little’ would look adorable in. As if we don’t need it as much as they do. What does that say about how we value ourselves?
I can say I have even felt guilty over a gift my husband bought me because of the price. For our wedding he bought me a Coach purse and for weeks I felt like maybe I should take it back for something cheaper. I didn’t need the expensive handbag, especially when I carry a diaper bag almost every day.
It’s rough being a mom
So much of our day is spent thinking of everyone else, and keeping our house running that we neglect one person we need to spend just a little time thinking about.
It’s impossible to continuously give of yourself and not care for yourself while doing it. You will eventually break down. As moms, we don’t have time for that. No matter what there is a little person that needs your attention.
Moving beyond the guilt
I wish I had a magic wand I could wave and remove all the guilt you feel as you spend time on yourself. Unfortunately, I haven’t gained that ability yet, so until I do we are stuck with other ways.
When talking to other moms about how often they care for themselves, a large number of women told me maybe once a week, and some had the reasoning of mom guilt. So they allow themselves to be neglected because they would feel guilty.
The other reason they offered for not spending any time on themselves was money. This makes so much sense to me. It’s hard to pull from the family budget for something you want to do to make yourself feel good. Sometimes there’s no money in the budget at all, it’s not that you would take from other family things, it’s that it would require saving money to do. I understand that as well, I’ve cut my own hair because the cost of the salon would take from something else our family needs.
So how do you find time for yourself that you don’t feel guilty about?
What I do, which works wonders for me, is to give myself a few minutes each day. I either make something for me to enjoy (like this margarita scrub), do my super quick makeup look, read a good book, or give myself a facial. The possibilities are almost endless.
In at least 5 minutes a day, I am able to put some focus on me, what makes me happy, and what I need. If my skin is dry I will do a moisturizing facial treatment, if I need to move more I will go for a walk to find an exercise video on YouTube. Some days just require an adult beverage and piece of chocolate in silence. It’s about filling your need that day.
The key to my favorite ways to focus on myself is that they’re affordable. Generally they use whatever I already have in the cupboard. I might need to restock coconut oil, or an essential oil, but for the most part, these are all things you can make with what you have on hand.
There’s no need to make it a big production. Of course it’s nice to go out and get a 60 minute massage, or have a whole spa day, but these require time and money. Both of which can be difficult to come by.
I really try to get my 5 minutes in while my daughter is napping. This gives me time to do what I need, and I don’t feel rushed to do it, and if I want to go a little longer I can do so without guilt.
If nap time doesn’t work out, I will wait until my husband comes home or Em is in bed for the night. If I have to wait until night time I’m exhausted, just like you are. I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the bathroom doing some long routine. I will take a quick hot bath, or do something special with my nighttime cleansing routine.
It doesn’t have to be anything special
Your 5 minutes is all about you. What do YOU want to do? What would make YOU feel the best? If you could the items in your pantry to make yourself feel pampered, why not go ahead with it?
There’s no wrong way to spend your 5 minutes, unless you’re banking your time for some mythical paradise day.
I tried to skip my ‘me time’ and save up for a special day of relaxation for myself. You know what happened? I used that money for something else. A need arose and I took my money and spent it on other things. So what did I get from trying to save up? Well something else was taken care of, but I wasn’t.
Recently a friend posted on facebook about other mothers criticizing her for taking care of her own needs. The needs of her child are met, her relationship’s needs were met, so she took time out to focus on her own well-being, and was criticized for it.
She knew that in order to be the best mom and wife, she needed to put some focus on herself. When you’re burning the candle at both ends eventually you burn yourself out, and there’s nothing more to give your family.
If you saw a mom who looked as if she had it together (we all have moments on both sides of the spectrum) and she was just coming back from an exercise class feeling great, as you’re burned out, tired and ready to crash, what would you do?
Should you criticize her? Maybe offer some nice comments to her face but then after she leaves talk about how she left her family to go do something for herself.
Would you ask her to teach you her ways? How does she find the time or the energy? Why does she always look like she has it all together?
There should be no reason to feel guilty, or worse try to make someone else feel guilty, for putting yourself (or themselves) on the priority list.
This doesn’t mean you’re down at the bottom of the priority list, this means your own well being is in your days top 10. Your well being is a priority.
Even if that means getting a friend to watch your kids for 15 minutes so you can have that time alone. If that means taking a walk with the girls once the kids are in bed (this is best in summer when it’s light after 8pm, lol) as long as it’s safe.
There are a million reasons why you should put a little focus on yourself daily. Feeling guilty for spending a few minutes on yourself shouldn’t be a reason not to.
As moms, we feel guilt over everything
I have felt guilty over so many pointless things since becoming a mom. From gifts, to socks, I have felt guilt for doing for myself. So what if my socks have holes, there might be a need for a shirt for Em.
Neglecting yourself also will be reflected in the way you carry yourself. It’s hard to cover up the exhaustion of motherhood without putting a little focus on yourself.
You do NOT need to feel guilty for doing something your body or spirit needs to continue on the motherhood journey.
And, please… Do NOT shame a mother for putting herself on the list. Talk to her, see what her secret is, how does she do it? We are much stronger when we work together to build each other up than when we tear each other down.
In the comments, tell me, will you commit to at least 5 minutes a day for yourself?