As a single person, I did so much better with self care. I worked hard, played hard and remembered to take time for me. It was not unusual for me to work all day, take a nap, work all night, then go out and dance. Actually, it was my norm…oh the energy of your 20’s! In my early 30’s, I slowed down, but still managed self care, yoga, art classes, reading books, exercise. Life was good…I still was busy, but life was good.
Then I had children. Now I love being a Mom, please don’t get me wrong. The reality is though, once my kids came along, my self care took a hit. Art classes were replaced with coloring books and doing kid focused art projects, fun but not as rewarding. Yoga was replaced with baby and me classes, reading was a luxury that I know longer had time for, unless it was that five minutes sitting on the commode…when I didn’t get interrupted. (Okay, you all know I did not read, because what Mom can go to the bathroom for five minutes and not get interrupted?) Exercise consisted of chasing a toddler while wearing an infant. I simply did not have time, or maybe didn’t make the time. I was caught up in motherhood.
My kids are a bit older now, 5 and 9. I am making more time for me…I work out on occasion. I read more. I spend more time with me. I have registered for a lot on online classes, but seem to get distracted before finishing them. There are many days I long for more me time, and know that instead I need to be mom. There are other days that I feel like, “Forget those kids, I need me time. ” Then the Momma guilt kicks in. The thing is I often feel like there just isn’t enough time to do EVERYTHING I NEED to do, let alone everything I WANT to do…so how can I have me time? Or that is how I thought. Then some shifts happened in my personal life, and I realized, I can’t afford not to take time out for me. You see, my lack of self care wasn’t just affecting me, it was affecting those that I loved. I was tired. Not like your normal tired. I was bone dry, exhausted, overwhelmed and tapped out. I didn’t laugh as much, and I most certainly wasn’t fun to be around. Fairly frequently, I was grumpy, maybe down right, well you know.
I began my self care slowly. I actually took days off while the kids were in school, and slept. I began building my friendships again. I scheduled nights out, with the girls…and appreciated other women making me laugh and relating to the craziness that is motherhood. I reconnected with my tribe. My husband and I went on dates, and became friends again. I started getting manicures and pedicures…and not beating myself up for time wasted. I said “no” more. What I realized, was that I became a better wife, a better mother, a better therapist, and a better enterpreneur. I was a healthier person when I took care of myself first. It continues to be a journey. Sometimes, I say yes too much. Sometimes, I feel guilt for not being able to be there for someone. Sometimes, I still long for my single days, where I just cared for me. Sometimes, I hear other people say spend as much time with your kids as you can, they grow up fast and feel sad. I also try to remember that when I take time for me, I am taking time for them too. In it all, I just try and find balance, and not let any one area get so far out of line that I end up dropping all areas. For you see, yes, I am a Mom and a Wife and a friend and a therapist and an entrepreneur and a school volunteer and (put your own “and” in here). However, I am a person first. A person with limited time and energy. A person who loves being all those things so much, that she knows she has to pull in, to do all of those things well, some of the time. So Momma, let go of the guilt. Go do something for you, and remember, you are doing it for your kids….they need to see you making yourself a priority, so they learn how to make themselves a priority.
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Love and Healing,