Mom guilt: it's a real thing that seems to grow with each passing year. Moms have been putting themselves on the backburner for decades and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I know for myself, as soon as I became a mom six years ago, I felt too guilty to allow myself to take breaks or do nice things for myself. It was a slippery slope where I let all of my normal stresses build up and didn't do enough to release the tension.
I was raised by a mom who always put everyone else's needs before her own (and still does!) So, naturally, I started to do the same. I put aside exercising, my social life, and little indulgences like a pedicure or a massage, and I tended to my family's every need.
Luckily, I recognized that these patterns were becoming a real problem. I forced myself to ignore the voices in my head that said I was selfish, and I made myself a priority again.
Don’t get me wrong. Becoming a mom and a wife is the best thing that’s ever happened to me! But I do notice that when I give myself little breaks or treat myself to something special, I become a much better mom and wife.
Indulging yourself doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive either. Meet a friend for coffee, go for a run, or simply let Dad take over while you lock yourself in the bathroom for a bath, accompanied by only a glass of wine and a book or a Netflix binge. Whatever makes you feel refreshed and taken care of—do it!
The only way we can break the cycle of expecting moms to "do it all, all of the time," without any break or reward, is to set a new standard ourselves. I am lucky enough to have family and friends who offer to take my kids, so I can run an errand or go to my latest addiction, Orange Theory class. I truly couldn't do it without their constant support and encouragement to treat myself sans guilt.
Think about this: no working machine can continue to operate without regular maintenance. If you can bring your car for an oil change every 3000 miles, why can't you do something for yourself regularly? When you make yourself a priority again, you will find that you are a better person, as well as more mentally and emotionally available to tend to your family.
It’s time to treat yo’self, mama!