Having a hard time taking time for yourself? Not sure how to do what you love, achieve your goals, or practice self-care and still take care of the kids? Here’s a great post about why and how to take time for yourself without feeling guilty!
Being a mom is a full time job. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. No days off, no sick days, and oh yeah, you don’t get paid.
It’s wonderful, but it’s also hard. And if you don’t take time for yourself, you can get burned out pretty quick.
Self-care and taking time for yourself are two of the most important things you can do to avoid motherhood burnout. But unfortunately, they’re hard, too.
Another one of the things moms told me they struggle with in my Instagram survey was taking time for themselves. Moms reported having a hard time finding time for themselves, taking care of themselves, and feeling guilty about the fact that they’re taking time for themselves. Does that sound fair to you?
Oftentimes when we become mothers, we put our goals or dreams on hold for something better. Our children are incredible, wonderful blessings, and it’s a gift to be able to raise them. They fill us up and bring us joy and happiness like we’ve never felt before. But they don’t have to be the only things that fill us up. We are more than just mothers.
Becoming a mother doesn’t mean you have to give up on yourself. You don’t have to stop dreaming about writing a novel or becoming a great painter or getting your degree. You can still find time to take time for yourself and not feel guilty about it.
First of all, let’s tackle the guilt part.
I already wrote a whole post about not feeling mom guilt in this series, and I want to reiterate something. Mom guilt comes from an impossible standard that you have made up in your head from everything you “think” a mom should be. So if the thing you’re feeling guilty about is taking time for yourself, I think the reason is probably because one quality moms are “supposed” to have is selflessness.
But who says that being selfless means you can’t take time for yourself? Who says you have to give everything you have to your family? You can’t give them the best you unless you are taking care of yourself and are happy yourself, right? You can’t fill everyone else’s cups up if your cup is empty.
The guilt you feel is all in your head. You aren’t doing anything wrong when you take time for yourself, and therefore you have no reason to feel guilt other than for failing to meet some made up standard you created in your head. It’s best for everyone if you take time for yourself and you continue to improve yourself and do things you love outside of motherhood, because that, too, will fill you up and make you happier and able to give more of yourself to your family.
Make sense? Good. Let it sink in before you move on because the next part is important, too.
I did a lot of thinking about this topic, because I know it’s one that a lot of mamas struggle with. I thought about what it means to “take time for yourself” and how I could help you figure out how to do it. I’ve decided that taking time for yourself can be divided up into three categories: taking time for your passions, taking time for your dreams, and taking time for self-care. Now you don’t have to do something from each category every single day, but I do think it’s important to do at least one thing for yourself every day.
Taking time for your passions means taking time to do things you love. It might be watercolor painting, it might be cake decorating, it might be pilates, or it might be fixing up old furniture. We all have things we love, and finding time to do them helps us feel more fulfilled and remember that we are more than just moms. And if it’s been so long that you don’t even know what you’re passionate about anymore, try a few different things. You might not be very good at something, but if you like it, keep practicing and don’t give up.
Taking time for your dreams means taking time to do things you want to do. Your goals, your hopes, your aspirations. You don’t have to give up on these just because you have kids. You might go back to school and get or finish your degree. You might apply to be a monthly contributor for a journal or blog. You might start training for a marathon or American Ninja Warrior. You have dreams, whether you admit them out loud or not. It took me over a year to admit to myself that I wanted to write a book, and it took a lot of work, but I did, and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments and something that brought me great joy. You have dreams. You have goals and things you want to do. Sit down, break them into steps, and start working on them. Even if they take a long time, you’ll be glad you didn’t give up on them.
Taking time for self-care means taking time to unwind. Self-care looks different for everyone. For some it might be running, others it might be binge-watching Netflix. You might love reading or taking bubble baths or getting your nails done. You might relax by reading trashy celebrity gossip magazines or keeping up with the Kardashians. Just figure out what helps you relax and take your mind off of things and make sure you do those things more often. A relaxed mama is a happy mama.
“But Chelsea, I don’t have time!” you whine. Shut your beautiful mouth, Mama. You can find time. You can find time in the morning before your kids wake up, you can find time during nap time or while your kids are at school, or you can find time after your kids or husband go to bed. And if you really feel like your day is jam-packed, you or your husband are always working, and none of these times will work for you, I 100% support getting a babysitter and getting out of the house for a few hours by yourself. Don’t feel guilty about it, because it will make things a lot happier at home.
Taking time for yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself (obviously) and your family. It helps you feel more fulfilled, helps you remember that you are more than just a mom, and gives you more to look forward to than just bedtime each day.
Find a little bit of time every single day to do something for yourself. It can be something small, it can be something big, but I promise that taking time for yourself can change how you see yourself and bring your life more joy.
You’ve got this, Mama!
Check out the rest of the New Year, New Mama series here: