Some tough love today.
This past week in our self-care for moms Facebook group, I asked what you did for “me” time.
And some of the answers kind of surprised me.
“What’s me time? LOL” was a common answer.
I get it. This was once me. I fell for the societal idea that a good mom is one who sacrifices everything, is never “selfish”, and that moms who take the time and money to do things for themselves were doing something shameful.
This is the new narrative of our society, but one that did not exist when I was a kid. While I had very involved and loving parents, my mom and her best friend took turns taking care of each other’s kids each week for the entire day so they each had time to themselves. I stayed with my grandparents many weekends and a week in the summer. My mom sat in a lounge chair and read while my brother and I splashed around the pool with each other or friends.
And my mom, who stayed home with us, would probably be considered wayyyy more involved than the average parent of my generation, known as the Latchkey kids.
My theory is that not only did the Latchkey kids grow up with the good intention to be more involved than their own parents, but they came of parenting age when social media was the new world we virtually lived in.
When my own children were young at the dawn of the social media age, I was constantly exposed to articles and studies in my feed about the many ways I was f-ing up my kids if I didn’t feed them correctly, nurture their emotional needs correctly, structure their days correctly, or let their little brains be exposed to anything other than education.
Along with that, everyone I had ever known in my life was posting their perfect highlight reels of happy smiles and days spent in the trenches with kids, and never, ever about taking time alone.
The narrative has changed and we are not only afraid to take a minute away from our kids but to be judged as a bad mom for doing it. And then we hear other moms say “me time, what’s that?” as a joke which may subconsciously reinforce the idea that we aren’t supposed to be doing it.
Guilt rules our lives and we’re burning out at record rates because we’re trying to do it all.
I want to challenge you to not play into that narrative and understand that there is an awesome balance between total neglect of our children and total sacrifice of ourselves, and it translates into EVERYONE feeling happier and more present.
I have four kids and the youngest has special needs, so I’m NOT telling you to pretend you don’t have a big responsibility and that it’s easy to find time to fill up your tank.
It is NOT.
Many of the women who responded that they do take me time each week have worked with me before. Let me share with you what I taught them.
Just start with acknowledging that you deserve self-care, that you are not super-human as much as the world wants you to believe and be. (You’re still doing an AMAZING job without sacrificing your human needs!)
Then do whatever it takes to get that time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day or one morning a week, to do something that fills up your tank so you don’t reach burnout.
Many of the women in the self-care group said that their partner insisted they take time, but I know after working with moms for the past 5 years that most partners aren’t offering (they honestly probably just don’t think about it). You might need to get creative, or you might need to advocate for your own needs and ask for some help. My husband and I take turns on the weekends – I get Saturdays, he gets Sundays.
You might feel guilty – remind yourself that this is the societal conditioning creeping in. Make a conscious effort to reject it. Taking care of yourself is good for you, and you are your kids’ caregiver – so what’s good for you is good for them.
And if you need some ideas for what to do with yourself – head over to the Self-Care for Moms Facebook group and see what other moms have posted!
ANNNNND because of this I have decided that I might bring back the Summer Self-Care Challenge – so look for that info in the next few weeks!
PS – If you’d like to hear me speak more on this topic and go into more detail, check out this podcast interview I did on The Best Life podcast.