The guilt of taking ME time is possibly the thing I struggle with the most being a mom. I am writing this for myself as well as for those moms who are on my same island. I am writing this in hopes that we can change the stigma that moms who take time for themselves, that eat well, look nice, and exercise must be ignoring their children. Moms NEED ME time for the sake of the children and that is what should be communicated.
Sometimes girls just need to be girls. Going out with 1 or even 10 friends should be a regular thing that you do not cancel unless you really must. Once a month I remember my mom going to bunco. Everything else was adjusted that night because mom was going to go to bunco unless someone was in the hospital. I don’t think that is a lot to ask. I was older when she started this routine (before this she was working nights and would go out for an hour or so after work). She would usually make a slow cooker meal and my dad would get off work, come home, she would leave, he would feed us and put the little kids to bed.
I honestly don’t think I was deprived for those few hours without her and it taught me that you need to get out and release once in a while. I knew she would come home a new person after going out and spending time with her girlfriends and it was something she did every third Tuesday of the month so she knew exactly when her next refresher would be, giving her something to look forward to.
I have written about this in other articles but I am going to just touch on it here. If your children are over 2, they can handle being away from you for a few minutes while you go to the bathroom by yourself. Lock the door! On normal mornings and evenings, you should be able to do some basic hygiene practices to keep yourself confident.
5 minutes here and there make a difference in your life. Take that time!
Just like everything Practice makes nearly-Perfect. You will feel guilty at first. You will feel like they need you more than they actually do. There will be some successes and some failures. Failure helps you learn and grow, do not give up! Try again. Keep it regular and prepare the things you need to prepare. This includes the most important thing, Your Mind! You will get better at it. You will start looking forward to your time away and not look at it as leaving your children, but refreshing yourself so you can come back to them better.
Being a single mom I have a really hard time asking for help. My fourth child was sick for the first year and a half of his life. He didn’t sleep much. I was working a job where I would have to get up at 3 AM to get to work so there were weeks when I would get 2 hours of broken sleep a night on average. I remember different occasions where I would get 4 hours in a 3-day period. I was averaging 4 hours of broken sleep a night for that whole time he was sick.
My parents are my support. My mom watched my kids while I was working 40 hours a week. I would not ask them for help because I felt like I could do this when I was not at work. I put myself in this position having children and being on my own so I had to handle it when I wasn’t at work because I already am taking so much from them. My dad would come to me and ask if I wanted to go out, I would say no, I just want to sleep. He would watch the kids, put them to bed, and stay up with my little one until he went to bed himself. I could sleep for hours in a row and that was life-changing for me.
Given a choice of sleep, any mom would choose 4 hours in a row over 7 hours of broken sleep any night! It makes a huge difference in how you function, your mind, body, and spirit.
Now that my little one is healthy I still have the guilt of asking for help. I don’t want to leave my children for any length of time. I don’t want to ask someone else to spend time with them so I can spend time with myself. I feel like I have a limited amount of time with them and I want to soak up every second. It’s not a healthy way to think for them or for me and I am not setting a good example for them. I am in a sense, refusing to grow up. My plans include work and things for kids.
I got a gym membership with child care and still didn’t go because I didn’t want to leave them… in the hands of people whose job was solely to watch my children… for an hour! How ridiculous does this sound to a sane person?? I joined a mom group that had child care every Friday afternoon so moms could come in and work on their computers. I didn’t ever go. Really?? I stopped seeking any friends or groups because I was not benefiting from them and it was completely my fault.
I am getting better about spending my in the mornings and evenings on myself and my confidence has grown as a result of it. Wearing makeup is something I have always loved. Looking good is a huge confidence boost for me as I know it is with most women. If we look good, we feel good. (don’t take offense to this, just stating facts about a majority of women).
When I wear makeup and fix my hair and wear cute clothes, I see my children wanting to look good too. I am sure it has something to do with looking and acting like those around you, but I really feel like it is a subconscious thing where they see mom more confident so they raise their level of confidence as well.
Why is it so hard?
I should be able to show my children the example of confidence and self-worth when I take time going out with friends right? So why is it so hard? I, unfortunately, don’t have an answer for you…yet. What I know is what I said above, practice makes nearly perfect and you have to get out of your comfort zone regularly to find out what else might be comfortable for you.
Asking is the hardest part. There are people out there willing to help you. Sometimes you have to find them, sometimes they are right in front of you. They don’t know that you need help until you ask. Most people are good people, they are willing to help and will meet or exceed your ask if you are real with them.
Dump the Guilt
Find a Support
Take ME Time
Peace and Balance,