A mother has two basic jobs in life. 1) Take care of your children and 2) take care of yourself. Society has influenced our self perception of being a mother to be all about her children, her family, and how much she can do for everyone else. No where in the ideal state is it acceptable to worry about yourself? This is such a difficult concept to grasp as well.
What I am going to talk about below does not matter if you work outside of the home or stay home. Both have their own sets of challenges and are equally difficult in their own ways. I am not judging the choice to stay home vs. work outside of the home. You do you for whatever works for your family in your season of life. Last week in my own personal journal I described myself as being selfish. This was part of my negative self talk I am breaking down and working on. In reflection selfishness was far from the truth.
I myself am a working mother outside of the home. I am driven and desire the personal satisfaction of employment outside of the four walls I have helped create for our family. In fact many may disagree with my personal beliefs that I feel my children are better off with me working outside of the home then if I were home with them every day. Not that I love them any less because they are my world. I have learned to appreciate the moments I have with them to a greater depth. They have learned to socialize with others, become self motivators, and independent thinkers.
However, I still see other moms on their days off not with their children and I internally have a personal battle inside. “They must be selfish to not want to spend every waking moment of their free time at home with their family.” “How do they have it all together that they can actually have time to do things on their own?” I even go as far as to feel bad for their children and spouses at home that must be holding everything together so they can go have “fun”. While all this is running through my mind as fast as the freeway in San Francisco; my heart is aching to join them. I am tired, exhausted, and every part of my body wants to just have some me time.
These thoughts may be running through my head, but I truly do NOT believe a lick of any of them. I envy these women! I want to leap out of my moving mom vehicle and run to join them with every being of my body. I desire to be like these women. The realities of my thoughts are based on the false lies I have told myself over the years to overcompensate for the inability to take care of myself. These women that I judged so horrifically are the ones that have the tasks figured out so well, taking care of themselves. Why should I cast the stone of judgment when I am so broken in the one of two tasks I am given?
So today I changed this. I went to Des Moines for a doctor’s appointment and I spent the entire time with just myself. I ate by myself, I shopped by myself, and I even walked through a book store looking and dreaming without guilt. I drove home going the speed limit and not a mile over. I enjoyed every ounce of the day. When guilt would slip in I would force the negative talk out of my mind and just enjoyed myself.
Do you know what I concluded? I feel great! I loved every moment of today. I was so much happier when I walked into a messy house and saw spilled Cheerios on the living room floor. I was ok with the nightly bedtime arguments over the length of snuggle time and I was ok with not being the “perfect” mom and wife that society portrays in social media. Because I took time for myself today I am a better mom for it. The overwhelming feeling of love for my children and husband when I walked in the door flooded me.
Next time a girlfriend asks me to stop over for a glass of wine or go for coffee; I am going to say yes. Next time my husband wants to take me on a date; I am going to say yes. I am going to say yes to these moments of personal time, because I deserve it. When I take care of myself I can better take care of my children. It does not mean I am not happy in the life that I have created for myself. I have an amazing husband and two amazing children. However, I am quickly learning that I can not be an amazing mom for them if I am worn down and exhausted all of the time.
I challenge you to take time for yourself. Go get your nails done, have a fancy coffee at the coffee shop, read a book in the bathtub, or go for a walk. Your housework, laundry, and bills will still be there when you get back, but your mental clarity will be well worth the break in life.
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