I may only be four years into motherhood, but that’s just enough time really, to start to completely lose myself.
As I recently sat down to do some goal setting, I decided to start making myself a priority again. The only caveat was that I had to eliminate the guilt. No more feeling badly about setting aside time for things that make me a healthier, happier, fulfilled human being again.
I’m not sure where all this mom guilt comes from. For me, it all started when I went back to work with my first daughter. It hit me like a ton of bricks and still makes an appearance frequently, leaving a sting regardless of my life situation. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a constant state of guilt – and I’m not even really sure what about exactly.
But once and for all, I’m finished with all that. (At least I’m really going to try).
Here are the Top 9 Things Moms Should Stop Feeling Guilty About:
Having fun. I don’t know at what stage of the motherhood game I became so serious, but I want to tell everyone I meet, I used to be fun, I swear! When I was a teacher, we used to have these little brain breaks, and I recently decided to implement them into my family life. Because 5 minute “fun breaks” throughout the day can’t be that hard, right? These are as simple as texting my husband in nothing but Bitmojis, or sitting down with my kiddos to read a book (without multi-tasking). I’ve also implemented Family Fun Day – one day a week where I take my girls to do/see/try something new and exciting. Watch out world, I’m bringing fun back!
Accepting the season. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I am in an all-consuming season of life. Having two small children changes everything. My marriage, friendships, and social life look completely different than they did four years ago. And I am finally ok with that. ‘Tis the season to soak it all up and love the phase I’m in. Because someday, I will be wishing back the needy “hold you” phase.
Embracing who you are AND who you are not. It took so long to figure this one out. But I finally accept and embrace that I am a hard working lover of people and experiences, and I am not domestic or crafty. I don’t crank out home cooked meals or have a perfectly-made bed, and the thought of arts and crafts sends me into a full blown panic attack. But I do love to explore and work and create and come up with ways to make those I love feel loved. And I am starting to love these things about myself, and I believe my girls will one day appreciate these things too.
Saying no. I coined this last year as my season of “no”. From someone who is the poster child “yes-woman”, can I tell you how invigorating it is to say that POWERFUL little word? I said it to just about everything: speaking engagements, birthday parties, events, extra projects – even if I thought I wanted to say yes. I think it all started when I read Jen Hatmaker’s powerful words: “If it isn’t a hell yes then it’s a no”. And I haven’t looked back since.
Saying yes. On the flip side, no more feeling guilty about saying yes either. As I’m rounding out my “season of no”, I’ve slowly started to let things back into my life that I want to do. I’ve used the quote “If it doesn’t make me happy, make me a better person, or make me money; it’s not worth my time” as a guide, and my calendar of commitments is finally full of things I either have to do or want to do.
Me time. One of the biggest (and most difficult) changes I’ve made since becoming a mom has been to make waking up early a high priority. For me, this means waking up before the sun to catch up on work, do a little cleaning, and get ready before my children wake up. As brutal as it was at the beginning, I have grown to love my quiet mornings where I am guaranteed me time. Even though I use this time to be productive, it’s one of my most coveted parts of the day. I hope to start using part of this time for fun things too – like home design projects, family photo album building, and planning get-togethers with loved ones. (And I won’t feel guilty about it!)
Purging. For me, it all started with leaving a career I didn’t love and letting go of relationships that brought me down. And then turned into a constant state of minimizing and purging – I’ve become addicted, really. Growing up in a home where we did not waste things, purging felt really naughty at first. But I no longer feel guilty. Because of things like simplifying my wardrobe and home space and even the same weekly meals my family eats, I’m able to focus on decisions that matter. I have a bit more headspace and more room to think and play.
Delegating. I used to try to do it all. Which is not only impossible but completely unnecessary. Now, most things I don’t want to do, I either save money to hire out or ask a loved one for help. This can mean anything from saving up to hire a house cleaner to using Dillon’s Click List to asking friends or family to watch the kiddos for a few hours. And guess what? Zero shame or guilt. Because time is precious, and I want to spend the little time I have doing things that matter with those who matter.
My parenting style. Regardless of how many kids or how many years we are into the parenting gig, NONE of us know what we’re doing. Once we finally figure out or master a parenting stage, a new challenge presents itself. We all have different experiences and backgrounds, so how we choose to approach child-rearing is perfect for our unique family needs. I’m a firm believer in accepting how others choose to parent as well, because at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to survive (and minimize how much we mess up our children).
Would you add anything to the list of things NOT to feel guilty about?
*photo credit: Alison Moore Photography