Do you ever have guilt? Guilt so bad that every thought you have of doing something for yourself makes you think that somehow it will negatively affect your son/daughter or someone else you care for daily. I often wonder when we, as a society, started putting so much pressure on ourselves to be the best parents, that we ultimately stopped caring about ourselves as individuals.
I recently attended a training at work and on a scheduled break one of the presenters asked me what I do for myself to relax. I chuckled and responded with a sarcastic comment about not having any time to relax. He told me very matter of factly that I needed to make time then. I rattled off some explanation about my kids and work taking up all of my time and told him if he could find me more hours in the day then I would gladly take 10-15 minutes for myself. He looked at me so seriously, but responded ever so calmly and said, “I promise you, Shawna, you are not being the best mom you can be to your kids if you are not taking time for yourself”.
Those words really resonated with me that day and have stayed with me for the last two weeks. I keep thinking about how accurate he was with his comment. How can I be the best mom to my kids if I am never allowing time for me? I can’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t a children’s book, took a walk to just to clear my mind and not because I was coming from one of the kid’s schools or my office. I think the only time I really take for myself is when I sit down and blog and I haven’t done that since November!
A different training, the following week, had me focus on some self reflection and answer the question “Who are you really?”.
My ultimate answer, after talking about my background briefly, was that I was mom. I realized after I sat back down that I did it again. I couldn’t talk about who I was, I only saw myself as a mom. I will say before I’m judged by people who think I don’t like being a mom that I am not at all embarrassed or ashamed that this is part of my answer, I LOVE being a mom; I just want there to be more to me. I don’t want my kids to grow up and I have lost myself completely. I want to role model a healthy lifestyle for both of them. I want them to see that I can have some independence and still be there to support them; I will always be present for my kiddos. However, no matter how I look at it I’m not doing that now. The harsh reality is that I have been putting myself last for so long that I actually had guilt writing this post because it was about me and not the kids….on my own blog!!
As I celebrate another birthday this week in the land of 30ish, I have decided that this will be the year I reclaim myself; demonstrate to my kiddos that I can be a mom and an individual. My goal and hope is other parents will read this and want to do the same; work together to stop all the guilt. We need to remember that it is ok to take a break; it’s actually healthy to relax.
The presenter that spoke to me was absolutely right. I will never be the best mom, no matter how hard I try or how invested I am in my kids, if I’m not taking care of myself. We all need to take a moment and replenish and not feel guilty anymore for doing so. Balance is what I am striving for in 2016.
It’s ok to be afraid, but it’s not ok to let the fear stop you. – Cupcake Brown