Why is self-care so hard for moms? This is a question I have been thinking about a lot lately as I watch myself and other moms working our "magic" to benefit our family, friends, and basically for anyone we care about. The result is a lot of well meaning women feeling depleted and wishing there were more time for them.
Women are natural nurturers and when someone we love is in need, we want to be there to help in anyway we can. However, often times our desire to help those we love can take away from our own wellbeing. Whether you have just given birth to your first or fourth child, have a sick child or partner at home, are dealing with an aging parent, work demands, or you fill in the blank, as a mother, we give and give, even when we know that we really don’t have any more of us to give.
Many women have told me they feel "guilty" for putting themselves first. A definition of guilty from Merriam-Webster is "responsibility for a crime or for doing something bad or wrong". This sense of guilt can come from even simple things like eating a piece of their kid's Halloween chocolate, enjoying a cup of coffee alone, or for buying something more expensive than you would normally spend on yourself. Why do acts of pleasure equate to feeling like we have done something criminal? Why do we mentally punish ourselves for wanting to feel good? There are also the things that we need to do to maintain our health that fall off our to do list. We would never skip our child's annual well visit, but many moms put off these important appointments because they are just too busy.
What if we could make self-care a normal part of our being? Seems reasonable to believe that practicing self-care more often would actually be the opposite of doing something bad or wrong. If we are going to stand in our power, we need to feel worthy of not just loving others, but loving ourselves.
Try doing something today for your own self-care that would normally make you feel “guilty”, like get a manicure for fun (not just for an event or vacation). Focus on those to do items that are for your self-care, like scheduling a well visit, and see how you feel after doing something to nurture you. Invite your women friends to join in too! You can each share one thing on your personal list and hold each other accountable to getting it done in the next week. Let me know what you end up doing in the comments below and how it felt to think about just you!