I woke up the other day feeling a bit antsy and irritable. Since that is not typical Kristen character, I checked in with myself by asking:
What’s missing? What do I need right now?
The answer was emphatically clear. I need more me time.
I knew immediately I had fallen into the guilt trap a-gain! Because guilt is the only reason I refrain from taking me time. Straight up, no chaser.
Six years post tsunami, two years rockin’ a new book, a successful coaching practice and multitudes of self-empowerment blogs and articles in my portfolio and I still fall prey to the guilt monster. ((sigh))
Here’s what the despicable beast sounds like:
You need to be available for your family all of the time.
You cannot take care of yourself until everyone else is set.
You’re last on the list.
Everyone’s needs trump yours.
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you? If yes, read on, my friend!
Yesterday I had a fabulous conversation with my dear friend, Sherry. I shared how guilt stops me from doing the things I want to do for me. Things that expand my soul, grow my spirit, fill my life and make me feel good. Sherry understood far too well as she too experiences the same voices in her head and allows them to control her actions as well.
In fact, Sherry suffers from a chronic illness right now that oftentimes puts her to bed for days. She expressed to me how she often pushes past the needs of her body to alleviate guilt she would feel for taking care of herself. Which only then exacerbates her weakened state and categorically adds days to her down time.
Sherry and I agreed we both would have benefitted from more quality attention in our youths and due to our desire to do things “better”, we’ve overcompensated in a bad way.
Mommies, what are we doing to ourselves?!
Here’s what I know for sure.
Over-correcting is not the way to do it.
Giving ourselves away at the expense of our own well-being and self-care never serves anyone. It runs us ragged while it may enable our children to be self-serving, demanding, unable to work out their own problems, unable to keep themselves occupied and/or keep them locked in a state of instant gratification.
Keep in mind they don’t have to act like Veruca Salt to be exhibiting these behaviors. They can be subtle and manipulative as well. Believe me, our kid’s got our number!
Disclaimer: This does not mean we have horrible children. They aren’t purposefully trying to drain the life out of us. They’ve been tended to from birth and unless we set boundaries, they will continue to seek our tending because they won’t know any better.
You see, when we compromise our sacred self, we sacrifice our self-worth and we simply will not show up as the lightest and brightest version of ourselves.
It’s impossible because we are not tending to ourselves as a whole. It’s like washing, waxing and polishing only half of a filthy car. We only show up a fraction of our full potential.
The first sign I recognize when I’ve been putting myself last is irritability. Then I notice a deep internal pull to be doing something else. I feel empty, antsy, half-interested, detached, going through motions, pretending I’m listening but zoning out and the worst part is the feelings of resentment that sometimes come. The very thing I’m trying to avoid, I actually create!
Which then begs the questions:
Is it really better to give all of me away?
Are my beloveds getting the best version of me when I’m not tending to my soul?
Are my children really getting a better experience than I had?
Am I teaching them patience, boundaries and self-care by running myself ragged?
When put like that, the answer becomes emphatically clear.
Being a mommy doormat is not serving to our children or to us.
So let’s get off the problem and onto the solution.
What does it look like when we do carve out more me time?
For me, I’m more centered, engaged and relaxed. I don’t feel rushed or harried. I am better focused, happier, more patient and definitely more present. Hands down, I’m a better version of me when I take care of myself and stop putting everyone’s needs above my own.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that I understand everyone’s situations are different. I’ve seen a lot in my 26 years working closely with the public and I understand it’s not always easy to etch out the space we desperately need.
I want to encourage those of you who do have extenuating circumstance to do your best to whittle out some me time. If there is a will, there is a way! It might be uncomfortable at first as you work through your limiting beliefs and guilt, but I implore you to keep at it!
You cannot be your best self if you are not treating yourself as valuable.
To all the mommas out there who find yourself pinched up and beginning to begrudge your role as mother, I implore you to heed the words herein. Do you want to be an average momma or do you want to be an exemplary momma?
Remember we are the greatest role models for our children. We have the choice to model doormathood or to model loving self-care.
Trust in knowing your self-care will benefit your children as much as it will benefit you!
Here’s to guilt-free (if there is such a thing) parenting!
I’d love to hear your thoughts.