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Why I Don’t Feel Guilty for Taking Me Time (And You Shouldn’t Either)

Jan 18, 2017

Despite what some may have you believe, research actually suggests that children don’t slowly combust when mom’s away from them for a slice of time each day.

Now, I’m not disputing the irreplaceable nature of a mother-and-child relationship. All I’m saying, is… if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

For years, I slogged through the muddy waters of mom guilt (not even fully understanding what that was, not sure I fully do yet) for wanting to still connect to the other parts of me that existed B.C. — before children. I martyred myself as a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom, juggling house, home and multiple streams of income as a creative professional; all with baby and toddler with me while I worked. Eventually, I accepted the fact that such a level of physical/mental/emotional multitasking was a recipe for DISASTER for someone like me. And surely many other moms too?!

I decided that, as my mothering years continued, I wanted to maintain an ecosystem of love, mindfulness, patience, fortitude and a genuine desire to be around my kids. (Yup, sometimes I have to work for it — it isn’t always just there.)

So, for a good while now, I’ve gotten into the practice of taking some time for me every single day, no matter what, even if it means waking up earlier to get this time in for myself before anyone else needs me. Basic things like eating whole and nourishing foods, writing out to-do lists, quick at-home workouts, journaling, meditating, reading. The dishes and laundry can wait.

I want [my daughter] to understand how deeply important self-care is throughout every stage, year and day of her life.

Kids learn by example, this we know. I want my daughter to know that she can be a mom and have a career, and separate the two if she so chooses. Furthermore, I want her to understand how deeply important self-care is throughout every stage, year and day of her life — ESPECIALLY motherhood, if she chooses to be a mother. And she doesn’t have to! I want my son to grow up not watching his mom completely stressed out and exhausted all the time. I definitely don’t want him thinking that stress is just what moms do. My kids are watching every single thing I do — which tools, art forms and resources I reach for, how I use them and how I help myself.

We all need to establish relationships with our children based upon who we are as individuals — free from resentment and looking forward to the future. Because, let’s be honest: self-care sometimes means making tough decisions which you fear others will judge. Self-care involves asking for help, it involves vulnerability, it involves being painfully honest with yourself and your loved ones about what you need.

IMO, the terrible, beautiful truth is that moms have to care about and for themselves just as much as their kids.

In real life, and through the glossy lens of social media, we’re actively formulating a whole new kind of mom who does it all. But let's conjure and create a paradigm shift. IMO, the terrible, beautiful truth is that moms have to care about and for themselves, just as much as their kids. 

I have no top-of-the mountain story for you. A spiritual guru I am not, but I’m pretty sure I’m onto something: I take timeouts just as much for my kids as I do for myself. Setting personal boundaries (including time away from your children), will make your witchy mama-brew all the more potent with love and patience.

Article Author Selena Mills
Selena Mills

Selena creates digital content, art, crafts, shares stories, wrangles children, and cooks delicious food whenever and however she can. When the chaos permits, she looks for other parents to revel (and or kvetch) in motherhood with. A perpetual dabbler, she has been known to freelance as a personal development and wellness coach, artisan, brand designer and social media consultant. Clearly, she doesn’t like rules, but she really likes kids and helping other women cultivate self-confidence and time to nurture themselves. She strives for this through food-education, healing, art, movement, love, respect and ferocity. Find Selena on Facebook and Instagram.

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