I’ve been living a more active lifestyle now, as a 29 year old (with mommy and wife duties that take more of my time than any full time job I’ve ever had) than ever before. Somehow, during my busiest time of life, I find time to eat clean, work out 5 to 6 days a week, use a meal plan, make healthy meals and snacks, track my calories and as a result, I’m down almost 60 pounds. It hasn’t been easy, it’s actually been very hard and very emotional for me. Feeling like I can’t find the balance between motherhood, the things I want to do for myself and family obligations… Enter MEGA Mommy Guilt.
I’d define “Mommy Guilt” as it results from the following daily activities, working (in an office or from home); taking time for yourself to get your hair/nails done, go somewhere alone, sending your child to the sitter, buy something nice for yourself, read a book alone, go to the gym without your child, etc. Then while doing said activity, you can’t enjoy yourself because you feel guilty that you’re not with your kid(s). Does anyone else ever feel this way? I do, all the time.
The logical part of me wants to reason in my mind that’s it’s good for me to take time for myself, while the emotional side wonders how much longer my daughter will even want me to tuck her into bed and bring her a sippy cup. What if I’m too busy to enjoy her being little because of all the things I need to do during the day? Or on the other hand, what if she only sees cranky, overworked and tired mommy who had no time to herself, and I’m remembered as crazy, yelling mommy (which happens more than I’d like to admit)? Heres one example, I’m not putting my daughter to bed at night because I’m at the gym (when my husband is home to watch her) so the entire time I’m there I feel like the worst mom ever.
Truth be told, a good mom should and does take time for herself. She knows that it makes her a better mom and she’s recharged to tackle all of her obligations. The key is to have balance. Have you seen the meme that says:
“Some days I train hard and eat clean, other days I eat cupcakes and don’t wear pants. It’s called balance.”
This quote cracks me up, but lets be honest ladies, we really do need those pantless cupcake days every once in a while. So in order to tackle the mommy guilt, here are 4 things that we can start doing NOW to make a conscience effort, to maximize our personal time, and shake off some of that mommy guilt.
1. Ask yourself, “Am I a good mom?”
First of all, we need to give ourselves a break. Motherhood and parenting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I’m sure other parents would agree with me. So before you start in with the mommy guilt trips for yourself remember: A good mom is someone who is caring for, provides food, clothing, a roof over head and love to their child. There are a million other ways to be a “good mom” or a “better mom” but for the most part, thats it. If you’re not purposefully hurting, manipulating or abusing your child, chances are you’re like the rest of us and you’re doing a good job. And if you have a bad day, ask for your child’s forgiveness and start fresh tomorrow. No one will be as effective as loving and raising your child as you. So the times when you are together, let them know much you care and that you’re trying.
2. Play with your kid, set a timer.
I’ll be the first to admit, I hate playing with my daughter. I don’t mind her playing, I actually love watching her play and eaves dropping on those hilarious conversations she has with herself. I just feel like its a waste of my time, and I already don’t enjoy it. I know my daughter loves playing with me, (she asks me every day to play dolls with her) So I will now set a 20 min timer (sometimes 10) and just play with her. I explain that mommy is busy, but she can play for X minutes until the timer beeps. Its been working really well, I don’t feel like thats too much to give and I know we are becoming closer because of it.
3. Spend time with your spouse, and get a sitter sometimes.
Don’t ever be so “all about the kids and household” to forget about your spouse. I actually LOVE spending time with my husband, but sometimes its hard really enjoy each other when we are in parent mode. Think of ways to show your husband that you love him by shoveling the walk so he doesn’t have to, have a hot meal when he gets home from work, plan a date night and get a sitter. Just do something that both of you will enjoy without the kids, so you can reconnect and remember why you’re together.
4. Wake up earlier
This tip is the hardest one for a night owl like myself, but I find that going to bed at a decent hour, and getting my gym time, blog time, and personal time in before people wake up is another way to lessen mommy guilt. That way you can still have your cake and eat it too. Cake is too fattening, how about your carrots and hummus and eat them too?
5. Get organized
Having a schedule, making a meal plan, keeping the house clean, getting organized. Sometimes the thought of getting ready to be ready can be overwhelming, but don’t get analysis paralysis, start small. What is ONE thing that you can do today to make tomorrow faster, easier or more efficient? I’m not a big stick to the schedule person, but I do find that if I have some parameters to stick to (and a things to do today list) I’m more productive. Its like cutting and bagging veggies and fruits right when you bring them home from the store, you’re more likely to eat something healthy if its more convenient to do so. Think of new systems and things to implement to make your life more organized so your family knows what to expect and you can feel like you’re getting the most out of each day.
I’ve shared a few things I do, but I’d love to hear what works for you! Comment below, your best tips to beat mommy guilt.