Caring for youngsters and managing the rest of your family, home, and work obligations seem to leave little time or capacity for self-indulgence, and indeed, moms who take time for themselves often feel guilty that they aren't doing more for everyone else.
Nowadays, mothers of young children are bombarded with advice. The parenting sections in bookstores and libraries are overflowing with the ultimate solutions for everything imaginable. Any woman who wants to be the best mother possible (isn't that every mother?) is faced with trying to do everything "right" for her children and family, as well as keeping up with the housework and her job, while also finding time to do something nice for herself. Instead of helping mothers relax, that push to "take a bubble bath" can feel like one more impossible task on the never-ending to-do list. But remember that even though you're a mom, you are still a healthy adult, with needs which deserve to be met every bit as much as anyone else's.
So set aside a little time every day to do something, anything, which makes you feel better. For some women, taking care of themselves may involve that candlelit bubble bath, but for others, something else may better fill the bill.
Do something that makes you feel good or happy or, simply, more like you. What is important isn't the specific activity; it's that you remember to make time for yourself, even if it's only a few minutes every day.
It doesn't matter if you watch soap operas, call a friend, train for a triathlon, organize a cooking club, write romance novels, design skyscrapers, or simply gaze out the window and daydream. But it is important and valuable to take time to do something that the adult, unique person you are enjoys.
Keep in mind that it doesn't matter if what makes you feel refreshed seems relaxing or enjoyable to anyone else. Take the time to enjoy being you, whatever that means. Remind yourself that you are a valued member of your family, and everyone in the family occasionally warrants your full, indulgent attention, including you. Do something on a regular basis that makes you personally feel good, and remember that only you know what that might be. If those guilty feelings cling to you despite sincere efforts to indulge yourself, remember this: Taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of others. That means that when you spend time on yourself, you're really doing everyone a favor.
For more on genConnect:
- How Well Do You Take Care of Yourself? (QUIZ)
- Elisa Batista: Motherhood Activism
- Tina Fey on Being a 'Crazy' Working Mom
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About the Author:
Debra Gilbert Rosenberg, LCSW is a nationally-recognized psychotherapist and motherhood expert who focuses on helping mothers feel good about themselves while adjusting to motherhood.