Do you have Mom Guilt? Are you like me, always putting your family first, or feeling guilty when you don’t? You know all the cliches that you can’t help others until you help your self, that life is like the oxygen masks on a plane, or selfcare enables you to care for others, but…yeah, it’s a struggle.
Here are easy tips to kick the mom (or dad!) guilt and actually take care of yourself (it really does make you happier):
Meals – don’t feel obligated to serve every one.
Your kids do not need you to serve them dinner every night. It is perfectly acceptable to make sure they have a meal and are served by someone else, or *gasp* serve themselves if they are old enough. Whether you choose to make a meal that is simple for them to reheat, that they just take out of the oven (my favorite) or crock pot, or you order them pizza, it’s ok. Now you just got a two hour (or more) break to go meet a friend for coffee or dinner yourself. That adult interaction is worth far more than their messy faces and dirty dishes once in a while. No one is proposing you abandon them for every meal, but once in a while, take an evening for you. Kick out that mom guilt!
Laundry – not quite put away
Sure, in a perfect world the laundry is clean, folded and put away. But will the world really end if the laundry is clean and not put away? Yes we want our family to be dressed in clean clothes, but do you think your family cares more about every shirt being put away or the game you played with them for half an hour. Which is worth more on a daily basis? There will always be laundry to deal with, but your family won’t always want to spend time together. Ten years from now will your family offer mom guilt that you didn’t finish the laundry? Or, will they talk about the family activities that you did?
Go ahead and take that walk
When I come home from work there are so many tasks that I ought to work on from collecting the chicken’s eggs to emptying and reloading the dishwasher. But very few of these tasks have to be done in daylight. A twenty minute walk in the sun may be worth far more to your emotional health than a clean kitchen. Go ahead and take that walk, with or without your family and fur-family. I pretty much guarantee that you will have time to do the dishwasher and collect the eggs when you get back. You’ll get a few thousand extra steps in your day, fresh air, and sunshine. That little time outside benefits your physical, emotional, and mental well being, helping you with more energy immediately and to sleep better at night. Being healthy trumps mom guilt. Totally worth it!
Listen to it, even if it’s not G rated
Have an audio book you really want to listen to, or some music with questionable lyrics? It’s ok, listen to it anyway. Either you can have the discussion that some things are only appropriate to listen to at home (or in the car) but might be uncomfortable for others to be “forced” to hear, OR you can use earbuds. I love listening to an audio book when doing housework or other household tasks. I’m still getting work done, but it’s so much more enjoyable! You could also listen to podcasts and such. Any of these may be for self-improvement or just entertainment. Mom guilt be gone! You deserve it!
Plan an activity that you enjoy
You schedule your life around their games, appointments, and activities that they want to do. When do you fit in the activities that you want to do? Schedule them now! Maybe it’s a class you want to take once a week, maybe a workshop once a month, maybe a seasonal hike, or a weekend trip…schedule an activity that you want to do, that excites you and stimulates your brain and heart! Whether you force, um, bring your family is up to you and their age. Maybe that felting workshop is a great bonding activity, maybe your child needs some photos for a biology paper, maybe you can work their interest into your activity. Maybe not. Get your partner to watch your kiddo, pay a babysitter, or barter some time with a friend (your friends have activities they want to do without all of their family, too!). You do you, and enjoy activities for your pleasure. Maybe it’s a silly movie, maybe it’s a Spartan race, achieve some of your own goals and unplug. You deserve it too, let go of that mom guilt!
Let someone else be in charge.
I spent two years paying for a gym membership and it was amazing for me for three reasons. 1. I’m cheap, so I actually used the gym membership rather than waste the money, which led to 2. I got so much better in shape, my trainer, Ben, was amazing! Ben’s leadership allowed me to 3. I could let go for an hour a day 2-3x/week. For that hour I didn’t have to make any important choices or plan anything. He came up with the plan for the workout routine. He supplied everything I needed. And while it was hard (so incredibly hard some days), it was fantastic to just focus on pushing me. I didn’t have to wrangle stragglers, I didn’t have to look ahead for early finishers. I didn’t have to keep anyone engaged or create alternatives. If I was doing it wrong (form is so important) he would teach me again. He would cheer me on, harass me, or empathize. He did all that and I just participated by cheering on others and doing me. I could just feel and work. I had mom guilt in the beginning, but then my husband kept telling me how good it seemed to be for me.
Feeling run down – rest
If your family says that they don’t feel well, what do we tell them? Usually advice of “drink some water” and “rest for a bit, or go to bed early”. What do we do when we feel run down? Push on? Why do we place more worth on them than our own health. You feel run down because your body needs something that it is not getting (it might be a better balanced diet, more(some) exercise, calm, or just plain rest). It’s ok to take a day and rest. Feed your family, keep the house generally running, but any task that waited for your day off can wait another day. If you actually can’t take a whole day off, we can’t always control our schedules, then be ok with taking an hour or two to lay down and rest while reading a book, or working a puzzle, or just zoning out to tv. Kick that mom guilt, you need recovery time!
Kick this Mom guilt!
You’re a great mom, take some time to be a great person too. Not everything should be about your family and your home, you are more than those roles. So ease up on that, kick away the guilt, and take some time to be you again. Take that workshop, go to that gym, enjoy that kayak trip alone, browse the store (not the grocery store!), sleep in, binge watch that series, enjoy take out, read that book, listen to that podcast…take time for you. If you’re happier, they will be happier too. If they really care that the spot is staying on that counter for an extra day, they can scrub it off. If they really want a home cooked meal every night, they can help you with something else. Find a routine that works for all of you, then don’t be afraid to mix it up!
You may also want to check out these easy tips:
Surviving your partner being out of town
I tried Hello Fresh meal kits and enjoyed it, here’s my review. I actually use EveryPlate and Farmbox Direct the most now, these are my affiliate links, we can both receive money off if you sign up following my link! I love skipping the store and having it delivered right to my door. Recipes that come pre-measured make that home cooking so much easier!
This is GOLD! I needed the reminder, thank you! 🙏🏼
Me too! I was largely writing to myself, I think. I struggle with this!
Thanks for the wonderful reminder! It can be so hard to let go of that guilt, mom guilt is the worst. Thank you so much for sharing!!
I totally struggle with it and need reminders!
Oh, I’ve already taken your advice about the laundry! I love your other ideas. I’m rife with mom guilt so I need these nudges. Thanks!
I suffer terribly from it. My challenge is to practice this advice, as well as give it!
We put so much pressure on ourselves! This is wonderful advice.
We do put a ton of pressure on ourselves. Far more than I expect from anyone else!
Earbuds for the win! Ao many podcasts and training sessions that are either boring or inappropriate… But I will have to work on the laundry. My problem is having things dry and still in the dryer (I don‘t care) or wet and lovingly removed from the machine but left wet in the basket because he knows not everything goes in the dryer (why do so many girls‘ clothes have sequins that like to melt?). He thinks he‘s helping, but really just wants to stop the machine from blinking (because my MIL complains – we share a house)…
You make me laugh. I can completely picture it!