I see frequent posts on my social media platforms about the importance of moms making their happiness a priority, of making “me time” a non negotiable in their day. Yet sometimes as women we feel selfish for making our “me time” a priority in our day, but seven years into this motherhood gig and I am more convinced than ever it is a must!
We love to take care of everything and everyone but all too often we put ourselves last or when things get too crazy not at all. The vision of moms is this selfless woman who gives her all to her children, her husband, and house. But what about her, her career, or her interests? What about her goals and ambitions? Are they centered around her children? Should they be? Is she selfish when her goals and ambitions aren’t centered around her children?
No. Here’s the thing. The children grow up. They leave. They build lives of their own. Our lives don’t end when they grow up and make their way in the world. Not only does abandoning ourselves for the years our children are young and growing up leave us lost in the empty nest years, it leaves us lost right now while we’re in the trenches of motherhood. I’ve been there; I know all too well from personal experiences.
My grandfather loved to tell the boys the saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” I look at myself and the women I know in my life and the thing I see often is how we sink or sail the ship our family is sailing through life on. That’s a lot of pressure added to our plates to think our happiness or unhappiness is what dictates the atmosphere of the whole household.
I’ve unfortunately seen too well how my unhappiness leads to tension in my marriage, stress between my children and me, and impacts my children and their behaviors towards one another and me. A part of finding my way back to a happier me was making me more of a priority. For me that involved me time whether it was daily exercise, writing alone in the evening in the dark with just my music, or scrapbooking our photos, or just having a chance to call and chat with a friend. At different times I need different outlets. But it became a priority to give myself that moment, pretty much about every day. If I missed a day or even two in a row I could start to tell and knew I needed to intervene on myself and make it a priority.
Men and women without a doubt in case you still doubt this are wired completely differently. There are times I’m envious of the way they think. They don’t overthink EVERYTHING like us women sometimes can. I think because of that they don’t experience what is socially known as mommy guilt and again because of that they don’t have the internal battle with themselves about making time for themselves that women tend to have (not that they don’t get so busy they might go a days or so without their “me” thing). We have to constantly tell ourselves it is okay that we do something for ourselves.
But doing something that’s for us shouldn’t warrant guilt. I see so many moms that make time for the personal things that matter to them. Sewing was my mom’s thing, but I see others today make time for art such as painting, scrapbooking, sketching; writing; reading; yoga; running; the gym; lunch or dinner dates with girlfriends, and I’m sure the list could go on. Having something that is our own, that is for us, may to some be seen as a selfish act because it takes us away from our families and responsibilities for a bit, but the identity of mother is one of many layers. Mother is part of who we are but we should feel in control of that role, not feel like it controls us.
We will put ourselves and our needs last often, but sometimes momma needs to take care of momma so make momma’s happiness a priority in your life doing whatever it is you need for you in your life!