Mom Guilt vs Self Care

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Before school started, I told my husband I needed a mental break and went to Ruidoso for a week. Just me and my dog, alone in the mountains for five whole days. I knew that once school started back up, our schedules would be insane with our 13- and 17-year-old daughters. The kids are in sports, cheerleading, 4-H, FFA, dual credit classes, UIL. You name it; we participate in it. And I just knew that I needed to take a break before it all geared up to properly be prepared for what was coming. I knew I needed some time for “Self Care.” But then, as I started packing, I got worried about what they were going to eat for dinners while I was gone. As I drove to Ruidoso, I worried about them making it to meetings and cheer camp. While I was trying to relax, my mind was constantly whirring about how I shouldn’t have left because there was just so much to be done at home. My husband repeatedly told me to relax, take the time for myself, and stop worrying.
A view from our cabin’s back deck in Ruidoso, NM
 
The internet is full of articles and blogs talking about “Self Care,” overwhelmingly so. Moms are told repeatedly that they need to make sure to take time for self-care, but so many can’t seem to make it happen. Why you may ask?

MOM GUILT

Mom Guilt is a real thing that almost every mother in this world experiences. Let’s start with the definition of guilt. Merriam-Webster provides multiple definitions of guilt as a noun. Personally, I believe definition 2 b is most accurate in this sense: “feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy: SELF-REPROACH.” Moms feel guilty about things they do, about things they don’t do, about things they think they might do, about things the internet is telling them they are doing wrong. Generally, moms feel guilty about almost every single decision they make in their day. Most dads or significant others don’t feel the same guilt and pressure as most moms. I polled a few Lubbock Moms to get specific examples of things they feel guilty about that their partner does not. Here’s what they had to say:
  • Going out of town, even for a business trip, without my kids
  • When the house isn’t clean
  • When I need time with my spouse, no kids
  • Working vs. staying at home
  • The kind of food I cook
  • Not wanting to be touched
  • Taking a nap
  • Needing alone time
  • Everything
Let that last one sink in a little. Several moms polled said they feel guilty about everything. Being a mom is undoubtedly the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world, but some moms still manage to feel guilty about everything. Can you imagine feeling guilty about every decision you make, every single day? If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re probably a mom. This is why it is so hard for moms to take part in self-care. We carry such a heavy load on our minds and shoulders at all times, and it seems impossible to turn it off.

SELF CARE

Merriam-Webster’s definition of self-care is: “care for oneself // the necessity of busy working parents to take time for self-care.” This phrase has become so popular, and it is even included in the online dictionary! Self-care certainly looks different for different people. One blog will tell you that alone time for chores is NOT self-care, that only a girls’ trip is self-care. Another blog will tell you that alone time for chores definitely IS self-care, and round and round they go. I’m here to tell you that self-care is whatever you need it to be. For the second part of my Lubbock Moms poll, I asked what these moms do for self-care. Here’s what they said:
  • Working out
  • Getting a massage
  • Taking a bath
  • Alone/quiet time
  • Reading without interruption
  • Triumph when all the laundry is done
  • Taking a nap
  • Devotional time
  • Nothing
As before, let that last one sink in a little. Some moms are so overwhelmed with their daily duties and guilt that they do nothing for self-care. My friend, if you are reading this article, it is probably because the title spoke to you. I hope you can find a balance between that mom guilt and the need for self-care. I hope you have a parenting partner who is supportive and helps you to find that balance. If you are a single parent, I hope you have friends and family to lean on for that support. If you ever need extra support, please join our Lubbock Moms: Welcome to the MOMmune group on Facebook so that we can help you as well!

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