I am and have always been a working mom. Do I regret it? No, I don’t. It was the best choice for my family and me for a host of reasons that aren’t important here. But what I do regret is not taking better care of myself when my kids were younger, and trying to “do it all.” Can you relate? I now understand that choice has come at great cost.
I am now on the cusp of my forties, my kids are 8 and 11, and things are changing. As my kids get older, I find myself with more time to take care of myself (barely enough time… but enough to start to think about it). But I am realizing now that I don’t really know how. I don’t know what brings me joy, or what I like to do. Many of the things I once enjoyed are long gone, distant memories, such as gymnastics, cheerleading, and singing to name a few. These were part of my identity and who I was for so long, and that loss makes me sad. Somehow, in attempting to avoid mom guilt, I lost me, I lost myself.
As I reflect, I think that it is a terrible lesson to teach my daughters, and I am sharing this with you because I don’t want you to make the same mistake. And if you have, I want you to join me in trying to take yourself back.
I worked a lot when my kids were young. And in order to avoid mom guilt, I spent nearly all my free time with my kids. I wasn't willing to take any more time away from them to take care of myself or have fun. I was pleased with my ability to grow my career, prioritize my kids with quality time, and do it all relatively well. Other mom’s would look at me in admiration or for advice, “how do you do it all?” But while my husband spent his one night a week out having fun at hockey, maintaining friendships and exercising, I was monitoring late night parliamentary sittings, attending networking events, and ignoring my own needs.
So that brings me to today, and it is time to find myself again.
My first piece of advice is to never do this in the first place. Along your motherhood journey take care of yourself, prioritize your health, wellness, and happiness. Quite frankly, your family’s health, wellness, and happiness depends on it.
In the latest podcast episode: Mom guilt with the Mom Room’s Renee Reina. Ep. 90, Renee shares that “Moms need to have hobbies, they need to have interests, they need to have relationships outside of the home.” She goes on to say that this takes time, and intentionality. “Sit down and really reflect on what makes you happy, what makes you feel good. What are some things that you can start implementing right away, to make yourself feel good, to be happier?”
It’s time to rediscover ourselves. It’s time to take Renee’s advice. And I am going to challenge you, to challenge myself, to set aside an hour THIS WEEK to explore this idea and start to schedule meaningful self-care. Go to a coffee shop, for a walk, or wake up before your kids and spend some time reflecting on what you need to feel like yourself again. We all deserve to thrive. I know one hour will not change everything, but it is a start, you have to start somewhere, and the time to start is now.
Renee also talks about communicating what you need. And I think this is great advice to share with your partner and support network if you have one. Renee also reminds us that if and when you fall back into your old routine, that you need to pause, and do it all over again.
So, let’s get back to being us. Whose with me?
For more of Renee’s interview listen here, or get it where you listen.
What would you add? Will you join me? Share in the comments.