I recently caught up with a good friend. While we sat and sipped wine, our conversation turned back to our kids and our never ending battle with mom guilt. We commiserated over the constant guilt of not having spent enough time playing with our children, cooking dinner from scratch every night…and the list goes on. We were discussing helpful ways to deal with the guilt, when I decided I didn’t want to “deal with it” – I wanted it gone.
Below is a list of “goals” to help me ditch the guilt.
Put yourself first.
The first step is to recognize you need a break too. My daughter is small today and she needs me, she wants my hugs and kisses. Tomorrow she will no longer be small and will push me away, so can’t that “me time” wait until then? No!
It is important to your mental health and the health of your family to carve out time for yourself. Life’s demands will always be there. Taking time every week or once a month just to do things for yourself helps to avoid getting resentful or stressed out.
Next, start with a small increment of time. Start with a half hour to grab a cup of coffee or go to the gym. With a young child it can be hard to find time for just you, but do your best to schedule it in. It can’t be at 5 am or 12 pm when everyone is sleeping, because that just isn’t fair to you.
Most of all, try to be present and enjoy the break. This is a real struggle for me. I’ve lost track of how many times I have gone out for some “me time” just to spend the entire time worrying about what my daughter was doing without me. I’ve realized this is not healthy for me. The reason I went out was to get a break, it is counterproductive to spend that time worrying or anxious to get home. I need to be present and in the moment.
Let It Go.
Finally, just let it go. We all mess up, its human nature not to be perfect. That includes being a perfect parent. If you are doing the best you can that day, in that moment, that is OK. Be happy and let the rest of it go.