(See original post on The Everymom!)
I know it’s not time to think about this.
But it’s time to think about this.
18 years seems like for-freaking-ever, but trust me, it’s not. The days seem endless now; all diapers, and dishes, and dry shampoo (bless you, dry shampoo). But trust me, this phase—like that phase where your baby used to eat veggies?—will be over soon. Think about it, pregnancy feels like it will never end, but then suddenly those little ones are in our arms, and they’ve taken over our boobs, er, I mean lives. Right now the seconds feel like years, but the secret they don’t tell you? The years feel like seconds. We blink and our babies have become toddlers, our toddlers have become tweeters, and our tweeters will someday do their own laundry, please God.
So it’s time. It’s time to let go of mom guilt once and for all, because we don’t have the time to waste.
What are you feeling guilty about right now? Is it not being there at bedtime, or feeling like an absent mom because you chose to go to yoga, or take that course on starting your own business? Do you feel guilty because you are too tired to find the energy to reconnect with your husband? Or because you want to spend the money to go on that bucket list girl trip? Whatever “it” is, mom guilt stems from desiring to take time for yourself and choosing something other than your children. And thinking that you are a terrible mom if you do so. But in reality, the quality of time way outweighs the quantity of time you spend with your kids, especially if you’re feeling drained, stressed, or anxious.
Say this out loud right now (or fine, say it inside your head because it’s probably nap time): Letting go of mom guilt and taking time for myself will make me a better mom. Repeat: Letting go of mom guilt and taking time for myself will make me a better mom.
Kids do what we do, not what we say, and our children are watching us from the very first moment. I want them to see a passionate and inspired mama. I want them to see a woman who remembers where she came from and knows where she is going. I want them to see a mom who isn’t afraid to dream or fail or get back up again. One who goes after life with the courage of a lion.
We are our child’s first role model. Their life-long teacher. If we don’t show them how to try new things, to be authentic, to practice self-love, and choose joy every time—who will?
And if that’s not reason enough to give up the mom guilt and do a couple down dogs right now, here’s one more. Your beautiful kids will grow up and leave one day. And you’ll still be you. It will be as if you’ve been dropped into a brand new life (kinda like having a baby), and you’ll be starting all over again. And while that might sound like true bliss right now, it’s gonna be scary AF when it actually happens!
What if…what if you take the time now to build on the you in the future? We don’t have to put our lives on hold until our children are all grown up. We don’t have to let mom guilt get in the way of being authentic and creative and—dare I say?—the tiniest bit self-centered right now. Giving up the guilt is good for your kids, it’s good for your marriage, it’s good for you.
Figure out what makes you happy, outside of your children, and do that every day. Even if it’s just for a few moments in the morning: journal, paint, sculpt, take pictures, hike, meditate, make jewelry, decorate your home, read that self-help book, grab that cappuccino with a friend–just do it. And all of those moments you give yourself will start to paint a bigger picture. All your dreams and goals for your family, for your future, for yourself will begin to make themselves known.
“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.”
~Marc Nepo, Poet and Philosopher
Let go of the guilt and blossom first. And just watch what new adventures and happiness you will attract into your life.
“‘I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman. A woman who teaches by being.’
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. A woman who teaches by being. We must live with courage, love, and intelligence every single day. We must stay authentic in our journey through motherhood, so we can encourage those around us to find their own true selves.”
-Excerpt from The Daily Soul Sessions For Every Mama book.