Getting Rid of the Mama Guilt

Get Rid of Mom GuiltWhile reflecting on 2015 and settings intentions for 2016, I would love to share with you some thoughts on “mama guilt,” We all know it, right? Some of us all too well, perhaps? But I’ve decided 2016 is going to be a GUILT FREE year for this mama! And I invite you along on this journey.

What I have discovered is that guilt is a highly unproductive emotion for me. When I engage in feelings of guilt, a cascade of edginess and anxiousness follows. Allow me to give you a concrete example:

My Little has had the same sleep pattern for a while now. He generally falls asleep right after I drop my 3 Bigs off at school and will sleep for roughly an hour. I used to refer to this time period as my “power hour.” I would rush around madly trying to get 3 million things checked off the never ending to-do list. Then when he would wake up I would be like, “Grrr! He’s awake already?!? I barely got anything done!”

That mad rush from the time I woke up–squeeze in a workout, make a healthy breakfast, get kids ready and out the door, arrive to school on time–would fester into an upregulated nervous system and linger for the rest of my day; to the point where I was cranky and snappy with my family all the livelong day. When I realized this pattern I thought, something needs to change. My “power hour” was turning out to be quite unproductive to my well-being. And when it came down to it, that hour wasn’t even serving its purpose to help me feel more organized and on top of life. In fact it almost made me feel more scattered and stressed.

So I have a whole new approach to that precious hour of my day where my world is quiet and no one needs anything of me…I savor it! If I want to have a hot cup of coffee and read a book, I do. If I want to snuggle with my wee one and mindlessly scroll social media, I do. If I want to take a hot bath while listening to my favorite Spotify playlist, I do. If I want to pin a bunch of recipes I’ll probably never end up cooking, I do.

I decided to use that time doing something that nurtures me and my nervous system. It’s even become a bit of a joke between my hubby and me. He texts me almost daily around 9:15 a.m., asking what I’m doing. I often reply with a selfie to show what I’m doing with the hashtag #sorrynotsorry.

Ok. So believe me when I say that at first allowing myself an hour a day to simply relax and “do nothing” of apparent value took strong convincing. For some reason in my head it was a luxury; one that apparently I didn’t feel worthy of.

Wait!

Hold up.

I AM WORTHY! And so are YOU!

Who knows why I didn’t place value on self-nurture? Gosh, that seems crazy to me now! But I truly didn’t.  I now better understand (and appreciate) that when I engage in activities that restore and nurture me, I approach life with more clarity, focus, intention, creativity, and (gulp) even kindness.

So mamas, as we approach a new year, I encourage you to spend time discovering what truly nurtures you. Pay attention to what leaves you feeling peaceful, relaxed, and joyful. Really be open to the idea of learning what help regulates your nervous system. I used to mistakenly think running was my outlet… but it actually is a highly UP-regulating activity for me. Yes I LOVE the endorphin rush it gives me, but I have discovered I need to balance it out with some activities that soften and slow the vibration of my heart.  Once you know what best relaxes you, examine where you can infuse these practices into your life to the greatest extent possible. YES. You heard me…as MUCH as possible! Be the resourceful mama you are and find ways to make this happen. The benefits of self-care/love/nurture are deep and radiate from the inside out. The world shifts in response to YOUR positive energy. Own it. Express it. Live it!

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