“If you don’t make time for yourself, why don’t you?” The most common answer to this question is guilt. Guilt is wreaking havoc on women’s lives and preventing them from taking care of themselves. The first step in eliminating feelings of guilt for investing in yourself is to give yourself permission.” -Jessica N. Turner in The Fringe Hours
We feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. It’s the silliest thing really. Let me tell you the thing I felt guilty for… In the evenings, my husband would come home and spend time with us, especially our two boys who really wanted time with Daddy after he’d been at work all day. So they would play and wrestle, and I would hold or care for our infant at the time. She wasn’t exactly ready for all the rough-housing that boys do. But at some point in the evening, I would ask my husband if he would take the baby for me so I could get a bath. I always felt guilty for it because the rough and tumble boy play had to come to a halt because now a fragile infant was amongst them. But I just had to tell myself (and sometimes my husband too) that it is okay for me to take a bath. I’m allowed to take one every day. My husband showers every day. My kids take baths every evening (okay not EVERY evening), but I am allowed to do the same. It’s the only time in my day when I was able to get it done, with having an infant who I had to protect and a toddler to supervise. So even though this seems like such a minimal example… it was the first example that came to mind when I thought about the guilt we face as moms.
Another example of guilt I’ve faced is on the weekends, when I really want to just rest and play with the rest of my family… but “A mother’s work is never done.” There is always more laundry or dishes or food to be prepped or chores that didn’t get finished during the week. But this mama has been working all week, just like everyone else. So while it’s taken quite a while for me to do so, I’ve chosen to “put aside the guilt” of the house not being perfectly cleaned or not having all of the same routines I have during the week. I now take the time to relax and do something I enjoy as well. Sure, I still make sure the family is fed and we have clothes to wear. But its the bare minimum. Usually, you can find me sitting next to my husband on the couch with my planner or laptop while he’s watching football. Both of us are being fulfilled and doing things that we enjoy.
I know this may not be possible for everyone. You might have sports events on Saturdays, and there are certainly different seasons of life and of the year as well where the obligations are different. As a mom who stays at home during the week, my children and I get the bulk of the chores done throughout the week so we can have time on the weekends with Daddy here. If you are a working woman, this might look a little different. Maybe you could have a Weekly Home Blessing Hour – where each member of your family tackles their own list of chores for one hour, and then you all have the rest of the day to enjoy together. Seriously, set a timer and see how much you can all collectively get done in that time!
Just try different things to find something that works for you. And then toss away that guilt, and let yourself have some time to do what you really love!