“But I feel guilty…” she lowered her gazed and we all sensed how difficult it was for her to admit that.
“Please don’t be.” One of the ladies chimed in.
“Yes, please don’t feel bad. It is completely OK to getaway from motherhood for a bit.” Another adds their encouraging words.
As I sat there with 9 other women, all from different backgrounds; We got to learn, to understand and build more compassion towards others during the Joyful Living Retreat. I realized how many mothers feel that way too and how much I can relate to what the other ladies were sharing.
The guilt that weighs on mothers whenever they decide to do something for themselves; Where does it come from? Is it from unrealistic expectations we impose on ourselves? That we are the main caretakers, the one who holds the family together? There seems to be this invisible high bar we moms set ourselves up for.
Clean tidy home, Pinterest-worthy meals for the family, crafty fun for the kids, baby sign language, anyone?
I have been there before.
In the midst of juggling and keeping everything together, I sadly lost myself. I Lost my bearings. When I was still married, I was a helicopter mom who couldn’t leave my boy alone without feeling anxious and worried even when the ex-husband encouraged me to do so. I can’t understand that period, as it was quite hazy and blurry.
It’s easy for us moms to give and give and give even more. It all comes naturally with the territory of being a mother, isn’t it?
It took me quite a long time to shed that same guilt from my dictionary. Actually, it wasn’t until I became a single mom that I realized how important my “me-time” really is. For my own sanity and for my child’s happiness, it is crucial to have a sane mother. Don’t they say happy moms will have happy children?
Now, I make sure I refuel my love tank by doing what I love and knowing how healthy it is to do so sets me free from guilt. It is not selfish! It is healthy to make time for us to do what we love, to enjoy life. We really can’t pour from an empty cup and to fill that cup I recognized I must allow myself to be the woman I really am. For me, this started with working out, with having coffee with friends sans kids, to traveling out of town (and out of the country) without my son.
By nurturing the real Maureen, I am nurturing the mother of my child and I truly feel I am a much better mother when I am happy.
I’m not saying that you should ditch your children and travel the world – although you could – but start small, go for that line dance class you’ve been wanting to try or join that yoga class.
As the Joyful Living Retreat came to an end, I hugged that new friend of mine tightly and wished her well. She looked happy, lighter and relaxed which what I wish all of my mom friends would feel.
How about you, ladies? What do you do for “me time”? Did you feel guilty for taking the time away from your family?
This is an original article by World Mom Maureen Hitipeuw