If you’re anything like a modern parent, then you are likely to be in the same boat with thousands of others who feel like they don’t deserve a so-called “me time” simply because they have too much going on such as balancing career, personal, and family responsibilities.
Most parents of today’s generation are living within society’s raising standards where cultural assumptions and obligations become seemingly more important than getting a couple of minutes to unwind and de-stress. Pretty tough world, isn’t it? While this concept probably appears normal to you as a parent, the truth is, being unable to have a slice of tranquillity to yourself even for a while greatly affects your personal well being.
How are you supposed to enjoy life as it happens when even the thought of “me” time antagonises you? Should you even feel bad about it? First, it’s important to understand the guilt.
We get it – you’re a busy parent who’s trying to stay on top of your daily tasks and making sure that your home is far from looking as if it were run over by a tornado! Your hands are tied and the only familiar “me time” you know is less than 5 uninterrupted minutes (sometimes even less) before someone demands a quick nappy change or a bowl of cereal. Those 5 blissful minutes alone with yourself and actually enjoying it is one of the main reasons why you sometimes feel guilty. I shouldn’t feel relieved when the kids are NOT demanding mummy to do this and that, right? Isn’t it my sole responsibility to be there for them and do anything at their beck and call? I don’t have the right to have time to relax because this is the road I chose – parenthood. Right?
Well, guess what? Yes, you can. Every mum has the right and even the privilege to be able to look after themselves while still being a great parent. Motherhood does transform us, but we still have our identities as individuals that also need to be nurtured. But before we explore your options, let’s try to understand where your guilt is coming from.
Emotions can sometimes play a cunning role in our lives, guilt being one of them. Guilt is a complex emotion that makes you feel bad about something in order to justify your goodness as a person. Most of the times, guilt is a good thing – it balances your conscience. However, when you over-indulge in this emotion inappropriately, you get stuck in it. It becomes a thought on repeat that makes you feel like a bad person, instead of leading you to an action point. You become a prisoner of your own negative feelings, which would then eventually turn you into a parentbot.
So why does “me” time make you feel guilty? This is probably because you think your personal well-being only falls secondary to the well-being of others, particularly your children. Although this sounds very selfless, remember that the overall wellbeing of your kids depends on your capability to take care of them and this could not be possible without your fortitude – so both your children and your well-being should go hand-in-hand.
Another reason is that society leads us to believe that the only acceptable aspects in life are economic and social values, and the lack of those does not entitle you to ask for anything more for yourself. Hence, you feel pressured to keep on impressing others whilst neglecting yourself in the process. The truth is, you don’t owe yourself to anyone, and you deserve every inch of happiness in the world. There is no one to impress but you.
Here are some more reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty.
1. Taking care of yourself puts you in a better position to take care of others
Sometimes, it’s all about priorities. How can you maintain a picture-perfect home when you are losing your sanity? If you are unwell and unhappy, you are in no position to support others, all the more when it comes to nurturing your children.
2. You need to value yourself
Taking “me” time means you have self-worth. It shows in the way you carry yourself in front of others. When you value yourself, people see it, and that will earn you respect.
3. “Me” time helps you become self-aware
This is the best time for you to enjoy your own company. After all the buzz going around in your life, you need to take some quiet moments and actually digest what’s happening within yourself and how you’ve been feeling. It helps you acknowledge your thoughts and be just YOU. People who do not prioritise giving themselves quality time usually have trouble shutting down as it becomes difficult for them to process their thoughts and feelings.
Letting go of your guilt and investing in your personal well-being will help you maintain a balanced life. Learn not to neglect yourself because you are as important as your career or your family. Don’t just wait for a free time as it won’t probably come. Find it.
This article was written by Katya Bowd, Founder of Mumsy & Bub, an Australian-based community of mothers who aim to inspire and educate mothers about the ups and downs, and in-betweens of motherhood. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for exciting news and updates. You may also send them an email at [email protected]