Many mothers will tell you that they put their children and families needs first. Now while taking care of your family is and should be a high priority….taking care of yourself FIRST should be an even higher priority. Often our societal norms dictate that we should be selfless, and think of others before ourselves, that it is selfish to think of yourself.
I learned early on when I had young children that I needed what I called “mommy time” every once and a while. My mom or my husband would take the kids off to do something fun with them, and I could just BE. I didn’t have to do anything. In fact, just sitting on the sofa reading a book or taking a nap was heaven. This time was vital for me.
Now that the kids are grown, I’m finding a new way to have “my time” and it is essential. With the corporate clients I work with, there are so many who have calendars that are jam-packed. Recently in a meeting with an HR Director, she was trying to find a time for a follow-up meeting, and I saw as she scrolled through her calendar, that is was non-stop meetings from 8 to 5 every single day for weeks in advance. I asked her if she’s catching up on her real work after she puts her kids to bed and I could tell I hit a nerve. Yes, she was taking time after hours to complete what should have been her normal day-to-day tasks.
It is not an uncommon story. Unfortunately, I see it more and more and this is NOT sustainable.
Scheduling time for self-care is not a luxury—it’s a necessity!
When you take care of yourself first, you are then able to give more to others. Why do you think on airplanes you’re supposed to put your air mask on first before your kids? Same reasoning. If you aren’t doing well, how can you expect to take care of others?
So drop the guilt or the shame or the overwhelm. Be selfish! Because it’s not! Block out time in your calendar if you have to. Otherwise, there’s a high risk that eventually you may burn out or that your body will give you a major health issue that will stop you in your tracks.
Discover the things that feed your soul and put them into your days and weeks regularly. It can be taking a walk, being out in nature, painting, yoga, meditation, biking, spending quality time with your best friend, dancing, skiing, whatever it might be. Just do it! You will be glad. Especially because it’s the things that recharge our batteries that will give us a life we love to live.