A mom, let’s call her Melissa, posted in one of my moms’ Facebook groups that she felt guilty about wanting to have some me time. The guilt came from the fact that her own mother questioned this want or need and that she, as a young mother, never wanted to be away from Melissa or felt the need to have some me time.
I feel that this desire to have time away from our mommy duty is pretty prevalent nowadays. And it made me think about why our mothers do not feel as we do now. In my case, my mother – who was born in the late fifties in Europe – was basically raised to take care of a household. She learned how to cook, clean, care for the elders and her siblings. I, on the other hand, was raised to be an independent woman, get a college degree and be successful. I was raised to be selfish basically.
And then comes along motherhood, where the sense of self is washed away as soon as you push your little bundle of joy out. I no longer exist. My baby depends on me, my husband expects me to be no different than before. But the truth is your life is forever changed.
So, here we are, going from independent women to SAHMs (I hate that acronym by the way), broken down physically, mentally, emotionally because we were just not prepared for it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, motherhood is a beautiful thing. I wouldn’t trade my spot with anything else in the world…but come on, we need a break. Especially that the people closest to me tell me how frustrated I can be at times, when I should be happy to have such a beautiful family. Well, yes, I am frustrated, because sometimes I want to feel like my old self again, even if it’s just for a few hours per day, per week or even per month.
Anyhow, you know how the universe works, right? You send out some sort of plea and it comes back to you in the most unusual, yet basic form. I saw this sequence on the news one early Saturday morning: a life coach was presenting her work. I caught the last minute of the show so I researched her online and immediately fell in love with her.
I was invited in her home: she was hosting an intimate dinner with several other women, we shared our story, our current struggles and we meditated together. It was such a release to be understood and accepted as I was. And that was my first step into giving myself time and reconnecting to my being, to my soul.
A couple of weeks ago, I followed a workshop with the same person. The goal was to release an emotion and set a mantra, if you will, for yourself. At the end of the workshop, we went home with a vision board. On mine, there is a woman holding up sticks in each hand. That is me balancing my life as a mother, a wife and Julie. I also put my name over her head and a cutout saying “Forget me not”.
My vision board is framed and strategically placed in the hallway. Each time I go in and out of the house, I am reminded of my intention – to find balance, wherever I go, what ever I do. It’s a random act of kindness towards myself and I am grateful (for my sanity and the sanity of those around me) to make the decisions to go through with what I feel in my gut is good for me.
Because remember, that you can only be kind to others when you are kind to yourself. And it’s not because you take “time off” that you are a bad mother or should feel guilty. You’re taking time away, pressing the reset button, to be the better version of yourself.