As an adult we have many responsibilities.
If you own a home, you gain more.
If you’re married, stack on responsibilities for towards spouse.
As a parent… the responsibilities become endless.
With so many responsibilities it is impossible to keep up with them all, all the time. The cards are stacked too high against us. Life becomes a balancing game of priorities. It is a very hard game. A game that we (parents) battle everyday.
Full disclosure… this is my biggest struggle as a mom.
I have been wondering why it is so hard to prioritize and feel good about my decisions as an adult, homeowner, spouse, and parent. Do other moms (parents) stress about this all day long like I do? Do other moms feel this guilt every day about making the right priorities? What are other moms priorities? Are mine the same? Are mine wrong?
If I place responsibility A above responsibility B will that be the right choice? Will I get less or more backlash than if I were to put responsibility B first? Will my family be happier? Will the kids be ok? Will my marriage be better?
The mom guilt is real.
As a stay at home mom it is easy to prioritize my life as so:
- Outside responsibilities
- My husband/marriage
My better judgment self knows this is wrong. My daily scatterbrain self in survival mode who is filled with endless mom guilt doesn’t listen. Am I alone? Or am I the norm these days for moms?
With constant messages like these its no wonder my priorities are the way they are. In todays culture moms are shamed if they put themselves first. Moms get shamed for every choice they make in motherhood. Moms are told their needs don’t matter, only the kids’.
Studies have shown stay-at-home moms are more depressed than working moms. I say this not to discredit any doubt, guilt, or depression working mommas have. I say this because I feel it. The isolation. The feeling under appreciated. The struggle with priorities. The shame.
My responsibilities are the same, if not less than a working mom. But my priorities are what’s different. It’s my priorities (or lack thereof) that are contributing to my mom guilt and depression. It is the fact that taking care of myself is my last priority and therefore often doesn’t happen. Its that I don’t give myself an outlet, a distraction, a form of work away from raising my kids. I am 24/7 feeding, diapers, tantrums, baths, and bedtimes. All day. Every day.
So how do I change this? How can you change this? How can we change our mindset behind our priorities? Can we as a community of moms free ourselves from our mom guilt, failure, and fear of shame? Yes. But it is anything but easy. What will it take?
Baby steps. Just letting go. Being selfish!
Now stop rolling your eyes and please keep reading. I will be the first one to admit this is hella hard and so much easier said than done. I’ve been a mom for almost four years, and I just now have come to terms with what is behind my struggle. Four years of feeling inadequate. Feeling guilt. Feeling I was a failure mom and wife.
Don’t make my mistake and the mistake of all the other mommas who are burned out. Young moms, old moms, new moms, moms of many. Start now and be selfish(ish).
Lately I have seen a much needed movement on social media for us mommas. “Mom enough”. We (YOU) are enough of a mom for your babies. If you are worried about doing good enough you are more than enough. I was told children need 30% of your attention, commitment, and support in order to form secure attachment. Thirty percent!! That means we can take some time to prioritize ourselves.
That means you can take that coffee date with your girlfriend and leave the kids with dad. That means once a week you can enjoy a target run kid free (maybe even Starbucks in hand) and ask grandma to babysit. That means you can use an entire nap time writing a blog post and give the older kids screen time so you get some “me time” ;).
We are enough.
We can be selfish(ish). Our kids need us to be selfish.
I listed out my priorities earlier. However they were not in the correct or healthy and productive order. It is a well known, but nearly impossible to practice, saying, “you must take care of yourself before you can take care of others.” Impossible right? I have always been the mom who doesn’t. During a plane crash I think I would put my kids’ air masks on first. I know it is wrong, but I think it is right.
It is not a normal motherly instinct to be selfish. To take care of ourselves first instead of last. But want to know a secret? When you do… it is so good! And your kids will benefit. Your kids will survive if you leave for an hour to shop in silence. Your kids will be fine with a little extra screen time so you can sneak to the bathroom without an audience. Your kids will see how happy you are. Your kids will see how it is important to take care of themselves too. It is not selfish to put yourself first for your health and happiness. Don’t go overboard… but do what you need. Give yourself a break and put you at the top of your priorities. Find your supporters and lean on them to help.
Find your me time and be selfish(ish).