Mums! Do you feel guilty for spending time and resources on self-care? I feel you – it’s normal. There are a lot of complex reasons for this within our society.
But despite what anyone else may say – and despite that little voice in your head – you deserve to focus on your own needs. In fact, it’s good for those you love when you take care of yourself! You truly can’t fill another’s cup if your own is empty.
So, I’d like to take this opportunity to emphasize why you shouldn’t feel guilty for practicing self-care and encourage you to do so in every area of your life.
It’s Not Selfish
First and foremost, you must understand that making time to care for yourself is not selfish in any way. It may be hard to get past the mindset that the needs of others are more important than your own, but overcoming this mindset is essential to allowing yourself to adequately meet your own needs.
Care isn’t a zero-sum concept. When you care for yourself, it doesn’t have to mean you don’t care about others.
Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It might be a cliche, but it really is like the airplane air mask comparison. You have to ensure you can breathe before you can help those around you.
If you’re tired, rundown and overwhelmed all the time, you absolutely cannot give your best self to others. You also can’t offer yourself the very best. Remember that self-care isn’t selfish.
This is doubly true if you’re a mum. Even though we have even more demands on our time and space, it’s even more important that we take time to look after ourselves. Otherwise the result is a burnt out, shouty mum – and that’s not good for anyone. Trust me, it’s so much easier to be a patient and kind parent when you’ve filled your own cup first.
It Sets a Good Example
If you’re a mummy, investing in self-care is not only good for you, it sets a good example for your kids. Little ones (and older kids!) learn from what they observe, and you want to teach them good habits and self awareness. If your child was getting stressed out from revising for a test or practising for their sports club, would you push them to keep going to the point of exhaustion, or would you encourage them to take a break and tend to their needs?
And even if you don’t have children, taking the time to care for yourself might be inspiring or motivational for those around you.
In order for a stigma to end, it has to be normalized. When more of us let the world around us know why self-care matters, they may begin to change their minds about the concept, as well.
It Demands Respect
It also sets a precedent for how you expect others to treat you. When you demonstrate that you value yourself and that you find worth investing time in yourself, they will respond in kind.
Conversely, if you always put yourself at the bottom of the list and ignore your own basic needs, don’t be surprised when the rest of the family don’t see your needs as important either. Sad but true.
Learning to say no and set boundaries is good for your relationships. It teaches others how you expect to be treated and makes it clear that you see yourself as a priority. There’s no reason to feel guilty for that.
It will take time to overcome a lifetime of message society has given you and you’ve internalized. But with practice, you can come to see the benefits of self-care and that it doesn’t have to be something that causes guilt.
What do you do to look after yourself? Can you take time for self-care today with no guilt? You can do it, mama!