Last week I was having a conversation with my friend Miriam about self-kindness and how we often think that kindness refers to how we treat others but we forget that part of that is also how we treat ourselves. Miriam mentioned that often times as mothers we are so busy taking care of everyone that we forget about ourselves. This brought up a very valid topic and one that I’ve struggled with over the years.
One thing that I’ve found difficult over the years is maintaining my identity. Before getting married and becoming a mom I was very independent. The only thing I wouldn’t do alone is eat at a restaurant (I don’t know why that just makes me feel really sad). I had hobbies, interests, I was always on the go, spent my free time doing things I loved. Over time things change. You start doing less for yourself, your free time dwindles, the pace of life changes and before you know it you’ve given up most if not all of the things that made you who you are outside of mom and or partner.
I recently had a coaching session as part of my Life Coaching training. I decided to coach around balancing being a parent with being an individual. I realized that while I do have areas to improve upon in my parenting, overall I’m doing better than I give myself credit for. On the other hand, I’m not doing very well with nurturing myself. One thing that I struggle with is a sense of guilt. Whenever I do things for myself, I feel selfish. I tell myself what I could have done instead. It has also lead to me feeling a sense of jealousy towards my husband (hear me out!). When he does things for himself I feel jealous; not of his time, not of what he’s doing but of the freedom that he has. Mainly freedom of guilt about his choices. He goes and plays baseball once a week guilt free. I envy his attitude and how he accepts that as time for himself to disconnect and have a good time doing something he enjoys.
I want to enjoy doing something without letting the feeling of what I could or should be doing overshadow what I am doing and letting it take away from my experience. I struggle with self-imposed guilt. I also compare myself to my mom who I rarely (if ever) remember her doing anything for herself and my grandma who was able to raise 5 kids without modern conveniences which left her with little to no time to nurture herself. What I’ve come to realize is that I have to stop comparing myself and focus on my story and what I can do to make this chapter the best it can be.
During my coaching session I realized that my biggest problem is the way I view doing things for myself. So my first goal was to change my perspective on doing things for myself, I’ve decided to look at it as maintenance. I need to maintain myself so that I can operate at my best and in turn give my family the best of me. If you’ve been following me for a little while you know by now that all roads lead back to balance. I need to balance my priorities, time and intentions with finding personal fulfillment through activities and time for myself while still being the mom I want to be. I’m more than confident that this is attainable, I just needed some perspective and to take a good look at what was keeping me from doing so. Blogging is one thing that I have taken up that meets this goal. Another thing I’ve decided to take up is Yoga because that will check two goals off of my list at once. In addition to having time for myself to do something on my own without feeling guilty about it, I’ll also be doing something that improves my health.
Can you relate to this? What keeps you from nurturing yourself? What are ways that you can nurture yourself? Do you need to get better at it or do you have a good balance in this area? What can you do to incorporate some “me time” into your life? Who might you ask to support you to make it happen? Is it important to you to have a self-identity outside of the roles you have? What have you found that works for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!