Selfish moms really get a bad rap. Moms as a category are quick to judge their peers and they are generally all over judging the “selfish mom”. But why? Why does the mom who is a martyr for the family, put her needs third or even fourth, or suffers in silence cast such strong judgment over her motherhood sisters who have found a way to balance their needs?
Here are some actual truths about “selfish” moms:
- I don’t love my kids any less than you do
- Being selfish doesn’t mean I am an inferior parent
- My spouse comes home to a happy house
- My kids see me happy and engaged
- I’m showing my kids the importance of loving oneself
- We might take what we need but are quick to recognize the needs of others
You Control the Mood of the House
Someone said this to me recently and it stuck, “you are in control of the mood of the house”. It’s so true and so obvious but something we accidentally overlook as we are stuck in the day to day grind of life. Moms are powerful beings and big influences over our homes. If you’re having a rough day parenting, your kids are going to absorb that the same way they would absorb you being in high spirits. If your husband walks in the door and you instantly tell him what a terrible day it was, the course of the evening has been shifted.
What is an easy solution to control our mood and in turn pump of the mood of the family? Simple, take better care of ourselves.
4 Simple Steps to Take Better Care of Yourself “AKA Be Selfish”
For the Moms who struggle with doing a little bit more for themselves, here are some ways that you can be selfish that won’t make the world stop spinning on its access.
Let Your Kids Play Unsupervised for 15 Minutes Every Day
Use this time to do whatever you want for yourself. Read a book, have a cup of tea, or just lay with your eyes closed. As long as you have created a baby proof place for them, they will be fine. It might take a little practice but your kids learning to play together without a mediator will be good for them.
It takes me a little while to turn on in the morning so when my kids are up they play in sisters room until I have had a chance to get dressed, brush my hair and put on a little makeup. Taking this time lets me greet them with joy every morning and feel better about myself for the rest of the day. Heck let’s be honest, if my husband is home late and we’re off our napping schedule they will probably get a second “play alone session” right around high tea…that is if we aren’t already driving through Starbucks.
Train Your Kids to Give You the Time You Need
Staying at home can be a lonely job and having the ability to connect with our outside world of friends and family throughout the day can make the isolation of motherhood feel less lonely. If we want time to text or talk on the phone we can’t expect that our kids will just know how to patiently wait for us to give them our time, we need to train them to be patient. If you are like me and have a list of people you could pick up the phone and talk to about nothing in particular at length, you need to find a way to manage your child’s expectations and learn to wait for you.
Create a Window of Opportunity
Try taking your calls while walking the kids in the stroller. Every day I load up the double bob with the kids and the dog and walk for 30 minutes. Sometimes we end up at the park, sometimes my daughter walks and most of the time they just sit and talk in the view. This is my time to talk on the phone. The kids don’t interrupt me (which is made easier by the fact they can’t see me) and my friends know this is always the best time to catch me available.
For the times outside of that window try to be sure you aren’t completely ditching your kid for whoever is texting or calling you. Your son probably was having the time or his life playing hide and seek with you and the fact that you just stopped right in the middle and ditched him, hurt his feelings. How would you feel if right in the middle of girls night your bestie left the table to go and join another group of friends that just walked in? That’s what our phones are to our kids.
Treating yourself is a simple way to make sure that you aren’t forgetting about taking care of yourself. Some stay at home Moms have spouses with long work days, out of town travel, and a handful of after work activities. It’s hard to hear about all these women do for their spouses and families but little about what they do for themselves. There are a million different ways you can treat yourself and they don’t have to be monetary. Maybe it’s swinging by Starbucks on the afternoon the kids aren’t napping but are just out of control fussy. Maybe it’s telling your spouse that he’s in charge of dinner for the night or he needs to grab takeout on the way home. Or maybe it’s taking a weekend away with the girls.
With the long days of watching little kids there is plenty of time for everyone to get their needs met. You can still put your kids in the gym daycare for an hour and given them dozens of fantastic adventures and moments for the rest of the day. What I am calling “being selfish” is actually probably not selfish at all. Don’t lose yourself in being a parent by letting the universe revolve around your kids. Because at the end of the day the more you love and accept yourself the easier it is to love and accept others.