Is it selfish to take care of you? Or is it selfish NOT to? Let’s discuss this super important topic in the life of a mom.
In some ways I’ve always been an overachiever. My mom and I laugh that my blood type is A+ because that kinda reflects my personality and life goals as a young person. I wanted to be THE BEST at everything.
Becoming a mom didn’t change anything. I wanted to be THE BEST MOM. At one time that meant getting up early, staying up late, and sacrificing self-care in order “not to be selfish”. I was gonna give until everything was gone.
Seriously. I thought it was selfish to do something for yourself. When our third baby was born, just 19 months after our second, I refused to take naps if my toddler was awake. Even though my mom was there to care for him, I felt like I would be short-changing him if I didn’t spend those couple hours with him. Forget the fact that I was up more in the night with him than I was the newborn; I didn’t want him to have less than a perfect childhood.
Well, you can guess how that plan turned out. Yep. He’s had an imperfect childhood. Shocker.
I remember older moms telling me that I needed to have “ME time,” but I didn’t pay any attention to them. I had a friend who was constantly leaving her husband and babies for girls weekends with her friends. That model of “me time” just looked selfish.
And it can be. But that doesn’t mean that it is.
Is It Selfish to Take Care of YOU?
Is it selfish to take care of YOU?
This is a question that I’ve wrestled with these last 20+ years of motherhood. Yes, my firstborn turned 20 in June. Wow! It went by fast.
It wasn’t until I had my own health crisis that I realized it was selfish NOT to take care of me.
When the severity of my hyperthyroidism wasn’t yet diagnosed, my thoughts, of course, went to worse case scenarios. The idea of NOT being able to care for my family or live my life independently was hugely sobering. Particularly when I look back at the years prior and how I had pushed my body far past its limit, staying up late, working hard, drinking lots of caffeine, and otherwise, NOT making a point to rest and take care of myself.
If you don’t already have a practice of taking time out from your daily grind, resting abundantly, exercising, and pampering yourself every once in awhile, can I give you permission to do so?
While we don’t know the causes of my hyperthyroidism, and while it is manageable with drugs, I wish I had made some different choices five to ten years ago.
Let mine, mild though it may be, be YOUR CAUTIONARY TALE.
You need to take care of you.
And while it may feel selfish, I think you need to make it a priority. Talk with your husband and see what he thinks. Chances are he’ll agree. And he and your whole family will benefit.
When our four boys were 8 and under, my husband recognized that I was getting strung out. He instituted my Mom’s morning off. I left every Saturday morning with the instruction to do whatever I wanted — as long as I was back at lunchtime and had a meal plan. 😉
It was my saving grace. I could make it through the week, giving my little heart out, knowing I could recharge with alone time on Saturday.
My later health issues, the ones I just told you about, were of my own making. I had given up my Saturdays, had started my own business, had signed four cookbook contracts, and has otherwise decided that I could Wonder Woman through my days. I didn’t want my work to take away from my family, so I let it take away from taking care of ME.
I’ve learned my lesson. I want to be around and functioning when my kids are grown. I want to see those grankids who’ll be here before we know it. I’ve learned to take care of me.
So, now what do I do?
- I delegate more tasks to my husband and children.
- I go to bed by 9 pm most nights.
- I exercise. Well, at least more than I used to.
- I watch what I eat and don’t eat much sugar.
- I make a point to have down time, even though my to-do list might say otherwise.
And you need to, too.