I want to start by saying I am in no way discounting the dads out there that are feeling the same discomfort. I just find that my dads don’t need as many reminders to carve out down time. But there are also so many variables of “mom types” so it makes perfect sense that I hear so many reasons why they are struggling in this area.
So, mom’s (parents), I want you to know something. Whether you are a stay at home parent, a working parent, a single parent with shared custody, or the sole parent; alone time is a crucial part of daily life, and you deserve to have this time without justification!
I get it, there is a large percentage of you reading this that simply don’t feel worthy of self-care. And then there are those of you who genuinely feel too “needed” and feel it would be selfish of you to take some time for yourself. I know because as a mother who raised 5 children, I felt both scenarios, and many other variations over the years.
I am here to tell you that these thought processes are simply just unfair. It is also ineffective living and parenting!
Sure, there will be initial discomfort. There will be worry that our partner, co-parent, sitter, etc. won’t know the “right way” to heat a bottle, won’t know the tricks to getting the kids to bed without incident, won’t check the homework completely, won’t know where the best drop-off spot is for school, the list goes on and on in the mind of a mother. There will also most likely be some feelings of guilt, the “I shouldn’t need time away from my children, they are my world” or even the guilt internalized because of other peoples comments or beliefs, the “I work all day, this is your job, why would you need time to yourself when you can do or be where ever you want all day” statements.
But I am here to tell you this is all wrong. You absolutely need time to be connected with yourself. You need to know yourself as an individual person. You need to obtain or regain and even maintain those things, those feelings, that make you the person you were before you acquired the job description “mom”. You will find so much joy and relief when you do.
And NO, you should not ever have to beg, plead, or fight with anyone to get the time you need! Looking back, I can see how helpful it was for me once I made the shift. I can also see how much it helped the children and my husband, because I was more relaxed, I was more satisfied, I was less drained emotionally, I was more interested, and I had so much more to offer.
Yes, I said it. By taking the time to give myself attention I ultimately was able to offer my family more. I was leading by good example, they were seeing me through a different lens, they could feel my contentment. Now they all operate from this foundation that self-care is the primary piece to life satisfaction.
So, here are some facts and serious consequences of no alone time:
· Mental health disturbances are real – depression, anxiety, burnout, and extreme stress are directly related to improper self-care.
· Physical health disturbance is real – headaches, backaches, sleeplessness, weight fluctuation, propensity for illnesses, heart conditions, and poorer health in general are linked to self neglect.
· Failing to take care of our personal needs as parents generates less effective parenting practices, greatly decreases patience levels, generates higher levels of parenting distress, depletes our ability to find satisfaction and joy in our role, and produces more extreme discipline postures.
The bottom line is this; if you continue to be unwilling to ask for help, slow down and take time for yourself, you will eventually break down. What that ultimately looks like will depend on how long that takes. I have seen moms that crack in their 30’s, and then I see other moms who make to their 70’s before they realize the damage.
So, what do you do now?
You need to get to the route cause driving your belief about your ability to find alone time. Investigate what is standing in your way. Understand if it is lacking support or an emotional barrier. Create a solution and commit to engaging in what ever it takes for you to be as happy and healthy as you desire (and deserve) to be!
The fear of change can really be a fear of learning something new. We have been where you are, we have an effective solution, and we are here to help!
A consultation with our Life Coaching team is risk free! Let’s talk! www.turningleavesrecovery.com