“Mum guilt” probably needs no introduction. It’s that wave of uneasiness that hits mamas when we are away from our children.
Why do mummies feel that way when we are not physically with our kids? Whether we are working mums, stay-at-home mums (SAHMs) or anything in between, we do need our “me time” and relish in being “us”.
Mums add on a new role of being our kids’ personal assistant, pencilling in and remembering when their immunisation dates are, guiding them with their homework and arranging activities to ensure their weekends are meaningfully spent. All these while juggling meetings and deadlines for working mums. It’s not any easier for SAHMs who hold the fort 24/7 with strategic toilet breaks or having to chow down meals in record speed.
Taking some time out for self-care, spending time with our spouse or just hanging out with our girlfriends is a breath of fresh air as we shift our focus and minds.
Mums, it’s time to reframe our thoughts about mum guilt and make plans for ourselves
It’s true that we can’t pour from an empty cup. Putting our needs as a priority is not selfish at all. Our children and husband are important; but we are equally important, right?
“Me time” can differ for each person – it could be a 15-minute coffee break to read, a pampering facial treat or having a hot meal with fellow mummy friends sans kids!
For some, it may seem easier said than done. Before we can plan our time away, we need to think about the child-caring aspect. If the husband isn’t available, is there a reliable adult we can entrust our child with while we head out for a breather?
Sometimes, it could be taking turns with our partners, or roping in our parents, in-laws or even a trusted friend.
The reality is: if we let this guilt consume us, it will shake our emotions and it affects the vibes within the family.
Ways to plan for “me time” and bust that mum guilt:
1: Accept that life with kids will be pretty different and some sacrifices are part it
Gone are the carefree days of simply doing anything, anytime and going just about anywhere when your heart (and time!) desires. We need to remind ourselves that whatever we do for our family is from our unconditional love for them. And yes, in between, it’s okay to grab a cup of bubble tea, sneak in a nap, or catch up on Netflix when everyone’s asleep.
2: Be intentionally present with the family
When you’re with the children, make sure to make the best of that quality family time. Put away other distractions like that mobile phone. If the messages and emails are not urgent, reply to them later. Talk to your kids, interact with them, and shower them with hugs and kisses. Just as Dr. Gary Chapman has identified the 5 love languages, every positive action with mummy and daddy fills their love bank too.
3: Adjust your own expectations
Sometimes, it’s really about ideal versus reality. Our schedules may be hit by sudden abrupt changes, so we simply have to adapt and make the best of things. Don’t beat yourself up if your child had to eat breakfast for lunch because you had an urgent meeting to run to. Things happen, and there are times we simply have to manage our own expectations of being a “super mummy” every single day.
4: Put “me time” in your calendar
If you think that doing this is going to increase your guilt, its time to rethink. It may seem like a “chicken and egg” cycle, but remember, a happy mum with a full cup of positive energy spreads the same to her family. The reverse is true too, so which are you going to choose?
5: Quit comparing with other mothers
Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison spurs improvement. Yes, and yes! Take a reality check and ask yourself, is all that causing you to drown in a sea of guilt and suspicions of self-worth? Social media may paint a perfect Instagrammable #momlife, but how many real moments are the same in the days of influencer mums? Some family members or mummy friends may be overly generous with their advice and opinions. However, at the end of the day, everyone’s family circumstances, expectations, resources and support system can be vastly different. Take some notes with a pinch of salt and make decisions for the best of your family – because only you will know what’s the most ideal arrangement.
So, go on and snuck in time for yourself, ladies! Mothers needs a break from the daily grind when raising our brood. I hope these tips help mama allay your concerns and remember to make time for your mind, body and soul too!