Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Doubts About Motherhood: Caring For Me

So I have been discussing some of the doubts I have encountered as a mother. I have discussed:

Breastfeeding
Pain Medicine
Identity


This week I'm going to talk about caring for me.

'Relax 51/52 2011' photo (c) 2011, Janet Ramsden - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
This one is hard for me. I really struggle with taking time for myself. I'm sure most mothers and frankly  most parents struggle with this. Even taking time for a long bath feels wrong. It feels like I am ignoring my kids and burdening my husband. He works from home and is with them so much time everyday. I want to be able to help him out and give him some time to himself. I feel selfish for focusing on me.

But when I take that long bath and put the 10 minute face cleanser on, I feel more relaxed. I feel ready to really be there with my family. When I take some time to relax with a good book or take a few extra minutes to fix myself a good breakfast, I feel more present with them. I don't feel like I'm scattered all over the place.

So which is more beneficial:

Taking care of me and then being really present with my family

Or

Being physically with them, but mentally stressed and scattered?

I think we all know the answer to that one. But actually living out that answer is so much harder than just saying the right thing. I have to remind myself multiple times that it is okay to go take a bath. It is okay to take a few minutes to read. It is okay to take time away for myself. I don't need to feel guilty or selfish.

I am still a good mother if I need a 30 minute bath. I'm still a good mother if I take an extra 10 minutes after work to sit quietly in my classroom with a book or a game. I'm still a good mother I go to bed early because I am exhausted after a long day. I'm still a good mother if I like going to work because it lets me be something other than a mother.

So for all of those of you like me out there, repeat after me:
I am still a good mother.

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