Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with a friend. She was telling me about something that she’d read. It was a post about motherhood. The author was talking about the need to be a selfish mother. At first, I balked. My thoughts went straight here:
- You can’t be selfish once you have children.
- Your life isn’t only about you.
- The kids ALWAYS come first.
- If you’re being a selfish mama, what are your kids missing out on while you’re all about you?
I’m the mom that felt bad every time I dropped my babies off at day care. I lingered around forever because I didn’t want to be away from my babies. Now that my babies are at home full time, I’m the mom who felt guilty when I ran to the coffee shop to work for a few hours. Yeah, I’m that mama. Me – a selfish mama? I couldn’t see it.
As she continued telling me about this post, I started to change my thoughts. It began to make sense to me. It really didn’t seem so bad to be selfish at all – it’s survival. The thing that popped into my head was the words I hear when boarding an airplane. They always tell you when traveling with children, in the event of an emergency to put the oxygen mask over your own face first. Growing up, I thought that was messed up. You’re telling people to protect themselves and kick the kids to the curb? Of course, not. That’s what it sounded like to me as a little kid though.
Making sure you have oxygen first, makes you better equipped to help your child. If you’re struggling to breathe, you can’t think clearly. When you’re not thinking clearly, you won’t make it. If you don’t make it, how can you help your kids? I think the same is true overall in motherhood. I have been guilty of being last on my own list. Though I have gotten better about it. For example, I know that I need to get myself ready first in the morning. If I don’t, things tend to go a bit off track. It’s just easier for me to get my children together, if I’m already pulled together. In a sense, it sets the tone. My babies see that I’m dressed and they know what’s expected. They know what’s coming next. It’s their turn and they begin to do things to get ready.
Could that be true in other cases? Of course! If we set out to take care of ourselves first in other areas, will it teach our kids to make themselves a priority? There are definitely extremes to this. Some people who don’t spend time with their kids because of this idea of putting yourself first. There has to be a balance though, right? There are times to be “selfish” and there are times to make yourself “next in line”. It’s a dance. At times, I tend to hang out in the “next in line” phase a bit longer than I should. I have learned to put myself on my own list more often. Even when it feels selfish. That may look like a Pilates class, a hip hop dance class or an afternoon spent with a friend.
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As moms, it’s no secret we juggle a lot. We feed, clean and clothe small people. We entertain, teach and engage them. Taking them to countless activities and pretty soon your calendar only reflects your child’s social activities. Am I the only one here? It can get to the point that you can’t remember the last time you had a meal with your husband that didn’t involve cutting up someones else’s food. All of these things are part of being parents, absolutely.
That could mean making time for a hair appointment, a pedicure or a shopping trip to Target – ALONE. Make time to have a meal (you didn’t prepare) and gaze at that hottie you married. You almost forgot about that part of him because you’re used to seeing him as a father now. Make time for sharing a meal and maybe a *gasp* glass of wine with your girlfriends. It feels good to laugh your face off about grown woman stuff every now and then. It may feel selfish but I promise it will make you a better mama.
What about you? What do you think of this idea of a being a selfish mama?