Hello Beautiful Mamas!

What are you feeling guilty about today? Is it that you didn’t spend enough time with the kids? You didn’t get all the housework done? You didn’t make enough time for hubby or significant other? Or maybe you had to take the day off work because one of the kids was sick? Or did you break a promise to one of the kids (unintentionally of course)? The list of reasons why a mum can feel guilty is endless right?

Hands up though if you ever feel guilty when you don’t make enough time for yourself? When was the last time you slept in? Or instead of doing housework, you gave yourself permission to relax with a book or go get your nails done? And do you feel guilty? NO! You’d probably feel guilty if you DID go get your nails done right?

OK girl… this post has lots of tips on ‘banishing the mama guilt’ plus some affirmations that you can say to yourself when you do start to feel a bit guilty.

“I am a woman
I’m not just a mum or a wife
I am me
And I love, honour and respect the woman I am”

Woman versus Mum
Who were you before you became a mum? What kind of things did you like to do? Maybe you could write a list? Do you do any of those things now? If not, why not? No time? No money? No energy? Mums don’t do that? What would my friends think? What would my hubby/partner think? Well I guess it kinda depends on what some of those things were BUT… there’s no rule book that says that because you are a mum now, you can’t be a woman!

Yes of course your priorities change and so they should! But you still need to do things for YOU.

I know I’ve traded going to see bands and staying out all night for quiet nights in with a good movie and a herbal tea (or maybe the sneaky wine). OR if I get an afternoon free, instead of visiting friends all the time, I’ll go get a massage or take a walk on the beach. I make sure I get some ‘me time’. It helps me stay sane. It helps me keep my cool when things get busy with the kids. It helps me be a better mum!

So how do I get a free afternoon you might be asking? I leave the kids with their dad or I ask a friend to watch them or as a last resort, I’ll book a sitter! It doesn’t have to be every week, but do try and schedule it in when you can!

Give yourself permission to be a woman!

“It’s OK to need, want and take a break from my family.”
“I give myself permission to do something for me.”

Filling up Your Cup
Forgive me if you’ve heard me use this analogy before but I think it is perfect for us mums. When you are on plane and they are doing the safety demonstration, they instruct that in case of emergency, you must put your own air mask on before helping others right? And do you know why this is? Because if you pass out, you cannot help anyone else anyway. Can you see where I’m going with this?

So as a mum, you need to look after yourself and put yourself first if you are going to be able to be the best mum you can be. Your basic needs – nutrition, sleep, exercise, time out, mindfulness – must be met. If you don’t find time for these things, you will burn out. And if you go down girl, the whole ship goes down right?

And if you are “lucky” and you don’t crash and burn, my bet is that you will be tired, cranky, un-fun and this is not ideal either!

So my dear… putting yourself first is not selfish… IT IS NECESSARY!

“I must take care of myself so I can take care of those I love”
“Taking time for me is not only OK, it is necessary”

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
What is perfect anyway? Find what works for you and your family and even if you don’t stick to your own rules all of the time, don’t beat yourself up! Embrace your perfect imperfections!

You are doing the best you can with what you know and what you have.

So what if you give your kids lollies or let them watch too much TV some days? And if you don’t read with them every day or didn’t breast feed, or think you yell too much or didn’t go on their school excursion or forgot to leave out the tooth fairy money or gave them a purple cup instead of a pink one… IT’S OK!

Take a deep breath mama. They’ll live! Tomorrow is another day.

You love them. They know you love them. And this is the most important thing.

What is the main thing you find yourself feeling guilty about? Is it something that happens a lot? Is it something you can change?

For example, I feel guilty about working full time and missing school activities and not doing homework with the kids. So I’ve negotiated 4 day weeks and also take days off for school excursions.

And the best piece of advice I can give you… DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS!

“I am exactly who my children need me to be”
“What other mums do has no bearing on me or my abilities”
“I am a good mum”

10 Years from Now
Ten Years from now, what do you think you will look back on with the most guilt?
– Not keeping up with the dirty washing
– Letting your kids have junk food every now and then
– Not being able to take your kids to Disneyland but having the best family camping trips ever
– Lying about the tooth fairy

My guess is that if you were looking back thinking you didn’t spend enough quality time with your kids or the time you did spend with them, you were always tired and stressed (about the washing) – these would be the things you would most regret.

So what are some small steps you can take to avoid this?

We’ve talked about some of them:
– Filling up your cup
– Explore different working arrangements (if you can)
– Finding ways to manage stress
– Mindfulness tools for you and your kids

I have found that by letting go of guilt, taking time out for me and learning ways to communicate with my kids better, I am much more physically and emotionally available to them.
If you’d like to delve deeper, keep an eye out for the soon to be released ‘Mumfulness’ eBook. Sign up for my newsletters to keep posted!