Photo Credit: Alex Bertha, Unsplash.com

For many years, I’ve lived in a city that’s BIG on family life. It’s great when you need activities for your children and family and when you want to live in an environment that approves of you, wanting to make it to your children’s events, or putting your children first.

It’s a little more challenging when talking about putting yourself first. Largely, women have been programmed to not be selfish.

Everyone will understand if you’re wanting a day off to go on a school function with your child, maybe not so much if you’re taking yourself on a spa day and leaving the kids with the hubby, grandparents, or a friend.

Kids are sacred in my world, too, and our time with them should be treated as such. But next time you choose that spa day over a day with the kids and guilt arrives at your front door, pay attention to what goes through your head and heart.

Are you feeling worried that your kids will be well taken care of? And if so, how true is that scenario, really?

Are you feeling that prioritizing self-care time is selfish, which goes against your value system? And if so, is that a belief you’d like to hang on to or discard?

Are you thinking about your kids the whole time anyway, and “why take the time” if that’s the case? Ask yourself how much of your identity you want tied into being a parent and what that does to your relationships and your relationship with yourself.

Are you just sincerely enjoying your kids’ company and are you wanting to take advantage of the time with them before it’s gone? Now that’s more like it! Although you may want to ask yourself, “Who am I when my kids are no longer with me?”

I’ve come across a tremendous amount of women spending all their time with and for their kids without doing the same for themselves. I’m also guilty of my fair share. To be honest, I use my kids as an excuse to not go to social functions. But I’ll never use them as an excuse to not get a massage, exercise, or spend quality time with a friend.

When I know that I’m about to use my kids as an excuse to not do something, I always evaluate how valid that excuse is and what’s really going on. You’ll learn about yourself if you can self-observe without judgment.

I, for example, have realized that I really don’t care for large social functions — even though my social standard view still tells me that going to great parties are a part of a good, quality life. I’ve realized that I often enjoy my time with my kids more. And that’s okay.

What I’ve realized over the years is that my kids are watching me and they get their sense of what’s okay to do from me. So if I sacrifice myself for my kids, that just makes me a martyr, and I’m not taking responsibility for my own happiness.

The scary part’s that I’m teaching my kids to do the same thing as they grow up, and I’m putting part of the responsibility on their shoulders, although they never asked for it.

I remember hearing many shows on the radio about some mom that had been nominated as mom of the year for all that she’d done for everyone else. First of all, what’s that say about the value system I’m surrounded by? It’s a beautiful thing to spend so much time and effort on other people, but only if it’s balanced with meeting your own needs.

Every time I listen to a radio show I always wonder how much this woman is doing for herself? I’ll bet not enough. And the funny part’s that she always ends up winning a Spa package! So obviously, the host of the radio show recognizes  that she needs more self-care, too.

I’ve found that my kids think it’s cool when I do things for myself. It also means that I don’t end up in a silent resentment that inherently reaches them at some point. Silent resentment will poison the waters of your family, whereas taking care of yourself and owning your own happiness will enrich the waters with empowerment.

Empowerment for your kids to make their life their own, to own their happiness, and to not make other people responsible for their unhappiness.

Who would’ve thought that going to the spa would lead to this?!

Photo Credit: Alex Bertha, Unsplash.com