How To Relax and Let Go Of "Mom" Guilt
Don't Feel Guilty If Being a Mom Stresses You Out
Unfortunately, everyone feels the effects of stress due to simply living in this fast-paced and challenging world. As a mother, stress sometimes comes from the thing that you feel should be the happiest and most fulfilling part of your life – your kids. But the fact is that being a mom is sometimes stressful, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. The stresses of motherhood come from the constant care that children require. Caring for little ones when they are ill, and sleepless nights when your baby wants to play at 2 AM rather than rest are just a few things that can cause you stress and worry.
You many also endure stress from running kids to sports practices, taking your children to doctor appointments and classes, and sometimes just dealing with your child’s moods and demands. These all can cause you stress and even resentment. It is very important to know though that this happens to all moms, and it’s normal that you will feel this way. It’s also normal that you may feel guilty about feeling stressed and resentful. Kids are a huge responsibility, and even though you love them and wouldn’t trade them for anything, they can stress you out.
Sometimes you might feel that you just want to escape from it all, and actually, if your duties as a mom are getting to you, that may not be a bad idea. You can’t jump on the next flight for Paris and never come back, but getting away for an afternoon on a regular basis can do a world of good for you and your kids. Let grandma or grandpa sit with the children, or trade babysitting duties with a trusted friend. Get out of the house and do something you really enjoy, whether it’s a quiet afternoon walk in the park, or lunch and a movie with your best friend. Make sure you also get away once in a while with your husband for a date night. Put on a nice dress or outfit, fix your hair and makeup and go out for a quiet dinner, or a concert, or a double date with friends that you haven’t seen in a while.
It’s okay to get away now and then, and it will give you a chance to re-identify with yourself, your friends and your partner. You should also make time each day for yourself – even if it’s just ten or fifteen minutes.
If you feel guilty about feeling stressed out at your mom duties, or if you feel guilty about spending time away or on yourself, take time to work your way through that. Guilt feelings aren’t productive and they won’t help you to be a better mother. The guilt may come from the way you were raised – you might have had a mom that completely devoted herself at all times to her kids and you feel as if you are failing if you don’t do that or feel resentful for having to do that.
Sometimes guilt comes from people that we compare ourselves to such as friends, neighbors or even television characters. Don’t do this to yourself. Only you know how to deal with your own family and self in a way that will keep you healthy and happy. You need to be healthy and happy in order to be a great mom. If you are really having problems with guilt feelings, you may want to work through them with a counselor or other professional.
When you become a mother, your kids become the first priority in your life, and that’s as it should be. However, you still need balance. You need time alone, and you need to take care of yourself. Don’t let guilt overshadow the joy you have in life with your family and all of the other things that makes your life worthwhile to you.
How to Relax When You Only Have a Few Minutes
As mentioned earlier you should take a few minutes each day for peace and quiet. You can use them to relax and rejuvenate yourself and completely decompress. Depending on your tastes, you can find several ways to spend as little as ten minutes relaxing when the kids are napping or just before they wake in the morning. Here are some ideas:
- During your child’s naptime, take a short catnap. Make sure you can hear your little ones when they wake up.
- Sit quietly and do some deep breathing exercises. Sit straight and breath in deeply to the count of six – breathe deeply under you fill your whole lungs. Hold for a couple counts and then release the breath slowly until all the air is out of your lungs. Repeat several times.
- Read a few pages of a favorite book.
- If there is another responsible person in the house, take a few minutes to go outside and take a walk. Look at all scenery and even pick a few flowers and smell them.
- Unwind for a few minutes by working on a craft that you love, like scrapbooking, blogging, or drawing.
- Get an exercise DVD that has it’s program cut into short segments – do one or two exercise segments to burn off some steam and relax your body.
- Do a short yoga session.
- Take a few minutes to do some healthy stretching.
- Sit quietly and write in a journal. Write anything – your hopes, dreams, plans or funny things that have happened.
- Sit quietly on the porch or patio and watch the world go by.
- Make yourself a cup of tea and sip it slowly. Nibble on a favorite cookie, too.
- Fix yourself a healthy sandwich or bowl of soup and take your time eating it – don’t gulp it down. As a parent we typically have to scarf down our food to take care of our little ones. Instead, savor every bite you take.
- Fix a facemask and give yourself a facial. Rinse the mask off; apply moisturizer and makeup for a refreshed looking you.
- Make an honest effort each morning to practice a stress reducing method such as meditation or prayer. Either of these can help you focus on your inner self and your spirit.
These are only a few ideas of ways to relax in just a few minutes. You can probably come up with a long list of things you like to do when you have some free time that help you feel rejuviated and relaxed.
Even when you have children, a home, a job, a relationship, hobbies, classes to take, friends to pay attention to, a lawn to be mowed and dishes to wash, you still need to grab time for yourself to relax, unwind and refresh yourself. These small moments can be valuable helpers in keeping you de-stressed and sane. As a mom, you’ve got a lot to do and a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. It’s important to remember that one of your first responsibilities is to take care of yourself. You’ll be able to better perform all of you other jobs.
Relaxation is a vital element of everyone’s life. Without it, stress can creep up and overtake you, making you less effective as a mother, and in other areas of your life. Stress can also affect your health and well-being – if it’s bad enough, to the point of making you ill. Don’t miss even small opportunities to relax and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
Make Sure You Disconnect to Stay Sane
With the advent of email, social media, cell phones, etc., we’ve become accustomed to always being available to anyone and everyone at all times. In many ways this is great, but when it’s time for you to spend family time with your children, or time for you to spend time relaxing by yourself, being hooked up, tuned in and turned on can be a liability.
Make sure that when it’s time to unwind with the kids, you disconnect so that your kids really do have you all to themselves. If you are a mom that works outside of the home, you may feel obligated to be at the beck and call of the office. Don’t allow yourself to be at the mercy of your career at the expense of your children. Be sure that you arrange times when you are completely free from having to answer emails, text messages and phone calls. And when you do have free time, plan to spend that with your kids whether it’s playing at the park, or baking cookies, or reading a book together. If you are spending time with your children, they need you to pay attention to them, not to your cell phone.
If you are a stay at home mom, you still may have times when your cell phone rings and you are tempted to take time away from your child’s mommy and me time. Or you might feel a need to check your email often.
Designate certain times in which you are available to chat with friends or to plan the next PTO meeting with fellow members, and other times when you are not available. Each day, turn the cell phone off, or at least silence it, and walk away form the computer for a couple hours. Make this time a time for you and your little ones to talk, play, read, exercise, plant flowers or do anything else together. The whole idea is togetherness without undue interruptions.
It’s also important to disconnect for your own sake once in a while. As a busy woman, you need to take time for yourself, too - maybe for going for a morning walk or jog, or a quiet few minutes when the kids are napping.
Turn of the phone’s ringer, and let the email sit. Put your iPhone down and take some peace and quiet time for yourself. You must make time to rejuvenate yourself and you can’t do it if you are constantly answering calls, emails and text messages. Everyone can wait for a few minutes or an hour.
In this time of advanced technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending flow of communication. To be connected in every way can be an advantage in some ways, but it can take a serious bite out of the time you need to spend concentrating solely on your children or yourself. Don’t cheat your family out of some special time with you.
The moments you take with your kids now, while they are young, will always be remembered and appreciated. The moments you take for yourself are no less valuable, giving you a chance to catch your breath. Remember to relax and let go of any mom guilt you may have and start living a more happy peaceful life.