mom guilt

yoga self care

[uncommon sense]: The Importance of Quality Self-Care

Alyssa recently spoke at an event about the importance of self-care. This is a summary of her conversation. We hope you can take away some good advice about what quality self-care means to you and how to apply it to your busy life!

Self-care has become one of those phrases that we roll our eyes at and say, “Yea, I know I need to take more time for myself. Self-care makes me a better mother, or makes me a better wife, or makes me a more productive employee. Yup.” Then we do nothing about incorporating it into our life.

So I’ve been thinking about this topic, trying to figure out a way to define self-care in a way that makes it relevant to all us busy moms. Something to make us realize that in the midst of all the chaos, it is a MUST!

What are some things that come to mind when you hear self-care? Just think about it for a minute. Most of us think of manis and pedis. Maybe a massage. All that is great but what good does if do if we are only caring for our physical bodies? So we have pretty nails, did that do anything for our peace of mind? Was that quality self-care? Maybe for some. But I think we need to dig deeper into what self-care truly is.

Think about this – The quality of our self-care can determine outcomes. It can take us from where we are now to where we want to go. A pedi can’t do that.

Self-care is your path to well-being. When you take care of yourself you’re happier and you therefore attract help, support, productivity, positive relationships, and positive influences. You thrive. Quality self-care makes you radiant from the inside out. People can feel it and are drawn to it.

When we get “too busy” and overload our schedules, that in turn can have the opposite effect – unhappiness, poor relationships, and even physical ailments like migraines and insomnia.

Think of self-care as your fuel. It’s your on-switch. You have to fuel yourself, nourish yourself, so you’re not running on empty or just running on adrenaline. We all have busy lives, and making time for quality self-care actually gives you fuel to do it more efficiently.

Listen to your body. Think of quality self-care as your prescription. When your body is telling you something, be it mental or physical, ask yourself if self-care would fix it. Because your mind and body are not separate. They are fully connected and when you can relax you mind, your body will follow.

An example of this would be every single time I get a manicure. I was just joking with a friend that a manicure is actually stressful for me. I don’t have the use of my hands so I can’t answer the phone, I can’t check emails, or even just browse Instagram! I’m stuck there, staring at the wall, or the lady in front of me, in silence for an hour. I’m miserable. But my nails look good!

So that’s not quality self-care for me. The physical things we do should also be combined with mental practices and rituals. I think if I made it a ritual to get a mani with a friend, that would be quality self-care for me. An hour spent with a good friend is good for my soul. An hour staring at a wall stresses me out.

What could that practice look like for you? Maybe a float tank. Local peeps, has anyone been to phlot in Eastown? Maybe for you it’s meditating for 10 minutes each morning to set intentions for the day. Maybe it’s a massage or yoga (for me these work)! Maybe it’s working out, or reading your favorite book. All of these are great if they bring you some peace and joy. That’s mental wellness.

So think about all the things you can do for your mental wellness and add that to they physical things you are already doing.

What’s your current self-care ritual? Is it working for you? If so, great! Keep it up. If it’s not working, be open to trying some new things to create a ritual of self-care. Figure out what’s important to you and make it happen. No excuses. Remember, it doesn’t need to be lavish or expensive. It just has to work for you (not anyone else)! Like my example of getting a mani with a friend – the mani still only costs me $30 but now it’s quality self-care at no added expense because I have a buddy with me.

Maybe you like to soak in a hot bath, but can’t shut your brain off. So how about soaking in the tub and calling a friend. Or reading that fiction novel that’s been collecting dust. Or turning on a funny podcast. These are simple mental rituals to add to your physical self-care options!

Ok so how do we implement these mental rituals? First, you have to understand that they are a necessity. Something you must do in order to maintain wellness.

Think of that safety card on an airplane. You’re told to put on your own air mask before you help anyone else put on theirs. Even your children! Why? What would happen to you if you helped everyone else put their masks on and you forgot about yourself? You would suffocate. Without your own mask on, you don’t have the capacity to help others. It’s not selfish, it’s a necessity.

Make quality self-care a non-negotiable. Caring for yourself is not an act of indulgence, remind yourself it’s a necessity. Eliminate any shame and guilt that accompanies your self-care ritual.

Self-care is not selfish. Or maybe it is, and that’s okay!

I want to leave you with a quote from Ghandi:

“I had a really busy day today so I better meditate —- for two hours instead of one.”

 

Mompreneur

[un]common sense: Managing your guilt as a Mompreneur

Today’s blog is written by Alyssa Veneklase – mother, wife, doula, and business owner. She talks about not just mom guilt, but very specifically the type of guilt we have as mothers and business owners. Enjoy!

I worked full-time in an office when I found out I was pregnant, and my assistant at the time was pregnant as well, due a few months before me. She came back to work after a couple months of leave and decided after two hours at work she wanted to quit and stay home with her baby. That was that.

Even though I hadn’t had my baby yet, I knew for certain I did not want to be a stay at home mom. I was going back to work, no question. But I began to feel this sense of guilt. “Am I a bad mom because I don’t want to stay home all day with my baby? Is she a better mom than me because she loves her baby so much she physically can’t be separated from him?” This guilt came from somewhere outside of me – a perceived notion; a very conventional belief that mothers should stay home with their children. But it was not my belief, so why was it making me feel guilty?

I had my baby, went back to work, and everything was great. Except that I began to feel another sort of guilt. I resented my husband for having (what I thought was) an uninterrupted schedule. He still got to go golfing whenever he wanted, meet the boys for a beer without worrying about who was watching the baby… I, however, felt trapped. When I did go out I felt guilty. “I have a baby at home. She needs me.”

It took several months for me to realize that this guilt I felt was my own doing. I was not allowing myself the opportunity for self-care and time apart from my baby. “Why can’t I leave her to go out with my friends more often? Why don’t I get a babysitter so I can have an afternoon alone?” I felt like because I was her mother, I was stuck with this extra responsibility that my husband didn’t have, when in reality he just valued his own time more than I valued mine.

This type of guilt came from a place inside me. It was only mine. I created it, nurtured it, and then took it out on others (namely my husband). It took a while for me to understand, but now I make self-care a priority. I make sure if I want to do something, I do it. No excuses. And I don’t feel guilty about it. I’m still an amazing mom!

So let’s talk about that extra special type of guilt that comes with being a Mompreneur.

If we work from home, we get to play more often…right? We’re lucky because we get to spend all this extra time with our kids while they’re small. Or does it mean we just feel more guilty because we are home on our computers instead of playing with our kids?

For moms with office jobs they are more likely to be able to disconnect when they get home. I mean, we’re never really fully disconnected since our phones are attached to us, but I think the moment we leave the office something happens in our brain that allows us to focus on home. The physical disconnect creates a mental one. Unless you own that office, then going home is just an extension of your office.

When you own your own business, when are you ever able to disconnect? You are the one your employees and clients call. You may be the receptionist, the manager, and the marketing coordinator. You’re the boss.

When you have a newborn at home, you’re on-call for that baby. It doesn’t matter how important the project is you’re working on, baby needs to be fed or held or changed. As our kids get older they’re just as needy, but in different ways.

Even if your child goes to daycare during the day, we struggle to focus on them in the evening because we’re still at work. The phone still rings and the emails keep coming. And we just can’t put down our phones.

The thing that works best for me is to set a schedule and stick to it. If your child is home with you while you’re working, set specific times of the day that you are focused on work only. That means no laundry, no dishes, and no distractions from your child. So… you will need another care-giver there to help.

If your partner is able to help, make sure you set strict guidelines. “I’m working from 9-12, don’t bother me. That means you don’t need to tell me when she’s crying or when she poops. Handle it.”

You can hire a mother’s helper, babysitter, or nanny to help out part time during the day. You can find a childcare establishment that you trust. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 3 hours without a kid around!

No distractions means no distractions while working, but on the flip side that means no distractions when it’s family time. If you can have dedicated times to focus on work, it should be easier to set work aside when it’s time for family. That means leave your phone in the other room. Don’t check emails or browse Instagram while playing with your kids. Physically separate yourself from it otherwise you will not be able to give them the quality attention they desire.

It’s much easier to focus on your kids when you know your work is done. And it’s easier to get your work done when you’re able to fully focus on your work. A half-ass day of work makes for a half-ass evening with family. You will be distracted. It seems so elementary, right?

The biggest thing I’ve learned from having a baby is it’s okay to be selfish. Being selfish does not have to be a bad thing. There’s still a gender bias that mothers need to be selfless especially when it comes to our children. Why do we have to give up our sense of self, sacrifice our passions, for our children?

Do you think men sit around and talk about Dad guilt? Probably not.

I see a shift happening, especially now with the amazing movements that women are making in politics and leadership roles. We are redefining what it means to be a woman. We can be strong leaders and also great mothers. But do not let this discount the significance and magnitude of our maternal urges. They are real. They will always separate us.

I’m not giving you many specific tips or secret formulas for managing guilt. I think instead I’m asking for a shift in how we see ourselves in our roles, therefore eliminating the guilt and pressures put on us whether by external sources or internal.

When you start to feel guilty, think about what a great role model you are for your kids. You are setting the standard high. They see a strong, independent woman who owns her own business! They see her working hard and providing for her family. I get to see my postpartum clients from an outside perspective, and they often feel guilty and scared and angry, but you know what? They’re doing a lovely job. We are sometimes hardest on ourselves. The fact that you feel guilty sometimes means you’re a good mother and care about the time you spend with your children. And more than likely, you’re doing way better than you give yourself credit for.

So remember you’re a badass Mompreneur! You’re making it all happen and when you start to doubt yourself or feel guilty, take a look at everything you’ve built and feel proud.

 

mom guilt

Mom Guilt: How to Survive it and Grow from it

Today’s guest blogger is a past birth client of ours, Nicole Vega, LMSW, CHC. Nicole is a fully licensed clinician and certified health coach. Nicole received her Master’s in Clinical Social Work in 2012 from Western Michigan University and became certified as a health coach in 2016. Her work is founded on the principle that individuals are the experts of their own lives, and therefore their own best healers. Nicole believes it is her role to establish a safe therapeutic space where she can assist her clients in focusing on their strengths and uncovering the tools needed to address what is causing them discomfort and stress in their lives; which may be manifesting as anxiety, depression, weight gain or other obstacles.

Today’s blog is going to focus on the guilt that many mother’s feel. Although both parents can experience feelings of guilt, it seems to be more prominent in mothers, but these tips are beneficial to all parents.

If you are a mother, or an expectant mother, it is likely that you’ve experienced at least some degree of “mom guilt”. In an article from BabyCenter.com, Top 7 mommy guilt trips – and how to handle them, the author describes mom guilt as something a whopping 94% of moms admit to having experienced. Mom guilt does not pick and choose who it affects and it does not simply affect stay-at-home moms, or working moms, or those who juggle life somewhere in between. It affects nearly every mom!

To the parents reading this today who are currently experiencing guilt, or who have in the past, please know this; you are doing enough; odds are you are doing more than enough.

So what is mom guilt exactly? Mom guilt often presents as that sinking feeling we as moms have when we think we are not doing enough for our children. That “I wish I could afford all organic everything, cook every meal from scratch, and not miss a moment of my children’s life” type of thoughts. That feeling of not being “enough” for your children. In some circumstances, mom guilt can even turn into anxiety or depression. The good news for all you moms/parents reading this today is there are ways to decrease these feelings of not being enough. As a mother of two myself, I can completely relate to mom guilt in its many forms. Though I do not believe you can eliminate all feelings of guilt related to parenting, I do believe you can find great ways to cope and to make the moments in which you experience this type of guilt less daunting.

So here is my go-to list of ways to combat mom guilt; but remember, for these tips to work you have to actually use them and implement them as much as possible on the days, weeks, and months when mom guilt has you struggling the most.

Tip #1: FIND YOUR TRIBE: Find a group of people to support you during these long days but fast flying years. Think of the expression you’ve probably heard a million times, “It takes a village”. Well, it does take a village. This group will look different for everyone. It maybe a group you create at church, with mothers from your children’s school, work friends, or maybe even people within your family. The amazing thing here is that you get to design this group and determine who will be a part of your tribe. It really is a beautiful thing, and is vital to getting through the trappings of mommy guilt.

Tip #2: DEVELOP YOUR OWN SELF-CARE TOOLKIT: There are about a million different articles and posts on what self-care is, or what people believe it “should be”. I, however, have come to understand that self-care is different for everyone. I have seen this in my own life and as a clinician and certified health coach working directly with other women. I think often we see self-care as having to be elaborate, when in reality, that just simply is not an option for the majority of moms. So finding simple things you can do that truly work for you is key. Your tool kit may include having consistent date nights with your spouse/partner, developing a yoga practice, taking a relaxing epsom salt bath, or maybe something as simple as having 10 minutes a day to read a book you love. This toolkit will require some trial and error, and in many cases require you to ask for help from others, but hey since you’re going to find a nice tribe to become a part of, you’ve now got a ton of built in babysitters just a call away!

Tip #3: FIND A FORM OF MOVEMENT THAT YOU LOVE: Similar to your self-care toolkit, finding movement that you love will require some trial and error, but once you find what works, it’s a game changer! Healthy-healing movement can be a number of things: dance, martial arts, yoga, kickboxing, running, walking, barre, or cycling. All these are just a few great options to choose from. An amazing thing about being a parent today, is we have access to so many great options of movement, many of which you can do from the comfort of your own home (some of which are completely free). When I’m working with clients as a coach (who have been cleared for adding movement into their routine) I begin by asking them what types of movement they enjoyed before it became about “weight loss” or “having to workout”. I do this because participating in movement that you actually enjoy creates a mindset shift, which in turn creates a shift in your body. It has taken me many years to find what “my movement” is, and I am still surprised to say that for me it’s yoga. I am surprised because when I was much younger I used to despise yoga and found it boring. I now have learned that yoga may not always be exciting for me, but it is always healing.

Now I could offer a few more tips in this article, but I find that once you give more than three, people become overwhelmed and have difficulty even choosing one to incorporate into their lifestyle, at least initially. As a certified health coach and therapist who works primarily with women (many of which being mothers) one-on-one I am able to help women learn to implement the tools I mentioned here, as well as, assisting them in developing more. My goal is to help my clients move forward feeling empowered in their role as a mother and less overwhelmed by it.

If you are feeling like you are experiencing more than just infrequent episodes of mom guilt and are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or in a state of anxiety over the many hats you wear as a parent, I’d love to help! As a health coach and therapist, I create my sessions and programs to meet your needs, so you can achieve your goals. I am driven by a person-centered focus when working with clients, rather than a specific model of care. I can see clients both locally in my office or via tele-health services.

If you are in a stage in life where you would like to investigate therapy or coaching, you can contact me directly at http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/nicole-vega/ .

 

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