These guilty pleasures should be guilt-free.
Since when did it become taboo for a woman to indulge? I think this especially applies to mothers. In fact, I believe this might exclusively apply to mothers. I think it’s safe to say that most women when they are single, empty-nesters or don’t have children, do not fight the guilt that mothers do when they want to do something for themselves.
If I am wrong in this assessment than welcome to the club, I hope you find this post freeing. 🙂
Let me list a few scenarios:
- The kids have all been put to bed so you sneak into the kitchen to scoop out a bowl of ice cream.
- You find $5 in the bottom of your purse but you keep it a secret and wait until the kids are in school before spending it.
- There’s only one soda left so you hide it until the time is right for you to enjoy it alone and unchallenged.
- You have a babysitter but you still feel like you need to rush your date with hubby because you don’t want to keep anyone waiting. Even the babysitter. Who you are paying. To watch your kids.
Do these sound familiar? I know I am not alone in this area of life. Ok, I might be alone in that last scenario. Point is, we moms often feel guilty when we want to do something for just ourselves. Why is that? Is it because we are always giving and never really taking so we are out of practice? Or do we give so much of ourselves that it actually feels wrong to reserve any energy for personal reasons?
Whatever the excuse may be, it is a real problem. If we do not take care of ourselves, what good are we going to be for anyone else? This was a hard lesson to learn and I only really understood the gravity of it last year. That was the year all my kids were in school and I began writing full-time. Writing is my passion; it’s in my blood. I never realized just how lost and empty I’d been feeling all these years until I started writing again.
That might sound dramatic to you, but it’s true. During that time, I rediscovered myself and swore never to lose sight of me again. I felt like a whole new person; I was more confident, more fulfilled and definitely less stressed. Why had I waited so long? Partly because I felt guilty for taking time away from my family. Since then, I have had to learn how to balance life and work, but it is more than worth it.
Here, I am listing some of our guiltiest pleasures and why we need them in our lives. My wish is for you to feel validated and empowered to take better care of yourself so that you can be a better you for yourself and those you love.
Let’s take a look.
1. Start each day with a clean slate.
I began with this one because I feel it is the most important. Too many of us go to bed at night feeling defeated. We missed nap time for the kids, we didn’t get all the things marked off our to-do list, we burned dinner, we didn’t call that friend back…the list could be endless.
If I don’t fall asleep right away, I often find myself grading how my day went and before you know it, I’m depressed, fearful and sleep has all but disappeared. This is when I have to take a deep breath, ask God for a better day tomorrow and try again in the morning.
If we constantly dwell on the negatives of the day before, we will be defeated before the sun has shown on a new day. Tomorrow has its own set of negatives, we shouldn’t add to them with things we can no longer change.
2. Take time to get ready in the morning.
When my mom started homeschooling my sisters and me, I was in the 4th grade. Every morning my mom would wake us at a set time and we had to be dressed and ready for the day before coming downstairs. I could never understand why we couldn’t just do school in our jammies since we weren’t leaving the house.
What my mom knew and I was just learning, was that you cannot get a good start to your day if you aren’t ready for the day. (If you need more ideas, read my post 5 Quick Ways to Jump Start Your Day.) Staying in PJs keeps you in a state of laziness. If that was all we planned to accomplish that day then we were permitted to stay in them. But that was a rare day in our house.
If you want to feel accomplished and stay on top of your to-do list then get dressed, do your hair and, if you wish, put on some makeup. You will feel ready to tackle the day. Want another tip? Put on your tennis shoes. For whatever reason, having on tennis shoes adds a spring to your step and you feel ready to do whatever tasks you have on your list.
Don’t believe me? Try it, you’ll thank me later. 🙂
3. Schedule appointments for yourself.
This is where I struggle the most. I rarely spend money on myself. I am a low-maintenance girl who prefers to do most of it myself to save money. However, I LOVE massages. I rarely get them but if I were rich, that’s where my money would be spent. Every now and then I save up enough to indulge. Just for me.
Do you feel pretty with freshly manicured nails? Or maybe you have hair that you feel better about once it’s been to a salon. What ever it is that gives you the confidence you need to be a better you, then allow yourself the indulgence. If you don’t like to spend the money, like me, read my post High-maintenance Hacks for the Low-Maintenance Woman for some money-saving ideas.
Whatever it is that you enjoy, take time for it.
4. Take a nap.
This right here, this is my #1 guilty pleasure. I used to feel bad that I needed a nap halfway through my day. Then I realized my health was to blame. I have since then learned how to better handle my health and I do not need to nap anywhere near as often. But, when I do, I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.
Here’s why: If I let my health run down, how will I see to the things I need to see to? How is getting worse helping me or my family? It’s not. So, I pay attention to what my body is telling me and take care of it. Besides, even the healthiest of people take power naps. They are good for you and do wonders for your mental capacity.
5. Enjoy a favorite snack.
I will admit, I am one of those moms who hide from my kids when I want a snack. Mostly because I don’t want to share. Or hear anyone talking to me while I’m enjoying it. But I no longer have qualms about enjoying an occasional snack. Mostly because I buy the girls snacks aplenty.
They are not deprived. But I will deprive them of one of my favorite snacks if I choose not to share. And I won’t even feel guilty about it. Ok, maybe a little and I might share a little, too.
But, most of the time, they know mom is rather selfless in this area so if she chooses to keep it all to herself, she deserves as much. My husband has been a huge help in this area. When he gets home late and the kids are in bed, sometimes he will bring home Coke and fries just for me, because he knows they are my favorite and because he loves me.
Once in a while, the kids will catch a waft of the treat and make their way downstairs to ask for some. My husband will usually tell them to go back to bed, mommy and daddy are having a date. And they know not to question it because there are just some things adults get to have as the privilege of being an adult just like Halloween and Easter baskets are the privilege of being kids.
They’ll soon get over it and one day be parents themselves and will understand. Until then, enjoy the treat anyway.
6. Go on a date.
This can be with your husband, with some girlfriends or even by yourself. If you don’t take the time to be around other adults (or just not around little people), then you are not doing yourself or them any favors. You need that time to unwind. It’s as necessary to your well-being as sunshine is to flowers. You will wilt under the pressures of motherhood if you don’t have a way to connect with others who are living life in the same fast-lane as you.
On the plus side, your children need time away from you, as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.
This is an oft neglected thing and should not be a guilty pleasure but instead, a necessity. We need to stay healthy and in tip-top shape because adulting is hard.
This can be done at a gym or at home, alone or with your kids. There are so many kinds of workouts and plans, there’s no reason you can’t find something that works for you. My girls love to do yoga. But if I plan to do something more strenuous, like my favorite workout: Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred, I prefer to be alone so my patience stays intact.
As much as I love the results of working out, I do have to strive to be consistent. But getting a workout in not only propels me through my day but encourages my girls to have healthier lifestyles, too.
8. Invest in yourself.
I cannot stress this point enough.
When I was a young mother, I enrolled in an online writing course. Best thing I ever did. I learned so much and still use the resources to this day. But then we had three children and life got busy and I put aside my writing. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I decided to write a book dear to my heart, did I pick it back up. I gave myself to this book and it lit a fire under me I have not been able to quench. Nor do I want to. I have since finished three books and working on two more.
You see, this is what I am meant to do. But I hid it away until I nearly lost sight of it. And myself.
What are you hiding away until you feel the time is right? Do you want to enjoy life only when the children have moved out? I don’t. Nor does my family want that for me. One of the books I wrote was with my daughter’s collaboration. Something I could not have done without them. We now have that treasure we can one day share with the world.
What are your passions, your talents? Do you spend any time growing in those areas? Even if it’s only a few hours a week, something is better than nothing. Being a mom, sometimes you lose sight of your own identity. If you ask me, that is a mistake. Grow with your family. Learn new things with your kids.
These are things you can do together or alone. The point is, you need to make you a priority. Everyone and everything else in your life will only benefit, including you.
What are some things you would add to this list?