How to let go of Mum Guilt

How many times have you had to justify with yourself that bit of free time you took?

Why do mums feel so guilty finding time for themselves? It would seem that no mum is immune to Mum Guilt whether working, stay at home or working from home. Making time for ourselves and our wellbeing it seems is a constant source of guilt.

Personal wellbeing and me-time gets left to the end of a very long list for most mums. Wellbeing is something we should make time for, but rarely do. It’s fitted in after everything else has happened, pick-ups, drop offs, after work activities, children’s activities. But by the end of the day it’s late and there is no time or energy left to prioritise self-care. When time is made for that haircut or manicure the end result is super guilt followed by manic justification as if a huge over indulgence has occurred. Sound familiar?

Why should we make time for wellbeing?

Wellbeing / self-care/ me time call it whatever you want but it’s an essential human requirement and it’s vital for our physical and mental wellbeing. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Nor, can you give to your children if you don’t give to yourself first. How many times have you cancelled a meet up with a friend as you are too busy, ditched the yoga class or not gone for a run as you can’t justify the time?

For those that work from home it’s even harder to justify the time for wellbeing as it’s harder to set boundaries. Guilt that you should be doing housework, vs. work vs. time for yourself. Which one wins? Not you that’s for sure. Mum’s spend so much time giving and juggling and making time for others but rarely themselves.

When you are happy in yourself and you look after yourself it makes you a better Mum. It’s a win-win. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your children any less or that you don’t care for them just because you take some time back for yourself.

Think, what fuels your wellbeing?

The fuel that we put in for our own wellbeing means different things to different people. For some their fuel is seeing friends and being sociable, for others its pampering. But whether it’s meeting friends, going for a run, baking all day on Sunday, taking time to do that yoga class. Don’t feel guilty for it or vain for wanting to get your hair done. Keeping fit or having your nails done are all great things that fuel us, they make us happy and being happy shouldn’t be guilt inducing.  There’s nothing better for the soul than a good laugh and chat with a friend, you always feel better afterwards. Self-care and wellbeing isn’t just about pampering, it’s not indulgent to think about your needs.

Maybe it’s work that fuels you. For many mums giving up work is giving up an identity, so don’t feel guilty if you work. It’s just finding the right balance so that you have time for yourself too. 

Tips for Ditching the Guilt and Making More Time for YOU.

Name it and recognisewhen the guilt strikes!  Remember you can feel guilty about nearly everything as a Mum. If you name it you rationalise it.

Lean on friends, partner, family.Take some time back to catch up with friends and have some proper time off. As the children get older you realise that they will be ok without you. Really let go and book that trip away with your friends…

If it works for you then work. Don’t feel guilty for working. It’s what you did before you had children it’s part of your identity. You are also giving your children a great role model.

Manage your expectations, don’t expect your time with the children to be 100% fun all the time. The children will be tired, you are tired. It happens. Let go of perfect.

Sort your work/life boundaries,divide up work and family time, try and get the balance right for you.

Make it happen no excuses,make plans for your wellbeing time with a friend.  Go with a friend to a class for accountability, if you feel like you are letting down a friend you are less likely to cancel.

Have your own wellbeing routine, that becomes your part of the day. Think about bedtime as some time back for you Have a luxury bedtime! (link to digital curfew)

Make time for you,prioritise you. If you haven’t got time for you, then make time. Switch off your devices and use that time for you. Be more present (see or top tips on switching off) and switch off from your devices.

Don’t over compensateyou don’t need to spend money on expensive activities. Remember your children want to spend time with YOU.

So, next time you decide you are going to do something that makes you happy and you take some time out to do something for you, don’t feel guilty for it, or think it’s a massive indulgence. Let go of the guilt, just because you are not with your children 24 hours a day it doesn’t mean that you love them any less or you don’t care for them. You are taking some time back for yourself which means that you are fuelling yourself ready to be an even better, happier Mum.