Struggling to maintain personal goals, while being the best parent we can be, remains one of the grandest parenthood challenges for most. We must make time for things we deem important, which can be anything from finally learning how to crochet, to vying for a coveted promotion at work. When we embrace the things which make us feel fulfilled, we are overall more invigorated. This is true even when there seems to be too few hours in the day to pursue interests and achieve goals. One of the biggest factors is mom guilt. No matter if you work outside the home or not, self-reproach is a major goal buster for moms.
Must Be Nice
Gargantuan guilt can be felt just by spending too many nights at the gym or indulging in too many girls’ nights out in any given month. Such guilt is commonly perpetuated by others. How many times have you heard the comment *must be nice* from someone who heard about your alone time, doing something for yourself? Even if you are putting in extra hours at work, and miss a soccer game, you might be tempted to compare yourself to the mom who arrives with juice boxes for the whole team after every game. Do not let the actions or opinions of others dictate your choices. Only you know what works for you.
We must not let other people guilt us into failing to enjoy interests and pursue goals because they opt to not carve out such needed time for passions or professional pursuits. If you are someone who has uttered *must be nice* to a fellow mom, stop it! Moms who balance motherhood and personal goals should be lauded, not discouraged. If you are someone who spends every second possible with your children, perhaps that dynamic works for you. Or maybe, you would feel more empowered if you were to go after an ambition that is only for you.
Happy Moms Are Better Moms
If you subscribe to the theory that you are living the best version of yourself by *never* leaving the kids with another responsible adult, it is time to reverse your way of thinking! You cannot be your best self if all time is devoted to child rearing. We need time to decompress, as the happier we are, the better we serve our family. Feelings of guilt are manifold for working moms. Most wonder how they can enjoy a hobby when they are already working so many hours outside of the home. What is true is that children won’t be young forever, but instead of using that as a justification for not pursuing goals, use the sentiment to prepare yourself for your eventual empty nest.
Many women say that when the children leave home, they feel it is too late in life to start something new. Most wish they had better set themselves up for a time when children were not rushing through the doors craving an after-school snack, or needing assistance with a stack of homework. Well-adjusted children are not going to become shells of their former selves if you become active in an endeavor that does not include them. We often do not realize that our children want to see us happy. Moms who are not afraid to engage in hobbies raise children who have diverse interests, and such women are much more prepared for the day their child is packing for college.
Combatting a Lack of Time
Before looking at the calendar and quickly deciding it’s no use to find more hours in the day, think about how important it is to devote time for yourself. Then objectively look where to trim the fat from the schedule. You can’t take the Tuesday night yoga class because you are picking up your ballerina from dance class? Why not ask another mom to pick up on Tuesdays, and offer something in return, so she can get a couple hours off? Failure to ask means you will never know if someone is willing to do a childcare exchange. The worst you could be told is no! Another thing to keep in mind is if Tuesday nights are your dedicated laundry night, skipping it is not going to mean children are going to school without clean socks! Put a load in every morning, then dry at night. Getting creative with scheduling can and will allow for more *you* time.
On the other side of the coin, perhaps you are afraid to commit to greater responsibility in the workplace because you already feel you are spread too thin, but you really want to advance in your career. Alleviate the guilt by inserting yourself into your child’s schedule in other ways. You could meet for lunch or volunteer in the classroom in the morning before work. Or skip weekend chores and spread them out during the week, so you can carve out more family time on weekends. Delegating to family members is a great thing! Older kids thrive with greater responsibility. Do you really want a child heading to college without ever learning how to do laundry or perform basic meal prep?
Give yourself permission to want to make career strides, and go for it. Opportunity to do so might be gone when the children are older. Personal goals come in all sizes, and no matter how small, none are insignificant. Things that can be done at home are always easier to incorporate, but if you need to get out more, even reading in a coffee shop every so often can be tremendously therapeutic. If you are in a rut and feel as though you are merely *surviving* every day, it is time to highlight what it takes to make you feel fulfilled. Interesting moms raise interesting children. Living an uninspired life can lead to unhealthy emotional consequences. Jettison guilt and give yourself the chance to be well-rounded. You’ll see the positive results of doing so in more ways than one!