What’s Your Excuse?
It's the first day of the Fall Chill Out Challenge, my FREE 5-day challenge that focuses on self-care for moms. There are currently 146 moms in the group, and if you haven't signed up yet, you've got until 9 p.m. ET to join for this round (see below for link).
Today's “mission” instructed each mom to make a list of all the excuses she makes for putting herself last and neglecting her own self-care…and then to burn it. Saying ‘goodbye' to limiting beliefs and excuses in this way can feel very liberating.
There are tons of reasons moms don't take time for themselves, but the following are the ones I hear most frequently:
1. I don’t have the time.
This is #1 excuse moms make. The reality is that when something is important enough to us, we make time for it. Behind this excuse is often a belief or a feeling of not being important or deserving enough, and that others' needs are more important.
2. I feel guilty.
The only time people feel guilty is when they think they’ve done something wrong. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of you first. I’m not suggesting that you focus on yourself to the exclusion of others, or that you spend hours and hours of time alone while neglecting your responsibilities. I’m talking about making sure you get regular chances to refuel, so you aren’t running on an empty tank. Just remember the wisdom of the airlines and put on your own oxygen mask first.
3. The kids don’t like it when I’m not around.
Let me say this: kids don’t like a lot of things – especially when they can’t understand how it benefits them in the long run. Brushing teeth, eating veggies, putting on sunscreen, wearing a bike helmet.…many kids don’t like doing these things, but we don’t just throw our hands up and say, “Ok.” We explain the importance of these habits and the long-term results. Similarly, we can explain the need for our alone time to our kids and how it benefits everyone.
After I explained to Marissa that Mommy is a lot less grouchy and a lot more fun after spending time by herself, she didn’t seem to have as many meltdowns when I left the house. Also, the earlier we introduce the concept of alone time and teach kids the value of learning to play by themselves and entertain themselves (with us as their role models), the better.
4. I don’t trust anyone else with my kids.
I understand this one, especially if you’re single or don’t have close friends and family nearby. But at some point, you need to allow others to watch your kids. It’s good for children to adapt to new caregivers and learn different styles of interacting. Be diligent in your interview process and install nanny cams if you must, but do yourself a favor and hire a babysitter.
Despite what the media leads us to believe, I think there are a lot more trustworthy and responsible people in the world than there are people seeking to harm our kids. Some good resources for finding babysitters are Sittercity, UrbanSitter, and Care.com. They do background checks on all their sitters.
Places like My Gym and The Little Gym also offer Parents' Night Out, so you can get away for a few hours while the kids play and have fun. You might also consider asking your child's preschool or church/synagogue to offer a similar program if they don't have one already.
5. I don’t have money for a babysitter.
I heard a statistic on the radio that parents spend an average of $60 a week on babysitters. That’s over $3000 a year! The good news is that there are plenty of other moms out there who also crave alone time. Maybe you could watch her kids one day and she could watch yours the next? Or you could barter services if you’ve got a skill or talent that they need. There are options out there. You just need to be open to them.
Did I leave anything out? What’s your excuse for not getting some much needed solitude and self-care? Leave a comment below and let me know.
If you haven't signed up for the Fall Chill Out Challenge, the deadline to join is tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Click here to sign up now.