My mother was the mom that everyone else strived to be. She did everything and I mean everything for us kids. She was a personal chef accommodating meals to each individuals taste buds, she was a chauffeur, counselor, cleaner, cheer leader, sleep doula, bank, tutor….the list goes on. And she did nothing, I mean nothing, for herself.
With this type of mom, you would think that I would be well equipped to tackle the world. But unfortunately, my mother’s over indulgence resulted in me feeling incompetent. Her inability to take time for herself, made it extremely challenging for me to carve out that personal time. She also created a person that no matter how hard I try, I can’t become.
When my mom did nothing for herself she was teaching me (inadvertently) that she wasn’t important. This hidden message happened because I never saw my mother saying “it’s now time for me.” So I begin to think that my mother, no matter how much she loved us, didn’t love herself. My poor mother who was working so hard for us, kept forgetting how important it is to take time for herself. As we grew up, my mother started doing things for herself. She now spends at least once a week out with friends, goes for nightly walks and has the occasional manicure. I don’t see these items as indulgent, but instead I’m happy to see that my mom finally feels that she has the right to show us that she values herself. My mom is now showing us that she recognizes that she is important.
I want my children to learn that their interests, ideas and time are valuable. My mother tried teaching this to me by giving me all of her time. Instead I learned that her time wasn’t important. I think that the best way for my children to learn that their time is valuable is by role modeling. When I show them that my time is valuable, my children will also value their own time. I know this logically. Actions speak louder than words.
My children are not going to become emotionally deprived because mommy left for an hour to go to yoga. Instead, they are going to learn that mommy thinks her own health is important. If I go for a manicure, they are going to learn that mommy values her appearance. If I take twenty minutes to read a novel, they will learn, mommy’s time is important to her. She has her own interests . Aren’t these the type of messages that I want to send to my children?
The fact is my children will learn more about valuing themselves when they see that I value myself. When I think of it that way perhaps I should be feeling guilty for not taking personal time?
So here’s my challenge, how do I spend the time and eliminate the guilt? As much as I would love to have a day at the spa, I know I have to be realistic. I can rationalize it as much as I want, but a day without guilt, at this moment, is a near impossibility. So I’m going to start out small. The important thing is that I do something just for me. Instead of booking a spa day, I’m going to book at least one of their mini options: either a pedicure, manicure or facial. One day I may have quiet time where everyone can read, write or draw. If it’s a beautiful day out, I’m going to go for walk on my own. And if I really need to burn off some energy, I will have family music time where we each have a turn to share our favorite tunes and dance to it.
This week, I’m going to carve twenty minutes a day just for me. I’m not only doing it for my own well being, but for the future well being and self-esteem of my children. Now that’s a guilt free reason for personal indulgence!