When I became a mom, my life changed forever. My daughter was my pride and joy and I wanted to spend every moment with her. At that time, I was working a 9-5 corporate job and hated to be away from her so much. I was always afraid I would miss something like her first word, first steps or other milestones. Because of this, for the first several years of my daughter’s life I rarely took time for my own self care. I thought I was selfish for wanting to take off for the day and spend time shopping with a friend, take an hour to exercise or consider going back to school. I had Mommy Guilt.
It took until my daughter was FIVE for me to go away for the weekend without her or my husband! I was the self proclaimed “do-it-all Superwoman”. The problem was, I forgot that in order to be the best person I could be (for me and for my family), I NEEDED time for myself.
Once I started to work on the areas of my life that needed to be nourished, everything shifted. The three areas I focused on were:
- Exercise: Taking time to work out four mornings a week meant that I was able to focus on losing those 20 lbs I had been carrying around for over a decade. And guess what? Because I was working out, I had more energy! Add to that, for the first time in a long time I feel pretty damn good when I look in the mirror. Incorporating exercise into your regular routine doesn’t mean that you need to set aside a ton of time every day. Many days my workouts average less than an hour. You can work out at home with a DVD or take a walk with your dog or jog after the kids go to bed. Just get MOVING. Get those endorphins pumping!
- Career and Education: In this day and age, most people spend more time at work than they do at home with their family. So why do we often go to a job every day that doesn’t fulfill us or we just plain hate? Finding my true calling took a while, but once I made the decision (with the love and support of my husband) to go back to school, I realized that doing this for myself was exactly what I needed – the missing piece of the puzzle. Becoming a certified holistic health coach brings me true joy and fulfillment. While going back to school did mean that I was busy with homework most evenings, it also meant that I was following a life long dream of making a difference in women’s lives. It brought me out of a funk and it made me a happier person which translates to a happier home!
- Social Life: Reconnecting with old friends and stepping out of my comfort zone to make new friends was a key part of my growth over the last two years. I cherish my “girl time”. Now when I go out, not only can I leave the guilt behind, I can also see how wonderful it is that my husband and daughter have that one-on-one time! It’s really a win-win when you think about it!
In my practice, I like to use something called The Wheel of Life (shown above). I have my clients look at 12 key areas of their life and they mark on the wheel their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with that area. This can often be an emotional exercise, but it is also one of my favorite transformational exercises. Being a good mom (or wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister or even employee) doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of yourself and the things that bring you joy.
Always remember, taking the time to nourish yourself isn’t selfish – it’s necessary!