I recently went on a spa treatment with two of my friends and mom guilt came up. For those who are not familiar with the concept urban dictionary describes it as the guilt a mother feels anytime she takes time to do something for herself, outside of work, that does not involve her children.
It is real. It exists, and my friends and I were talking about how it affects us making time for ourselves. The truth is there will always be things to buy for the house, and do for the family. As women it is in our nature to give and prioritise the needs of others over our own, ALL THE TIME. I am not at all suggesting that we should stop loving and caring for our families. On the contrary, I would like to suggest that if we put ourselves first we can give more and with an even less resentful attitude. My argument is that women are pillars in their homes, they are able to mend, soothe, comfort and nurture because it is who they are. Therefore, it makes sense that they prioritise their well being for the benefit of all.
When my daughter was younger I was sleep deprived and my 3 year old was sick, he is independent, and can sit and figure out puzzles by himself. But when he is sick he wants me, he wants to cuddle until he sleeps in my arms and I don’t deny him this because he is still my baby. But when you have a three month old crying to be fed and cuddled as well it takes a tall on you. I was exhausted … and I still had to cook and do other things that needed my attention. As soon as I could, I slept and hubby assisted with chores around the house, when I woke up I was able to attend to both babies. I didn’t take a one day trip but I needed to recharge to be able to be at my best for all of them.
My point is we need to be at our best to give our best to our families, and it is not selfish to go for that manicure or massage. In fact, they need you to do that not only for yourself, but for them to fully experience all that you can offer.
Every time I neglect my relationship with God – the source from which I draw all the love and strength I possess, what I give to them is a counterfeit and 1 star service instead of 5 star. I am more irritable and grumpy because I am running on empty.
For us to prosper in our relationships with others we need to invest in ourselves, you simply cannot give what you do not have.
When I am hurting I hurt others, when I am enjoying the love of God I am able to share it with others. Hence, when you go through challenges in your marriage, your children and everyone in the house feels it because your love for each other is felt by those you live with. Someone else will argue since God is my source how my husband treats me should not affect me, that cannot be true. I am not saying he is God but he contributes to your well being, you and him are one flesh to suggest that you can make one part of the body happy when another is hurting is not realistic. He is the guy that vowed to take care of your needs, support and love you, so you have a certain expectation towards him and there is nothing wrong with that. Both partners need to deposit in what Gary Chapman refers to as the love tank so that you are able to withdraw from it but if one person always does the withdrawing and never deposits then one person will suffer.
Making sure you get what you need from your spouse is part of taking care of yourself. It is important to communicate this to your partner instead of being angry when he doesn’t buy you flowers or help with bathing the kids or send you a text during the day. We need to explain that these are the small things that fill up your love tank which needs to be full for him to withdraw all you have to offer plus a bonus.
It is the same thing with friendships, as women we tend to always give, until we have nothing left to give. We pride ourselves in being there for others and being the strong ones. I’m also guilty of this, we must be careful not to burn ourselves out in the process. Naturally we like fixing things, being a women is a superpower. However, we cannot complain that our friendships are not working out while we are the ones who taught other people that it is okay for them to take and not give anything back. You set the terms for your relationships, when you find people who speak the same language as you, and understand they need to pour into the well they are drawing you keep them close. Iyanla Vazant says our cups need to run over so they can overflow to other people’s cups, which simply means yours must be full first. Remain connected to the source, let your relationships be symbiotic. Take care of yourself no one is going to do it for you.
So go spend a day with your mom/ sister someone who loves you unconditionally, read a book, have dinner with a friend, schedule a spa day with friends, go to boot-camp, spend an hour on devotion, whatever it is you do that makes your cup full JUST DO IT. They will be grateful you did. Pouring from an empty cup, leaves both the giver and the receiver disappointed.