How Loving Yourself Makes You a Better Parent

Existing inside of a mom body can be exhausting sometimes. The guilt alone is overwhelming—hell, it’s practically part of our cellular makeup!

Guilt is a living, breathing, constant companion that saps our energy and makes us feel so much unnecessary shame.

Think that’s overdramatic? Well, let’s just take a look at some of the things moms feel guilt over:

  • For being a working mom and not available 24-7
  • For being a stay-at-home mom and not having a “real” job
  • For not preparing a family meal every night
  • For being too tired to read a bedtime story
  • For hiring a housekeeper … or a nanny … or someone else to help carry your impossible load
  • For not chaperoning a field trip, being a “room mom,” providing homemade treats for the latest fundraiser

Heck, I once felt guilty about not planting enough flowers around our house. Yes, I said ENOUGH flowers. I left one of my flower pots empty last year … ONE. I was busy and decided the world wouldn’t end if I allowed myself this one little break.

And then days later, I let the guilt win, went to Walmart, bought the scraggly-ass plants they had left, and filled that damn pot.

Sigh …

The Eternal Mom Struggle

Women—and moms especially—are particularly susceptible to guilt. And society is at least partly to blame.

There’s this belief that when you’re a mom, your life ceases to be your own—it belongs exclusively to your children now. We expect moms to put themselves on the backburner for 18 years and simply grin and bear it.

You’re not allowed to focus on yourself … to enjoy things that are just for YOU. Any time that’s not spent solely focused on your kids just isn’t allowed. Why, that would be selfish!

Um, give me a break!

Yes, You Deserve Your Own Passions

I admit that I’ve struggled with the mom guilt. But I’ve realized something: The world needs me (needs all women) to show up as their passionate, imperfect selves!

And while I love my family more than life itself, I have passions that have absolutely NOTHING to do with them.

(Does this mean I’ve completely banished guilt from my life? Hell, no! But I don’t let it keep me from pursuing my dreams. Sometimes you just have to put your big girl panties on and not worry about what others might think of you.)

Your Have to Love Yourself First to Love Others

“I think of my writing simply in terms of pleasure. It’s the most important thing in my life: making things. As much as I love my husband and children, I love them only because I am the person who makes things. I am, who I am, is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all those other people.”

This quote from English author A.S. Byatt stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. I had been doing a lot of solo traveling for my job and loving it—but also letting a little bit of guilt creep in because it meant being away from my children and husband.

Yes, I love my family and my roles of mother and wife. But Byatt’s wisdom made me realize that I’m at my best in those roles when I’m feeding my passion.

I’m on fire when I’m creating content for my life coaching peeps. I love knowing that when they are done working with me they start getting massive results. This lights me up.

Recently, as I shared an after-ball practice hug with my son Spencer, I asked him if he thinks his mom works too much. His answer?

“Mom, you are showing me that it’s OK to go after your dreams. Plus, look at what it bring to me and to our family.”

WOW! Tears, y’all!

So here’s my advice: Feel the damn guilt. (A feeling is a feeling, and you’re entitled to all of them.)

But then? MOVE ON! And do the things that light you up from the inside!

Whether you work inside or outside the home, you can model for your children the importance of pursuing your passions. Trust me, when they’re all grown up, with families of their own, they’ll remember this very important lesson!