Stop Calling Yourself Selfish
I'm sat in the bath, sipping my first glass of wine since having a baby, thoroughly enjoying the empty bathroom and 30 minutes to myself. I can hear Lee downstairs entertaining three children. There is quite a lot of crying and whingeing going on. I'm unsure whether it's purely from the children or if Lee is joining in a little bit too.
I'm in my local supermarket and decide that this week I'm going to spend the last £££ of my weekly budget on a magazine for myself rather than something for the kids or some pantry stockpile ingredients for future weeks. I find a chocolate bar too and throw that in the trolley.
I decide against taking my newborn to my salon appointment even though I know the lady who does my nails will want to see her. I feed Adelais before I leave and entrust the three kids to Lee for an hour.
I tell my kids to play together in the garden for 20 minutes whilst I sit in the conservatory with a hot cup of coffee. I ignore any silly dramas or arguments they have about who had the ball first, and let them work it out themselves.
I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard someone say, "Go on, be a little selfish sometimes". Or, "I'm being really selfish and I'm doing this" or, "I was so selfish yesterday...", but yesterday as I purposely ignored my child clambering up my legs screeching for attention as I tried to put my make up on I realised that we're using the wrong term. Taking time out for yourself isn't selfish. Putting your needs before someone else's (yes, even your children's) for a period of time isn't selfish. It's self maintenance.
A wise woman once said this:
"The woman is the thermometer of the home"
Think about it. When you're fired up and stressed, or angry and grumpy, who bares the brunt of that? Your family. Kids are like sponges - they soak it all up and quickly you'll see them start to emit the emotions that you've just been putting out. Been snapping all morning because you're tired? By the afternoon you'll see your children snapping at each other too. Been grumpy with your partner? Watch as their response turns to grumpiness back. Rushing around in a stressful state because you're running late? Doesn't the whole family end up feeling that stress too? Similarly, when you're calm and collected, happy and positive, don't you notice a difference in how your family respond to each other?
So when you take time out for yourself in the day, or do something that makes you happy, aren't you actually doing something quite selfless in making sure that you're taking care of your emotional well being? Aren't you making sure that you have a chance to gain some fresh perspective, a moment of peace and a topping up of joy, before knuckling down and dealing with family life again. It's beneficial for you, so it's beneficial for the whole family.
It's not selfish to make sure that you're emotionally sound. It's not selfish to make sure you have taken care of yourself before giving out to everyone around you. It's not selfish to ask for a bit of a break so you can recuperate and tackle it head on again. It's the wisest move you can make to ensure that motherhood remains sustainable and you don't burn yourself out. So go on, you have permission to do something you love just for yourself, because actually, everything you do is for your family.