Overcoming Parenting Guilt

Kaylin is the proud mother of a 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy. Kaylin is a first grade school teacher and rarely takes time for herself in her busy schedule. Kaylin planned a morning outing where she was going to stop by her favorite coffee shop that she hadn’t been to in months and then get a pedicure to help her relax.

As Kaylin was planning her morning outing she begins to worry about leaving her husband with the kids at home alone, even though he insisted that she take the time for herself. She then starts to tend to everything that needs to be done at the house. As Kaylin is rushing around the house Kaylin starts to regret planning this morning outing because she feels like even taking an hour to do something nice for herself would throw off her entire schedule for the day. She thinks to herself I don’t really need this time to myself. I am needed more here.

Chances are you too have experienced some sort of this self-care guilt like Kaylin. It is natural, especially since we are constantly pushed and praised in our society to be selfless and to be the most involved parent ever. But when does being selfless go too far to a point where you are no longer taking care of yourself at all? Making time for self-care without self-guilt or the endless list of excuses can feel impossible at times.

Recognizing the guilt and anxiety you feel about taking care of yourself is the easy part. Letting go of it is the hard part. The to do lists may overrule your mind making you feel like you don’t deserve self-care in that moment. You may think I can go without it this week. It’s not a big deal. We continue to give and give and eventually we begin to feel burned out. We may even start to resent family, work, or your daily routines. But how do we let go of the self-care guilt? Awareness. It may not be ideal, but reminding yourself of what happens when you don’t take care of yourself can put the importance of taking time for yourself in perspective. Think to yourself how low you are ranking on your own priority list. Are you pleased with that ranking? Does something need to change? Show yourself the same kindness and compassion that you show others by taking care of yourself so you are better able to take care of those that mean the most to you. Remind yourself daily that you are worth it!

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