Mom guilt is the worst. It seems to impact us the most when we finally decide to do something for ourselves, which is ridiculous! While I am a big promoter of Mom Time and often say that you should never feel guilty for incorporating it into your life, I realize that is easier said than done. So, if you’re worried about mom guilt creeping in when you do something for yourself, or are particularly prone to it, here are 7 ways to treat yourself without feeling mom guilt.
7 Ways to Treat Yourself Without Feeling Mom Guilt
1. Nap Time
Every day, those of us with babies and toddlers, make sure that we account for nap time. We avoid going out at certain times or rush home from running errands to make sure our little ones get down for a nap when they need it. It’s something we do without even giving it a second thought. In fact, some of us (coughCough*me) are slightly obsessive when it comes to nap times because we live in fear of dealing with an over-tired toddler.
My point is that this time is a priority so we make it happen. So why don’t we combine it with our Mom Time priorities? Instead of frantically trying to get the entire house clean during nap time, why don’t we make it about us? This is one of the few times each day that we don’t have to be a mom, take advantage of it! Take this time (or at least a portion of it) to drink an entire cup of coffee while it’s hot, take a long shower, do something you love or even take a nap yourself!
Make it a habit to treat yourself every day during nap time. There’s no reason to feel any mom guilt when your little one is sleeping peacefully (hopefully).
Take care of yourself first…
Personally, I have found that if I start working on house chores right when my son goes down for a nap, I’ll keep working until he wakes up. So, I make a conscious effort to do something for myself FIRST. I’ll set aside a specific amount of time to treat myself. Whether it be a long shower or reading a chapter in my favorite book of the moment, I make time for it before I start my other tasks. Often times, I find that doing this makes me more productive afterward and I get just as much done as I would have if I had gone straight into cleaning without my downtime.
Related Post: Why I Chose a Parent Led Schedule
2. Go Shopping
We all have to run errands sometimes, right? Usually, these aren’t much fun, but you can change that! While you’re out, why not stop by that little shop you have been eyeing every time you go to the grocery store? Even if you don’t have the funds to buy anything, shopping around is fun! Get some ideas for things you can DIY yourself or make a wish list for your birthday or Christmas.
Since I usually don’t have the luxury of running errands without my son, I have taken a different approach to this activity. It’s a little too stressful bringing him into fun little shops with breakable items, but Target is pretty exciting. (I am a mom after all!) Instead of going to the grocery store down the street, sometimes I’ll make the drive to the Target a little further down the road and do my grocery shopping there.
I am still taking care of my grocery shopping but while we are there I don’t rush. I look around the office supplies (and totally geek out about pencil holders and notebooks) and stroll through the clothing department. Occasionally, I’ll find something on sale that’s so perfect, and makes me so happy that I’ll treat myself to a little present!
Embrace fussy days…
Another thing I started up a while back is to go shopping when my son is having a fussy day. Now, this won’t work for everyone, but in my case, getting out of the house and bringing him to a new environment totally changes his tune. On these days, I usually can’t seem to get anything done around the house anyway as he is demanding constant attention, so I decided to go with it! I simply accept that it’s going to be a day off from the normal tasks and we pack up and head to the mall. I get to shop around a bit and my son snaps out of his funk. It’s a win-win situation!
Embrace the days when your little one is telling you that something needs to change. Mix it up and take a break from the normal day-to-day! On days when I do this, I feel the complete opposite of mom guilt. I feel like I put my son’s happiness first and set aside the mundane tasks of the day to make it a better day for everyone. If you get to treat yourself while you’re also doing something for your children or your husband, it doesn’t make the gesture any less meaningful.
3. Utilize Grandma
More than likely your mom or mother-in-law is more than thrilled when you bring your little one(s) over to play. Why not take advantage of this?? Instead of only sending the kids over on the weekend for you and your spouse to go on a date night, why not bring them over on a random Tuesday afternoon so that you can enjoy yourself! The kids will have a blast, Grandma will feel fulfilled and needed, and YOU can get the Mom Time you need!
Make sure to make the most of days like this. You have complete freedom. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good, but also try to think of things that you absolutely cannot do when you have little ones with you. Get a mani/pedi or do something peaceful and quiet at home. Whatever it is that requires your full attention, that you’ve been dying to do, do it now!
A tip for working moms…
If you’re a working mom, take an afternoon off of work! You don’t even have to tell anyone. It’s not any different from a normal day as far as they know, but you get the time that you need. It’s not like you’re off doing something sneaky or deceitful (at least I assume not) so don’t feel bad! I used to feel the need to tell everyone everything all the time and I realized that sometimes, there’s just no reason to share every detail.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going around lying to everyone, but telling someone that you took some time for yourself is like opening yourself up to feeling mom guilt. It’s telling them that you feel like you need to “admit” it to them, as though it was a crime. Acknowledge that it is perfectly acceptable to treat yourself and there’s no reason to feel like you need to disclose it to anyone who doesn’t need to know.
4. Plan a Daddy Day
Schedule a day where the kids will spend the entire day doing fun activities with their dad. If daddy isn’t much of a planner or is stressed about the idea of coming up with ideas, you can even map out the day for them. Buy tickets to a local children’s museum or send them off to the mall with a scavenger hunt!
This can be a great time for some good bonding with daddy, but also the perfect excuse for you to treat yourself. Don’t spend the entire time catching up on house chores. Sure, you can do some if you have time, but make sure to enjoy the peace and quiet and the fact that you have the whole house to yourself! Blast your favorite music and dance around in your underwear or read a book in a blissfully silent home.
A few months into being a stay at home mom, I realized that even though my husband claimed he wanted me to do all the “dirty work” when it comes to parenting, he clearly felt left out at times. At the same time, I was overwhelmed with all the responsibility. Making the effort to find opportunities for my husband to be more involved has made a big difference for both of us.
Related Post: I Married a Traditional Man…On Purpose! *Gasp*
5. Treat Your Spouse
This is a sneaky one but in a good way! Find something that you can do for yourself that also benefits your spouse! Put him on kid duty on Saturday so you can go lingerie shopping. If you love baking, bake him his favorite goodies while he plays with the little ones. If his birthday is coming up or a holiday involving gifts, it’s the perfect time to have him watch the kiddos while you go shopping for his present and treat yourself to some relaxing shopping of your own done at the same time!
It took me a while to realize that, while my husband wanted me to be the primary parent and maintain the home, he also wanted me to take care of him! When I showed him that I wanted to do that too, but that I needed help with parenting and homemaking, he was more than happy to help.
Another important thing to note is that taking care of yourself is a great way to show your spouse that you want to be your best self not only for you but for them as well. Simple things like making yourself presentable each day, even when you’re a stay at home mom and don’t have to leave the house, show your spouse that you still want to look nice for them.
6. Create Something Useful
After becoming a stay at home mom, I realized that my need for creativity was not being met. I didn’t realize how much creativity my corporate job actually required and how much I needed that in my life. When I started finding ways to incorporate creativity into my life, I noticed a big boost in my mood. If you’re a creative person, there are so many ways you can meet this need as a mom, and without feeling mom guilt!
One of my favorite examples of how I have incorporated creativity into my mom life was when I created a busy board baby gate! I went to the local hardware store and bought a bunch of fun hardware for my little guy to play with and a board to put it all on. Then I went home and got to work on creating the new busy board. When I was all done, I realized that I didn’t have a way to keep it upright and I didn’t really want to nail it into the wall.
Then it hit me, the baby gate was the perfect place! I found some strong twine, drilled some holes into the board, and tied it up nice and tight to the baby gate. In a matter of a couple of hours, I had created a new toy for my son that kept him busy and happy AND I felt great!
Make it a group activity…
If your kids are old enough, you can even incorporate craft time and work on projects together! If you need to find a way to organize the desk in your office, you can spend an afternoon creating desk organizers out of popsicle sticks! Or maybe you are looking for some time to brush up on your artistic skills. While you work on a drawing or painting, give your little one their own art station and some crayons or finger paints.
7. Better Yourself
This one may require a bit of a mental shift, particularly if you are prone to mom guilt, but I highly recommend it. In fact, if you only do ONE of these 7 ideas, this is the one I recommend most!
Find a way to treat yourself by improving yourself. This doesn’t have to specifically be improving your skills as a mom or wife. It can be learning something new and totally random that you just happen to enjoy. I know it sounds crazy, but bettering yourself in ANY area can actually help you to become a better mom and wife.
When you take the time to improve yourself, you feel better. You are happier, more confident, and maybe even healthier. When you feel good, mentally and physically, you will naturally be a more pleasant person to be around. Your happiness and positivity will rub off on your family instead of your anxiety or self-doubt. Not to mention feelings of confidence and joy can help to reduce feelings of mom guilt naturally. When you feel insecure or down, its significantly easier for guilt to creep in.
Show your kids what it looks like to take care of yourself by spending time focusing on yourself, continuously growing and improving, and staying physically and mentally healthy. You’ll be glad you did when they grow up to be confident, happy adults!
Related Post: 2018 Lose the Baby Weight Challenge
What’s your favorite way to treat yourself without feeling mom guilt? Let me know in the comments below!
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