As moms, we’re constantly told that we need to take better care of ourselves. We’re lectured that we need to learn to put ourselves first sometimes and rest before we fall apart. That taking some time for ourselves isn’t selfish but necessary and that if we fail to rest, we’re running on fumes and unable to give our children our best. We hear these words and we know it's true but nonetheless, so many of us are unable to actually implement self-care on a regular basis and this is why.
Our plates are completely full – Actually, our plates are overflowing. We’re often told by our spouses, family, and friends how important it is to take better care of ourselves and in theory it all sounds great but it's hard to do because most people want to give us advice on what we need to do but no one really wants to step up and pick up the slack that comes from us taking time off to relax. Whether you work outside of the home or stay at home, your plate is probably beyond full and unless someone is willing to take care of some of those responsibilities while you’re out enjoying yourself, it’ll be harder for you to justify that time away from everything that needs to be done.
Society gives us mixed signals – There is judgment everywhere for moms. Someone is always comparing themselves to another mom and looking for flaws in their mothering skills. It's not limited to just other mothers either. It’s a reality that moms are scrutinized more than dads and the pressure to be seen as a good mom is very high. As much as a mom is told to go out and enjoy herself, she will probably start to be looked down on and as a bad mom if she goes out and enjoys herself too much. And what’s considered too much probably is less than you would think.
We forget how to relax – It doesn’t take long to forget how to relax. Its starts off with an inability to relax because the very early parts of motherhood are literally spent in survival mode. Before you know it you’ve forgotten how to relax. The things that you used to do, you don’t really enjoy anymore and you don’t know how to make the time or energy to find new things that you like to do. You can tell a mom to take some time for herself but if she draws a complete blank about what to do with that time, chances are, she’ll end up defaulting to doing what she knows (something for the house or family) or nothing at all.
You can’t just shut your brain off – Self-care ceases to be self-care if you can’t stop thinking about all of your responsibilities that you’re neglecting when you’re out. Sure you’re out and being social or maybe you’re somewhere where your body is relaxing, but your brain is what needs the rest and that seems to always be going when you’re a mom…even when you’re sleeping. If your brain is going through your task list while you’re getting a massage, or you’re responding to emails and writing out your grocery list while you’re getting a pedicure, you’re not actually relaxing, you’re just going through the motions so that you can check self-care off of your to-do list.
We can’t really do what we want – When we think of self-care and relaxing what we would actually like to do in an ideal world versus what we’re actually able to accomplish are two completely different things. In our heads, it would be heaven to go out to dinner with a friend and drink margaritas leisurely without a care in the world. In reality, while at that dinner, we're probably constantly checking our phones to make sure it doesn’t get too late. As much as we’re enjoying ourselves at the moment, we can’t enjoy ourselves too much because we head back to reality soon. Many moms start to develop a “what’s the point” mentality because of this.