Mom Guilt will hold you back from being the strong, inspiring mother and woman you truly are. To be a great mom you must love yourself. This is the first step to creating a life you and your family can love.
I had been on the hunt for a photography workshop for close to a year. It had to be perfect. I needed a fantastic location, an amazing group of inspiring women, and time for some much needed Rest + Recharging.
And then the day came, I had finally found it. The most amazing workshop hosted by not one but two photographers I am completely inspired by. The location just happened to be a gorgeous AirBnB hanging off the side of the infamous Amalfi Coast in Italy. Freaking Italy lady!
I knew this would do the trick and kick in my inspiration + motivation I had been lacking for my deepest passion, photography. So did I book it? Hell Yeah I booked it. And I was completely satisfied with myself, not to mention overwhelmingly excited for the next week.
Then The Mom Guilt Set In
All of a sudden I was envisioning my one year old looking for me in the morning, and that about broke my heart. After that the flood gates opened and my thoughts ran rampant. I was imagining my kids burning the house down and wondering how they would survive meals with their father cooking?!
Is this just me being a control freak or mom guilt? Maybe they are the same thing. Or maybe one leads to the other. Either way, an overwhelm of emotions came rushing and I started feeling completely undeserving of some grandiose trip for my own selfish desires.
But I stuck it out and worked through the drowning emotions. And when I was in a better mental state I made the clear and final decision. Damn right I was going to Italy, and Hell Yes I deserve it!
Then I thought about how so many mommas out there are doing the same thing. Putting their own needs, creativity, aspirations and dreams on the back burner because of Mom Guilt.
And if you are here, than I bet you too are in need of a good motivational kick in the pants about balancing motherhood and Finding Your Self! Good thing thats exactly what you are about to get.
Letting Go Of Mom Guilt
First things first momma. You are a great mother. By not only questioning your abilities, but also taking the time to care to read about how you can better yourself in this role, is proof of that. So let me say it again. You are a Great Mother.
Since you are here and taking the time to get some helpful tips on battling this ferocious beasts, let me go on and give them to you.
Figure out when Mom Guilt usually strikes
For me, I find that a few things spark the feelings of not being enough. And oddly, it is usually when I am doing too much. Taking care of all the babes, cooking, cleaning, working, caring for the husband, figuring out the perfect meals, planning all the activities is too much for anyone.
If you are overloading your days or being a perfectionist like me than take a step back. Figure out your limits. Because it will catch up and you will start doubting everything. Did I do this right? Should I have done that? Am I totally screwing this whole motherhood thing and my kids all up?!
Shut it! Don’t let yourself get to this point. Know your limits and ask for help. You don’t have to be all the things. In fact, you cannot be all the things. So cut that crap out.
Even if this means asking your husband to help with the dishes a few times a week or start enrolling the kids into getting the laundry together for you. My 3 year old is capable of this. Teach them the life skills young. It will save you sanity and set them up for self sufficiency. Win Win.
Another time I catch my thoughts being jerks is when I have been forsaking them.
That’s right. You need to pay attention to you to. Not just by putting on make-up or sneaking a shower. Those are crap ways of finding me time. You need to check in with yourself Mentally.
In the beginning for me that was hiding in the bathroom the second my husband came home for 5 minutes of peace and to be in a not touching zone. Oh how far I have come.
Okay, after thinking back, maybe sneaking a shower isn’t such a bad one. I have had many a mental convo in the shower. Taking a long walk is another great way to tune into yourself. But the best way to gain some clarity and get on track with yourself has got to be journaling.
I purposefully wake up at an obscenely early time to accomplish this one life changing feat. And that is Morning Pages.
Writing to yourself first thing in the morning with no judgement or worry of what to write will eventually bring you in tune with yourself. Here you will figure out what is really bothering you and what parts of you are locked up and want release. Which brings me to my biggest tip.
Find Your Passion and Live it.
Your children are not your passion. I promise.
But they may be the key in finding it if you haven’t already. I found my love of photography through my intense desire to document my growing children. And it blossomed into something so much bigger than I ever dreamt.
You Will Be A Better Mother By Taking Time To Build Time For Your Dreams
Squash any shame or guilt about taking the time to better yourself. Your children need to see that and it will give better quality family time also.
If you are lost in motherhood and needing help in finding and unlocking your inner desires you can start by asking yourself some deep questions.
These will work great to write in a journal and ponder over for a few days.
How am I making choices based on “I should” rather than “I desire”?
What would my friends and family say are my strengths? You can actually try just asking them this also!! Try asking your parents or someone close to you.
If I was “living the dream” with nothing holding me back what would I be doing?
Do people ask me for help in something particular often? If so how I can I develop something from this.
What do I gravitate to most on social media. Is it a desire in me that I can bring out?
By taking the time to find your self-identity you will reinforce your character. This is beneficial in not only your mental toughness, but also in showing your children the possibilities and strengths of living and working through goals, and finding their own dreams.
If you can tell yourself everyday that you are doing that, than it won’t be so bad to battle silly self doubts like, “Did I feed them enough veggies today?”
Hey BTW, You are A Great Mom
Remember to tell yourself this A. Lot. Remember you gave them life. Taught them to walk, to talk, and made them giggle when they were sad. You were there for them in the best and toughest parts of their lives. And That will be what they remember.
I hope you got some feels from this and are thinking about big ways to battle the onslaught of mom guilt. You can do it momma. I would love to know your biggest challenges as a momma and how you overcome them.
For me all it took was a water bottle. And though it took me a while to realize that.. there’s one thing I can tell you now. It is real. And if the simple word “change” resonates with you then, Yes, you are ready.
I knew I needed a change. A big one. I had just had my 2nd baby in 2 years and moved into a new home In West Coast Cali. And I was miserable. I was miserable that I was miserable. I had the luxury car, hard-working husband, my two Beautiful children, a boy and girl, complete with all the pretty clothes and accessories. I even had my dream dog. I knew I had it to good to cry.
But cry I did. My husband was lost in his own life and those babies were wearing me down hard and fast. The dog wasn’t getting walked or groomed enough, and neither was I. And the Clothes.. Oh the clothes. They were in never ending piles of major purchase regret. The car was Amazing though. Thank you Ernie from Witt Lincoln San Diego I still miss that MKX.
Like I said though, All of that changed from a single water bottle.And it wasa Glorious water bottle. It had to be. I sucked at drinking water. And this was something that I really wanted to change. So I figured, find a bad ass water bottle, and guzzlin’ would ensue.
I was drinking 100+ oz a day. That was insane for me.
That kick-started a cascade of little changes over the next few months. I was starting to eat more fruits and veggies, while cutting out fast food, and I even started lite stretching at night. One of those nights I happened to be admiring my water bottle when a simple realization hit me That Changed Everything.
I was still drinking all that water and it wasn’t even something I had to think about anymore, it just was. I had dropped most of my baby weight / all I ate while I was pregnant was cheeseburgers weight, my Husband and I had started taking long walks with the kids And we found a new way of connecting through biking. The dog was getting groomed, I was getting groomed, the kids were still a screaming hurricane with food faces and sticky hands but I was keeping patience with them, and actually guiding them instead of screaming at them. This mental connection reached out and physically hit me.
And it was then that I realized | Every choice was mine
And every choice has a consequence.
I know it sounds simple but this was Not an easy thing for me to realize. And realize I did… Now I was responsible for my life.. and the things happening in it; down to the way I was feeling in every given moment.
This required a great deal of mental stretching and breaking out of my own head. I was so stuck in myself Scared to go out and face my own dreams and aspirations; to just plain get out in the world, simply because I was scared of societal judgments. I had to unlearn a lot of sabotaging programming from my youth and young adult hood.
Now all of a sudden my unsatisfactory marriage, was me being a cold, resentful wife. I didn’t see his faults as an excuse for me anymore, and that left me with a long, hard look at myself. This wasn’t just in my marriage, it was my Life. From my kids, to my estranged relationship with my family.. the way it was so hard for me to build healthy relationships, and friendships, and full circle.. back to me, and the way I have always treated and thought of myself. Insert nights of hidden tears and days of ever-present overwhelm.
Now I told you this realization was not easy, but to loosely quote Tim Ferris, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. In fact, it had broken my mind, and like a butterfly shattering a chrysalis, I emerged with new capabilities.
I knew I had made an important mental shift and I had no idea what to do with it. I decided to do what was already working for me. Make Goals. Then Make better Goals.
Momentum Is Key
Never underestimate the power of mental momentum
Being without momentum is rough. It is how I had been living most of my life. For me, It was the difference between hitting the snooze button a few times in the morning, and then getting up vs just turning the damn thing off. It was persevering with a stoic face when all 3 of my children are having emotions bigger than themselves. It is wearing my keyboard out, while burning holes in my eyes as my family sleeps to pursue mypassions… that way I am better apt to focus on them, and our goals together during the day.
Once I realized what momentum was for me
What it felt like for me
I was able to recognize the ebb and flow of it
Because I am very much of an up and down kind of person….
I have Huge Bursts of Energy and Insight, and I want to explode all of my feelings and understandings unto everyone around me.
These times for me are a whirlwind of making things happen, overestimating myself, surprising myself, connecting, and learning. So Much Learning that it is vital to get some down time.
Rest and Recovery is Essential
Everyone needs time for themselves. There are no exceptions. Especially for me. I would find myself craving to be alone after the constant touching and talking that comes with toddlers and at first thought I must be a horrible mother. Please. Excuses.
But with 2 littles under 2 running around I had to get a little creative for my much needed R&R. Most of my rest was not actually sleeping but if the babes are busy mommies brain was resting. Here were some of my go to strategies.
Crucial. Wear them out in the morning then stuff their bellies and send them to their rooms. Or to your bed with you if you must. Make nap time a priority for your family and make sure your taking part. No “getting stuff done” or needless cleaning. Promise, it can wait. Even a 20 minute rest with your eyes shut improves focus and mental function.
Take a Walk
When it’s no where near nap time and your feeling frazzled throw those babies in the stroller. Won’t stay quiet long enough.. bring snacks! The outside air and steady pace will keep them quite and entertained for a bit so you can make a phone call to family or just zone out in your thoughts for a few minutes. Ah bliss.
Find a park with a fence
Why aren’t these everywhere. The first time I saw one I thought well this is nice. No it is much better. It is ingenious. Yes, you still have to watch your kids moms. But the stress will be exponentially better and you can maybe lay in the grass with a book or take the time to watch the kids from afar peacefully and think of all the ways they make your life better. Regular playgrounds can work also.
Cuddle up with a book. This is a great way to unwind with your children. Even the littlest ones can get involved with the right books. I would give my smallest an indestructible book while my eldest and I went through another. This will give you all the good feels and get you unplugged while bonding with your most important.
Your Partner, Family, and Friends are all their to help. You just need to say when things are piling up and be specific about what could actually help you. Don’t feel bad about needing an extra hand or an hour to soak in a bubble bath.
Take yourself on a date
Not your husband or family or friends. Just You. My favorite way to get back in sync with myself is to be able to just be myself. i am quiet and reserved. When I am with my family I am the boss on a loud speaker. Spa day, lite lunch and a stroll through town or the beach, a scenic drive, a long hike, or a day hiding in your room with a book are all good ways to reconnect with yourself.
Once I realized I had made it this far by haphazardly implementing just these few vital keys
Responsible for Self / This is your Choice
Mental Momentum / Make Goals and Go After Them
Rest And Recovery / Avoid Burnout and Overwhelm
I was better able to understand the real possibilities for myself, my family, and our lives together that blew my mind and our world right open…
I have grown exponentially since those years, and my world and mind are still wide open. I have since moved with my Husband and 2 small children to Hawaii where we added another so now we are 5. Here we will be prepping for full-time travel starting fall 2019 and will be World Schooling our family.
I am so grateful everyday that I took those first steps that inspired me and re-developed my love of learning. It touches deep into my life and seeing it Now I realize I am going through, and may, very-well always be going through, an Intensive Lifestyle Change.
For most people this feels too hard to achieve and they live their life in a comfortable form of acceptance / denial. It is doable. It is actually just a way of life and all it takes is starting with key changes in the right parts of life.
Diet and Exercise is everything.
If you shed everything about you down to your basics you are left with nothing but a need to eat and you need to be able to move efficiently to do that. Pretty important. It just is. This is the Magic Cure you have been waiting for.
I was a fast food junkie who would’ve said the best date ever was a place with a monster cheeseburger, fries and ranch, topped off with a few choice drinks. Beer.
Simply achieving my first goal of drinking half my body weight a day in water was enough to bring on a cascade of events that led to an extremely different way of living.
Drink water for an instant upgrade in life. It alone will change everything. It has been proven to make you focus better and just be plain Happier. Plus, beyond just improved mental functions.. Literally Every Single Part of Our Bodies Function Better. Our joints move better, exercise isn’t as challenging and more effective, organs function better. And with the skin being the largest organ, it benefits greatly. Who is possibly against supple, glowing skin and feeling super-charged?
Start the day off with a healthy choice
I started with Avocado toast with an egg. I wasn’t far off the mark and still enjoy this quick easy breakfast all the time. There are so many reasons to make sure this meal is the one you choose to be healthy with. It fires up your metabolism, increases energy, boosts brain power, and starts your day with a positive mindset that will flow into all of your choices that day.
Cut out Fast Food
This can be so hard to start but a great momentum boost when you achieve it. Try saying no next time your partner or friend go through a drive-thru. If you are a fast food junkie like I was then this will be no easy feat but will gain you major reward Fast and in all parts of your life. From saving money, to increasing will-power, to saving your guts from the the processed nightmare they call food. This one is a game-changer to add on early!
Eat more Fruits and Veggies
This is something we all know. Or do we. The nutrition knowledge in the world is extremely lacking. It took a lot of self-propelled research for me to understand why I had been dieting and failing all my life. Everything I thought I knew about food was wrong. Food has so many functions in our body and it is so important to have a Balanced Diet.
Fruits and Veggies are so easy to start implementing in your life. Leaving a snack tray of cut veggies and humus in the fridge is a great way to reach for something healthy for a snack or to add to a lite lunch. I never thought my kids would eat raw broccoli or a beet. Experiment with new selections from your produce stand and you will often surprise yourself.
Cut out Processed Foods and Refined Sugar
Imagine walking into a grocery store and only needing to walk down 1 or 2 isles and the produce section. Just the time saved not looking at all those pretty pictures of yummy concoctions on these boxes and cans is worth it. Surprise yourself by making one of these delicious simple 5 ingredient recipes
Diet has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I have implemented these steps. It doesn’t mean losing weight anymore. It is a word that only refers to the way I eat. I now am implementing minimalist meal plans with ingredients from farmers markets and locally sourced meat markets. Life can change rapidly and if you keep pushing yourself you will find yourself living a life you didn’t you could reach.
Find Something you Enjoy
I knew it all along.. “a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest”
– someone a lot smarter than me, and probably you too
Besides my short stint of running around the block in the a.m. that was back too many lifes to count, I can’t say I was much into exercise. A few simple home routines of stretching at night and I was able to enjoy movement again. That led to bike riding which let me find reunite with my love of everything outdoors. Finding even a small routine that is under your comfort level can help build the momentum for a greater challenge. Here are 18 Best Workout Apps For Lazy Girls.
Find Natural Exercise
The world is your playground. Don’t forget to go play in it.
I got so stuck in an inside routine where my kids watched too much t.v. and I stared at computers too long. This was exactly what I said I would avoid as a mother and I fell in the same easy trap as most of society. When we bought a kid carrier and started biking I fell in love. With more than the energy of the ride, with the sun on my skin, and the wind in my hair. This connection to the outdoors did wonders for me mentally and physically. Hiking, mountain climbing, snorkeling, and exploring are all now frequent activities that keep me out of the gym and happy and healthy.
Sticking to Routine
We are all creatures of habit. Our bodies are constantly trying to keep us comfortable and that is why routines are life savers. Don’t think diet and exercise were just a thing I always did or just easily started up one day. I also went from waking up at 5 p.m. to 5 a.m… which is now getting switched to 4 a.m.
What is this sorcery?
It is my wonderful brain.. rewiring itself.. to protect it’s simple emotional human. They say it only takes 30 days of enforcing a habit to make it a habit. I believe it. I have done it ..over and over. I am constantly surprised at how quickly I can change, build, and develop new skills.
Self Love Starts with Self Care
My skin has always given me trouble. Chicken bumps, ingrown hairs, acne, stretch marks were all plagues of my teenage years that led to insecurities and continuing conditions in my adult years. An epilator, exfoliating, and dressing up are my favorite tools for an instant Goddess Feeling. Find what makes You Feel Beautiful.
I had finally jumped on the band wagon and got waxed. My whole damn body. I went back twice because I really liked my waxer but I knew instantly I had to find a better way. This bad boy gets you soft and smooth at home on your own time, in the shower or out, and even has exfoliating heads for your face and body. Game. Changer.
When your skin is that bare you need to maintain it! Store bought body scrub is Expensive and full of chemicals but it is so easy to make your own exfoliating scrub at home. Bonus: you get to pretend your at the spa while your husband deals with the screaming kids and you level up in the shower. Go throw some raw sugar and coconut oil together, scrub away, and see how just that simple concoction makes you glow.
Dress For Who You Want To Be
I was always a tank top and jeans girl. I used to see and even buy cute clothes but never wear them for fear of looking out of place or silly. To possibly hear someone say..”what are you wearing?!” was mortifying. A pair of waist-high sage colored hobo shorts bought in a “I’m A New Women” mode, threw me out there and I realized something extremely freeing.. Most people don’t care what your wearing and really it doesn’t matter all that much if they did. I threw the rest of my clothes out. Seriously.
Organize and Minimalize your Life
One day I started throwing clothes in bags and got them the hell out of my house. I was sick of the piles of clothes I barely even liked or wore being Everywhere! It was freeing and absolutely addicting. I have now spread this concept to all parts of my life. Right down to my thoughts. I am able to actually see what matters in my life and focus on that with all my extra time and energy.
Some of the ways I have cut down on clutter in my life is
When I found out I could own only a handful of clothes, look and feel amazing, save tons of money and time, plus unburden myself from too many choices and mountains of laundry.. I was ALL in. These are a few ladies and their wardrobes that inspired me to make the change.
The cutest video of Kitty Cotten and her awesome capsule wardrobe. This one came right after she had a baby so it is nursing friendly and you still get to look amazing!
I was spending too much time in the kitchen, too much money at the store,and throwing away tons of leftovers and rotten veggies. Enough was enough. I started adapting a minimalist meal plan thought up by Miranda over at Live Free Creative Co. She is another amazing maker mama who is all about Energy Management!
Mindset is Everything
This should be first but it is last for a simple reason. I couldn’t stand to hear it before I understood it and I didn’t want to scare you away. But, hey, your at the end now so there it is.
There was a question I asked myself daily for years and when I answered it for the first time I broke down and cried till I was dry. When I was done feeling sorry myself I knew I could get up and change it or stay the way I was. So I decided I would “fake it till I make it” and got Happy.
You will always be presented with situations that are hard or will disrupt your peace and happiness. How you mentally tackle these situations will forge your path. When you are upset and irrational it is too easy to lead yourself down a destructive path. Mental toughness is built from continued success with staying positive in rough times.
The first time I knew it was working:
When my girl brought me a pen from my desk smiling and told me to “come see” while I was trying to get a moments reprieve in the bathroom; I looked at her with raised eyebrows, calmly finished up and followed her. My new white office chair had the mad but proud scribbles of a little Willow girl all over it.
I stood there for a second upset and when I would have usually snapped I thought… Well damn thats some nice scribblin’. I have no idea who that was in my head but when I bust out laughing and was then able to follow with a calm, connected talk with my girl I decided I was going to be listening to her a Lot More!
Want to know what that anguish filled question I asked myself daily was?
“Why am I Doing This”
If you are asking yourself that question still then I suggest you answer it.
Because it will put you well on your way to a great Lifestyle Change!
Hello! I am Amanda and this was my first Blog Post Ever!!!
Wish me luck, Tell me your story, Let me know how you made a change in your life or want to make a change in your life! I am here to share and connect and would Love to hear from you!