Overcome Mom Guilt with Wellness TrainingAug 15, 2021
Victory Over Mom Guilt
How to overcome mom guilt with an automated wellness routine.
Being a mom is A LOT of work. It can feel like you are constantly taking care of everyone and everything, with very little time “off” from the never ending needs of your children.
There have been many phases of my life where I have felt overwhelmed, particularly so when I became a mom and was trying to maintain all the same pre-kids activities. I started to really suffer from mom-guilt, of feeling like I wasn’t doing it “right” and this was making me feel even more overwhelmed.
The mom-guilt hit me harder with each child, culminating in early 2018 when my third child was about 6 months old.
So, I took a course titled “Cultivating Motherhood,” which my memories constantly rename “Choosing Motherhood,” because the course opened my eyes to the fact that almost everything that was overwhelming me, and resulting in me “reacting” in ways I was not proud of, were in fact all choices I was making. i.e. decisions I was making about how to handle situations. I re-discovered that those choices were all very much within my power to control, aka within my circle of influence.
1st- Realize your own power and prioritize you!
I first read the “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey, over 20 years ago, and since that time I have discovered many ways in which the 7 habits apply inside the different evolutions of my life, including motherhood. In the book, Mr. Covey explains the “Circle of Concern” and “Circle of Influence,” represented in the circles below, in which I added the context of motherhood.
What I learned from the book, and re-learned from the course I took on motherhood, is that it’s all about perspective. I used to get so frustrated and overwhelmed at the daily tasks required in the life of a working mom. I would get frustrated every day at dinner and bath time because I felt like it was something happening to me, instead of something I was choosing to do. I realized I have the power to control my attitude, thus have influence over events like dinner time, and the shift was both profound and calming for the entire house.
Next, I learned the importance of prioritizing the activities that recharge me. These are activities that are important to both mental and physical wellness, but may not feel urgent. The urgent tasks are things like an empty gas tank, a kid that is sick and needs to be picked up from school, or feeding the family at dinner time. Yet, the activities that recharge you help deal with all the “urgent” tasks, without feeling so overwhelmed.
In order for me to have more control, or influence, on my life, I needed to be more present, calm, unflappable, and that requires me to make sure that I am spending quality time doing activities that program my brain to recognize the positive effects I feel when I recharge myself, and to know how to use those skills when needed. It's a lot like SWAT training in that way (p.s. I was on SWAT when I was a Deputy Sheriff), because we would repetitively train our brains on a certain skill so our brains would automatically know to use that skill in the "heat of the moment." This is most certainly applicable in the world of being a parent because I know I feel "the heat of the moment" often with three kids!
The more you learn to focus on the ‘non-urgent but important’ activities, the more often those activities recharge you and leave you feeling more in control. As a result, you are more effectively managing your life. This, in turn, results in expanding your circle of influence. You will have a feeling of control over more areas of your life, even when life throws something unexpected your way.
2nd Prioritize your wellness activities to recharge and refuel you on a daily basis.
There are three key areas in which you should carve out one hour a day to focus on areas in which you have the most personal influence, and to prioritize and create daily routines around those activities so that they become automatic in your daily routine: physical, social and mental.
Caring effectively for the physical body is a high leverage, ‘non-urgent but important’ activity that replaces potential urgent issues like health problems,which have a high urgency and act ‘upon you, lending to a feeling of loss of control or diminishing circle of influence.
Suggested action items: Create a plan or routine for rest, food/nutrition, and exercise. Fun fact: exercising 30min/day, at least every other day still leaves you with 162-165 hours in your week.
I carve out time almost every day for exercise or movement, and it’s almost always just 30 mins. In addition, I have created routines around family mealtime (ex: Taco Tuesday, Salmon on Thursday, pot roast on Sundays. These routines decrease worry about when it will get done, and all are critical to my mental wellbeing.
The spiritual side of you is what is at your core, your center, your value system, and draws upon the sources that inspire and uplift you. DAILY spiritual renewal allows you to live in harmony with the person you have decided you want to be, your vision of our “best” self.
Suggested action items: pray or meditate- leaves you feeling renewed, strengthened, centered, re-committed to serve.
I learned that instead of feeling frustrated that one (or all) of my kids were “crashing” my meditation time during my morning coffee that I could shift my perspective and decided to get up 15-30 minutes earlier than everyone else, creating much needed, uninterrupted, ‘me-time.’
Mental training means continually honing and expanding the mind. By doing so, you are training the mind to stand apart and examine its own program, expanding cultural awareness and paradigms. Otherwise, your mind atrophies and narrows your field of vision and understanding.
Suggested action item: Journal or write. When we write we improve organizing and planning skills and the visualizing and imaging power of your mind, to see the end from the beginning. READ!! When we read, not only are we improving memory and empathy, but research has shown that it makes us feel better and more positive too.
3rd- Happiness is the goal!
This is daily wellness training, a journey, not a destination. Carve out 1 hour per day- for the rest of your life. This still leaves you 161 hours in a week! I promise you have 1 hour. Here is how it adds up on an average day for me: 30 minutes of exercise + 10 minutes of meditation + 10 minutes of journaling equals 50 minutes. I love reading so I always try to find time to read as well, and that usually gets me into bonus time, over the 1 hour of wellness training for the day.
By automating the non-urgent but not important activities into your daily routine you will be finding, and feeling, daily success on a day-to-day basis, or what I call micro successes.
We are NOT going for perfection. In fact, there is no such thing as “perfection” when it comes to motherhood. We are aiming for happiness and joy. Focusing on areas that recharge you, and leave you feeling more peaceful, will, without a doubt, spill over into how you feel about yourself, and how you interact with your kids and family, and every circumstance around you.
Want help on setting up these routines? Check out the free download for 7 Tactical Steps to Automate Your Wellness Training.
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