As a mother of an almost 13 year old and an Empowerment Life Coach, it is much easier for me to say these words today than it was 13 years ago. At this point in my life, I know how much more important it is to actually take time for yourself.
I had my daughter later in life (at 43) after having done the career thing. I thought I knew everything and if I could be a wife and have a baby, I had it all. What I didn’t realize was that I had “it all” but had lost a key ingredient – me. I was so excited about being a mom and so busy taking care of everyone that I had forgotten to take care of me. The result of that self-neglect resulted in my losing my identity and eventually my marriage. But, the gift from that neglect – was finding myself.
Several years ago, as my marriage was unraveling, I decided I had to take time for me to find out what really was important to my happiness – aside from mothering this amazing child. I began a journey of exploring and meeting other women. I started my own women’s support group, which opened my eyes to another way of life. I attended Omega Institute’s Women and Power conference and sat in an audience of 500 women. Talk about feeling nurtured! I heard amazing stories of struggles and abuse. I realized if they could do it, so can I.
Armed with my newfound courage, I began to reinvent myself. I decided I wanted to become an Empowerment Life Coach and help other women like myself. What I discovered from my coaching practice is that all women are the same and have very similar issues. Depending on the women, some issues are more obvious than others. Based on my observations, I think some of the similarities are:
- We are all consumed with guilt when we take time for ourselves
- We have all been trained to take care of our families before ourselves
- We don’t realize that the most important thing we can do for our families is to take time for ourselves
When we take time and nurture ourselves we invigorate our spirits. Taking time for ourselves gives us the energy to keep going, makes us kinder parents/partners and gives us rewards for our efforts. When we don’t, we begin to resent our chores and families.
Part of the coaching work I do with my clients involves homework. Usually it’s reading a chapter in the book I use as a framework for our sessions. Other times it is suggested activities. I’ve been known to tell my clients to take at least 1 hour out of their week and do nothing for anyone else except themselves. The reactions I’ve gotten to that assignment are amazing:
- I can’t do that!
- That makes me so uncomfortable. Can I do something else?
- I don’t know what to do? Give me a suggestion
I have also found that misery does love company. So, if you want to take time for yourself, it’s okay to take it with a girlfriend and share the guilt. Just remember to do it! Pamper yourself. Talk long walks, chat with your friends, read a book, take yourself to a movie, take a bath, get a manicure. You’ll be a happier woman, mother and partner. Your kids and husband will thank you once they recover from the shock. Oh, and they’ll be just fine on their own for an hour.