Self-Care is Not Selfish

When I have my initial consultation with a client, who happens to be a mom, the first thing I ask them is their “Why?”. Why are you deciding to focus on your health and fitness now? What was the contributing factor or catalyst that got you to this point?

 Often, the motivation is their kids. While that is a beautiful and endearing sentiment, it is partly problematic. You see, mothers typically spend their entire day concerned with the needs and wants of everyone but themselves. Even when starting a lifestyle change, they do it because they want to be a better mother for the kids or live longer to be around to see the kids grow up. 

The truth is they probably already are an amazing mother! However, the guilt associated with doing something with themselves as being the focus is difficult for most moms to handle, so they associate their changes with doing something for their kids. That way, they don’t feel so selfish. So, here lies the problem with this frame of thinking. It makes moms feel guilt for taking care of themselves and in consequence, once they begin on their fitness journey, they fizzle out fast because they feel like they are taking time away from doing other important things. They feel like the house is going to fall apart, or someone is going to be upset with them, or like they aren’t doing all they can to ensure everyone’s needs are met. 

Motivation is already fleeting enough. One day you are highly motivated to work out, the next day it is the last thing you want to do. Therefore, your motivation has to be something that isn’t going to create a sense of guilt but will empower you to continue your fitness journey, until you have accomplished the goal you initially set out to accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, the kids are a great motivation. You should want to do what is necessary to give them the best life possible and that means giving them the best version of you possible. You also, cannot make them the primary focus for the changes you need to make for YOU! You must be the primary motivation for the health journey you are embarking on. You must do it because YOU want to be better, because YOU are tired of saying you are going to start next week and then next week comes and goes. You must be your own motivation until motivation is replaced by discipline.

You have to get comfortable with being the SOLE reason to do something that makes you feel great! And YOU have to get comfortable with the idea that you aren’t selfish when you do. Otherwise, the vicious cycle of wanting to make changes, but never making changes will continue for another year. I know you don’t want to wake up on this side of 2022 wishing you had signed up for that fitness class, or done more yoga, or taken dance lessons. Whatever your need is, whatever your goal is, the time is right NOW! Not tomorrow, not when the kids are bigger, not when the house is under control, RIGHT NOW!

Making time for your self is exactly what your everyone in your life needs to see you doing They all need to know that your health is just as much priority as theirs. They need to get comfortable with the idea of mom having time for herself, and you have to be the one to demand and take the time needed to replenish yourself. Doing so doesn’t make you a bad mom, it will make you an even better one!