How a Working Mom Can Take Time for Herself

a little conversation between me and guilt

Do you feel guilty taking time for yourself, away from your children, after working all week? 

I recently invited an entrepreneurial mom to one of my women’s circles because she’d mentioned in the past how burnt out she was and how much she wanted to start doing nourishing things for herself. However her answer to the invite was “I don’t have time to take for myself. I need to work or be with the kids.”

I get it. I had allowed myself to get there once I returned to work after the birth of my second child. I had allowed all of those old beliefs that it was selfish to take time for myself away from my kids and to feel guilty when I did, to creep back in. I found myself depleted and in need of nourishment. 

So often the thing we desire the most is the hardest to do. We keep ourselves stuck with all kinds of sabotage and stories that we become victims and martyrs. 

My approach to coaching isn’t to remove or “get rid” of parts of us, but to bring wholeness and harmony to all the parts of us. We ask our emotions, patterns of sabotage and stories what their purpose is and how to bring them into wholeness. Here's an exercise you can do if you think you don't have time to take for yourself, or if you feel guilty when you do.

Take out a pad of paper and write out a dialogue between you and your resistance/sabotage/guilt. For example:  

Gwen: So guilt, what is your purpose?

Guilt: I don’t want you to take too much time away from the kids. I want to make sure you have balance. 

Gwen: So, what if I did a little bit of self care, would that be okay? 

Guilt: Is there a way you can do self care while they are sleeping? I could loosen the reigns a little bit if you did it then. 

Gwen: That works for me. I can start there. 

In this exercise you can see the guilt had a purpose. It was there to help me be a better mom. It was supportive of me taking time for myself but it wanted me to do it in a balanced way so I wasn't gone all the time. It was just showing up in a way that wasn’t serving me anymore. So I needed to talk with it and create more harmony. 

I'd love to hear your comments below and your experiences of taking time for yourself.