By the time I joined the mom club, I’d put in a decade as a dedicated runner. So I wasn’t really surprised that I kept running after I delivered my daughter, though admittedly my workouts looked a little different than they did in my pre-baby days.
What shocked me was that running very quickly became the only thing I did for myself.
Though I knew my runs served a greater purpose than just providing a little me time, I was plagued by mom guilt whenever I laced up my running shoes. No matter how I tried to justify it, I worried that running took too much time and energy away from my family.
Deep in the trenches of early motherhood, I didn’t think I deserved to do anything more for myself than go running. So I didn’t.
I stopped pursuing other passions and stopped indulging in other forms of self-care. I forgot about yoga. I stopped reading (unless you count Ladybug Girl and Goodnight Moon). And things like haircuts became infrequent events because, most of the time, I felt like I had to choose between that luxury and a run.
The funny thing was that I was the only person counting the hours I spent away from home. The judgments I was making and the restrictions I’d placed on myself and my time were all in my head.
Maybe you feel like you lack the time and energy to do more than one thing for yourself. Or maybe you spend a lot of time away from home already and just can’t justify taking more time to give to yourself. Or maybe it just feels selfish to ask for more.
Now don’t get me wrong – I think any “me time” a mom gets is a good thing. So whether that one thing you do is a daily run, a monthly pedicure or a weekly coffee date with a girlfriend, please keep doing it.
But I also want you to know it’s ok to want for more and ask for it.
When I realized this, I experimented with what it felt like to do more than one thing for myself. I started taking occasional barre or yoga classes. I asked my husband to watch the kids so I could join friends for a monthly girls’ night out. I started taking some time on lazy weekend days to disappear with a good book, just because I wanted to. And while these things do take more time away from my family, they also make me a happier person – and a better mom.
So today, I encourage you to let go of the belief that you can only do one thing for yourself. Try doing something new just for you and see what unfolds.