As a working mom, I both dread and dream for Back to School in the Fall. I dread it because I really do love being homework free, seeing the kids behave like kids and not have to suffer through study and project stress, and I love that there is an atmosphere of calm around our apartment. But I also dream about it because I crave routine, I find that the kids start to want to kill each other by early August, and with Back to School comes a sense of newness – new goals, new dreams, new friends, new books, new routines. It can be exciting!
And so with the kids taking on a new school year (my son entering Grade 9, and my daughter finishing up her last year of elementary school), I decided that it was also time for this working mom to start a brand new routine of her own – and I decided to call it PROJECT SELF.
Well, let me tell you – Project Self did not start off as planned, and I’m trying to determine why. Here’s what my objective was at the onset: To follow the PiYo® 60-day workout plan – this seemed to be such a lovely goal – to workout in a less jarring-to-the-joints way, combining Yoga & Pilates with constant motion to get in the cardio, but avoiding the jumping and craziness that I’ve been doing as of late. I felt as though this would be a great program to help me with my mind-body connection, as well as to help myself relax after long days at work. I also decided to read a personal development book for 10 minutes a day (to begin, I chose the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey), meditate for 10 minutes a day using an App called Headspace, and to fill in a gratitude App every morning called Bliss, simply listing one thing that I am greatly for each day. Seemed easy enough, right? I calculated that it would take me less than one hour per day to get all of this done. One hour!! In all honesty, I should be able to find one hour in my day, right?
Well, day 1 came and I was excited! I filled in my gratitude app as soon as I got out of bed, had a delicious breakfast with my kids, and then read for 10 minutes. After work, I fit in the 25 minute workout, and right before bed I completed the first day of learning to meditate with Headspace. Did it disrupt anyone’s schedule? Not at all! Did it interfere with any part of our normal routine? Again, not at all! Did it impact my workday – Nope, it was done before and after! And yet, for some reason, instead of feeling accomplished, I felt guilty. That’s right, guilty! I felt guilty for taking 10.5 minutes in the morning, and 35 minutes at night to do thing that made ME happy! Did anyone in my family imply that I was being selfish? Nope!! Did they need me for anything and I told them to wait so that I could get what I wanted to do done? Nope!! This guilt was brought on by me, and me alone! I am guessing that this is what people call Mom Guilt – the guilt that comes to moms all over the world whenever they do something that’s just for them.
My week 1 really didn’t go as planned, but it was definitely an eye opener to me that I really have to stop punishing myself for doing things that make me happy. And why? Because a happy mom means a happy home. A happy mom means that my children are learning the importance of taking care of oneself – I am their role model, and so what am I teaching them if I never stop to take care of myself – that I am unimportant?
And so, starting Monday, I will begin Project Self again – not as Week 2, but as Week 1 again with a clearer perspective, and hopefully a healthier mindset. Although I do predict that there will be moments that I’ll feel guilty for closing my bedroom door to do my PiYo (and I’ll add, this is done when Bree is in bed and Kyle is in the shower!!), I will remind myself that I’m doing this for ME and I’m doing this for THEM. Along the way I’ll stumble, along the way I’ll have moments of greatness and moments of despair… but I’m hoping that along the journey I’ll learn more about myself, that I’ll become stronger inside and out, that I’ll have less stress and more smiles – and I promise to blog about this process so that anyone else out there on a similar journey can see that they too are not alone in fighting Mom Guilt and trying to become a Strong Mom!