Hi, I am Nataly and I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!
I write the daily Work It, Mom! Blog where I talk about issues affecting working moms, goings on in our Work It, Mom! community, new site features, updates,and contests. I also share my own juggle between work and family and love to see members jump in with comments. Come and visit often!
Nataly's profile on Work It, Mom!
One of my friends is pregnant and the other day I decided to break my rule about not giving pregnant friends advice. (It’s kind of a weak rule, to be honest, but I do try not to volunteer advice to people getting married or about to have kids unless they ask. Unless I can’t help it.) The advice I gave her was this:
Learn to be selfish after your baby is born.
I think my friend was a little surprised when I said this. “Selfish” has a bad rep as a quality and a worse rep when it comes to moms. When I called my grandma to tell her I was pregnant with my daughter she told me to remember that my life is no longer about me, but about my baby, before she congratulated me. I am sure cultures differ in terms of what they expect of moms (I come from a Russian Jewish family), but I think it’s hard to argue with the fact that as moms we’re expected to care for our kiddos first, before taking care of our needs. Forget expected, it’s our natural instinct.
But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a mom is that if I don’t take care of me and do things just for me, everyone suffers, especially my daughter. I’ve heard the saying “Happy mom, happy family” before, but I think it took being a mom for a few years to actually internalize it and understand it. And it’s still a bit of a battle to practice it without that old guilt monster creeping in.
I work a lot during the week so most of my time to do stuff for me is on weekends… which is also my time to spend with my daughter and husband. This is my toughest challenge and I’ve written here before about “weekend working mom guilt“. I’ve learned to overcome it, somewhat: On Saturdays I take a 1-hour Zumba class, for example, and on Sundays I go for a long walk, one of my favorite things to do, while my husband takes our daughter swimming. Yes, this is serious progress for someone who used to literally stay glued to our daughter on weekends.
I realize that this is a limited-time problem — she is turning seven soon (OMG!) and I can see the time coming when she doesn’t want to hang out with us on weekends and I have plenty of time to do stuff I want. But in the meantime, I’ve learned that taking a little time for myself — aka being a little selfish — is a really important thing to do, for my and my family’s sanity. And that is what I explained to my pregnant friend.
Do you take time for yourself or do you find it difficult to do?
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