Why Do We Feel Guilty Taking Care of Ourselves?

 

So, many years ago, my mother went out shopping during the holiday season. While she was out, she decided she was going to buy a Louis Vuitton. So she did. At the time, the bag cost around $300 (same bag now costs around $970.00) and my mother had several young children at home (me included).

It was a splurge. Did she feel guilt? Absolutely not. She proudly wore the bag for years and only brought it out of retirement when carrying a Louis Vuitton was ‘in’ again. It’s a story I like to recite because my mother had young children at home, was very active in all school activities, heavily involved in her community, was a full-time nurse, and still treated herself to a nice handbag.

That brings me to the blog discussion today – why do we as mothers, feel guilt when we treat ourselves?

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I recently bought a new pair of sneakers. The Classic Adidas Superstar. It was popularized by Run-DMC, Missy Elliott, and countless others. My first choice were old-school Jordans, going for a whopping $150. (It wouldn’t be my first pair of expensive shoes, nor the last.)

I decided instead of buying one pair of shoes for $150, I’ll buy two pair at $75 each. I’ll have one pair for casual wear and the other will be my workout shoes, that’ll I’ll get soon.

As I arrived home yesterday with bags from Macy’s, including more items for Bear, I thought of writing this post. At first, I was going to take a pic of the shoes and post them for the ‘Gram, celebrating my new kicks. Then I thought about it…why was I really celebrating these shoes?

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I counted the number of shoes I have at home. 10. I think five of them I don’t even wear and I need to donate. Well, actually two I need to toss because I wore them to the bone. So really, I have three, including my new Adidas.

Now Bear has five pairs of shoes, so does my husband. Their wardrobes are constantly updated (courtesy of me) while mine is looking rather paltry and I could really use some more new clothing. Hell, I couldn’t even remember the last time I bought a nice piece of jewelry for myself.

Which leads to my next point – as mothers, we’re constantly caring for others. We want to make sure bills are paid, clothing is laundered, food is fresh and pantries are stocked, and kids come back home in one piece. Thinking of it like that, yeah, we probably don’t have time to take care of us.

But we need to. Between the playdates, paying bills, and sometimes just scrapping by, we need to make sure we’re top priority.With a recent study linking stay-at-home-motherhood and depression, it’s alarming to see how tiny bits of sadness can develop into something more crippling.

If we don’t take care of ourselves first, who is going to take care of us when we’re not able to?

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When I mean self-care, it can be a plethora of things – shopping trips, spa days, meditation, exercise, you name it. We need to treat ourselves once in a while, saying, ‘You know what, mama? You deserve this.’

Being a mother is hard work. There are times I feel like I’m Mary Poppins and there are times I honestly wonder, ‘Girl, what in the hell are you doing?’ I’ve done more research online for toddler and preschooler activities than I want to comfortably admit.

But I also know no matter what emotions I’m going through, my child is well-cared for and protected. He’s thriving in school and he’s growing like a sprout (eating up all of our food in the process O.O). My husband seems happier as well and that’s very important to me.

Now, I need to make sure I’m happy.

I meditate. I pray. I regularly exercise. I try very hard to maintain a healthy diet, though my sweet tooth kicks my tail. I’m in regular contact with friends and pretty active on social media. I also get out just about every day, weather permitting.

And yes, it’s hard. I had a pinch of guilt heading home wondering if I really needed a pair of expensive sneakers, and thinking about where that money could’ve gone. Then it dawned on me: I deserve these shoes.

So, to you, mama…if you want to treat yourself to a spa day, buy that pricey bottle of wine, get that cell phone upgrade, or whatever it is that’s considered a splurge, do it. Take care of yourself. It’ll boost your mental state but also, it’ll bring some joy to your life.

And try to do it without guilt. 🙂

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