Many of the mothers I work with find it hard to take time out for themselves, even when they have support to do so.

Why is that?

From a young age, girls are socially conditioned into the role of ‘woman’ and ‘mother,’ taking on board a certain narrative that we must be good, and meek, and quiet, and selfless.

As mothers, we must strive for the ‘perfect mother’ stereotype and continue to be selfless, often at the expense of our own wants, needs and desires.

When we (inevitably) fail to be perfect we feel a clawing sense of ‘not good enough’ which pervades our whole existence and negatively impacts our well-being.

In striving for the impossible ideal of perfection in motherhood, we sacrifice more of ourselves, set fewer boundaries and become increasingly depleted.

But we still don’t give ourselves the gift of time out, because we reason that our ‘failure’ to be perfect makes us undeserving.

Sound familiar?

We try to mitigate our guilt by being ever-present for our families and sacrificing our own needs, but the reality is that when we don’t take time out, we get snappy, don’t show up as our best selves (which brings another wave of guilt), and, eventually, we burn out.

As mothers we need to fill up our own cups – not only for our own well-being, but for the well-being of our families. Mothers are the literal glue that binds families together. If we burn out, our families struggle too.

So, what can you do to make taking time out for yourself a priority? 

  1. At home with the kids, schedule time when you physically step out of the room and have time to yourself – even just 15 minutes can be a game changer. Set a timer!
  2. Write a list of all the things that nourish and/or relax you, put a time against each one and schedule at least one (ideally more!) into your plan for each week.
  3. Don’t make assumptions – for example, you might want to do a writing retreat but think you couldn’t possibly leave your family for 5 nights. Before dismissing it out of hand try asking your partner/family what they think, and see if there might just be a solution to facilitate you doing it (after all, if you don’t ask you don’t get!)
  4. Set boundaries – it’s great to help other people, but if you are always saying yes to others’ requests at the expense of your own well-being, consider whether it’s time to start politely pushing back to create more space for yourself.
  5. Remind yourself that taking time out for yourself models to your children the importance of self-care – you are teaching them an important life lesson that will benefit their well-being for years to come!

If you’re struggling to fit self-care and rest into your life, and would like to know how coaching can help, get in touch to book a free discovery call.

This article was written by Belinda Batt one of our partner coaches who uses evidence-based coaching and positive psychological tools to support mothers in feeling less alone, less inadequate, more fulfilled and more in control of life – enabling them to flourish. To find out more, get in touch via her profile page