Sometimes I feel a little bit guilty about taking care of myself over spending time with my son or taking care of my family.
When my husband comes home from work on Wednesdays and I leave two minutes later to rush to yoga class, I do admit, I feel guilty. Or when I take my son to the gym with me and drop him off at the daycare (which he doesn’t LOVE), I feel a bit of guilt. Or when I meet with a friend for coffee on the weekend to catch up, instead of watching my son at swimming lessons, I feel just a little bit guilty. I think we as Moms, always feel guilty for SOMETHING, right? What I’ve been told is that Mommy guilt never really goes away- there’s always something more that we could have done. There’s always something that we didn’t do quite right.
Drop the Mommy Guilt:
But the truth is, taking care of yourself – whether it means working out a few times a week, going to a yoga class, or making sure that you eat a healthy breakfast everyday, will make you a better Mom. You’ll have more energy, feel more confident, and be healthier overall. And let’s face it- you’ll be more patient and understanding when you’re with your kids. Putting your health at the top of your priority list (or within the top 3), will help to protect you from a host of diseases that could shorten your life, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. After all, heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death among Canadian women…
The not-so-good news:
What I find absolutely crazy is that, according to a recent survey done by Becel (the founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s The Heart Truth campaign), most Canadian women (over 60%) do not feel as though they have enough time to take care of themselves! The truth is, by putting themselves at the bottom of their priority list, Moms are also putting themselves at a higher risk of chronic, life-threatening diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
The really good news:
When Moms start to incorporate healthier lifestyle habits- such as eating well, being more active and reducing their stress levels, they can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 80%. Making easy changes such as eating a healthy breakfast soon after waking up, making sure that meals are balanced (include lean protein, fruits and/or veggies, whole grains and healthy fats), eating healthy snacks like fruits and/or vegetables paired with lean protein more often than high fat, high sugar snacks and treats, replacing saturated fats (found in butter, fatty meats, cheese, and whole milk) with unsaturated fats (found in oily fish, nuts/seeds, soft margarine and plant oils like olive, sunflower, and soybean) more often can help lower your cholesterol and boost your overall health. Getting enough physical activity–about 30 minutes of activity a day–and going to a yoga or meditation class once a week, can help Moms reach a healthier weight, decrease stress levels and give them more energy.
The even BETTER news:
In the same Becel survey, over half (56%) of Canadian Moms said that they would be more likely to take better care of themselves if they were encouraged to do so by another Mom. I personally find it much easier to go to my yoga class or go for a walk if I know that I’m meeting a friend. I know too that by encouraging my Mom friends to eat healthy, many of them have started to pay more attention to what goes into their meals and snacks. The connections we make as Moms are powerful and by encouraging a Mom who you love to take better care of herself, you might literally save her life.
Instead of feeling guilty for not being Super-Mom every hour of every day, we need to start taking better care of ourselves. And it’s ok if we take a bit of time away from our kids to make that happen. In fact, taking care of ourselves will make us better Moms and our kids will benefit from it long term.