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Balancing being a mom and being yourself

In this week's 'Mom of the House', Brianna talks about sacrificing wants and needs
Brianna Bell with her three children - Penny, Georgia and Eloise.

I recently read a story online about a woman who skipped her daughter’s honour roll ceremony in favour of going for a run. 

In her public post, Kristen Hewitt, a blogger and television reporter wrote:

“So I did something that some may think is selfish recently, but I really needed it. I missed my daughter’s honor roll assembly so I could work out…

I talked to her about how proud I was of her, but let her know I have to work a game tonight and needed to take care of myself this morning. She also had her father and grandmother attending in my place.

Guess what. She understood, gave me a hug, and thanked me for all I do for her. She also learned by example today that SELF-CARE matters.”

Reading this earlier in the week I felt my jaw drop to the ground. She skipped her child’s honour roll assembly to go for a RUN? I felt the judgement creep up.

I will admit, I still don’t get it, and by the responses on this particular Facebook post, many other moms don’t either. It still got me thinking about my own self-care practice. 

I spent many years bearing the weight of my duties to my children, husband and our home. 

I have always felt it was my responsibility to manage our home, whether it was washing the dishes or folding and putting away clean laundry. Things like menus for the week and cooking have been my responsibility, and when there’s no dinner or we run out of groceries I feel the guilt creep in. I failed and now we had to spend money, another thing I felt was my role to manage. 

In the last year I have really started to crack, or rather crumble, under the pressure. I haven’t been able to keep up, and it’s showing. Between caring for my three children, missing sleep, and trying to work when I can, I have let a lot slip. 

I’ve also felt a need for some time to do things for myself, and wondered when I would be able to actually fit myself into the picture.

Could I spend money on myself? Should I take extra time to do something just for me? It all would mean chores left undone, and someone, somewhere, would need to sacrifice.

If you ask any mother, they would admit that when sacrifices need to be made it’s often the mother who releases their wants and even needs.

Mom buys new winter gear for the kids, and has to wear her thin coat because there is no money left.

Mom takes the kids out for a special dinner out, but it’s not a restaurant she would ever choose. 

Mom calls in sick for work, because the kids are sick again. 

Mom misses out on her work out, or her lunch with friends, or her sewing class, because the kids have a school play. 

Our own mothers made the sacrifices, just like their mothers did. But it seems that this generation is less willing to sacrifice all of the things, all of the time.

Are we selfish for wanting more for ourselves, even if it means our kids don’t get all of us, and may need to sacrifice something themselves?

I don’t think so. I think there’s balance and priorities, and there are certainly many moments where we do sacrifice. It happens in a million little moments throughout our lives. But there’s other times when we don’t have to be the martyr, when someone else can step in when we can’t. 

Maybe that means buying used boots for the kids, so that there’s extra money for a winter coat for ourselves. 

Maybe it means hiring a babysitter so that we can go out on a date with our spouse or partner, and opting out of a family dinner with the kids. 

Maybe it means having a fair system, where your partner takes sick leave for kids as well.

And maybe it means missing your child’s honour roll assembly so that you can go for a run, (okay, I still don’t know about this one). 

I know that 2018 is going to be a year where I pursue myself a bit more. It’s hard to carve out hours for myself, but I believe that if I do I will be a more devoted and dedicated mother. 

To view the full Facebook post by Kristen Hewitt please click here