I’m not a bad mom.
Although, sometimes I feel like one based on how I parent.
Maybe it’s because I saw the darker side of motherhood after Sienna was born – and I was a mess. I witnessed my first child go through heart surgery (twice), struggle with nursing to eating solids, and being labelled “failure to thrive”.
Everything I had went to finding solutions for my daughter. So much that I had nothing left for myself.
- My anxiety was high.
- My energy was depleted.
- My patience was paper thin.
- Working out and getting out didn’t happen much, and my health had seen better days
I was not the “me” I hoped to be. And wish I had simple tools like this…
I wanted to be an energetic, healthy, and happy mom. Not tired, irritable, and stressed out.
The only way I was going to turn things around was by putting myself FIRST. Putting myself BEFORE my kids and my husband? Ewww. Ick. It felt SO WRONG. But it was the best thing for all of us.
The choices Keith and I make for our family often have our girls top of mind. However, as much as possible we ask, “is this the best thing for us — their parents — and the foundation of our family?” If the answer is yes, we proceed. Often with guilt but knowing deep down it’s the best thing to do for the family.
Here’s why feeling like a “bad mom” can actually be good:
I go away WITHOUT my kids multiple times a year (and look forward to it).
A few of my nutrition friends and I went to Vancouver for a full week this fall. No kids, no partners, just the girls. At first, I felt pretty horrible for leaving Keith to manage it all.
A few fellow moms (including my own mom) hit a soft spot when they said: “I can’t believe you’re leaving your kids for a week! Is that a good idea?” I had GUILTY written across my forehead when I left that morning. But after a week of hiking, uninterrupted conversations, sound sleeping, and selfish solitude, I felt rejuvenated and so ready to squeeze my girls.
We need that time off to refuel – whether it’s a week, a day or an hour. When you return you will have BETTER MOM boldly written across your forehead.
I workout every day (almost).
Being active and getting outdoors was always a priority. Not just for me but for the sake of everyone around me (ask my family)!
When I’m stagnant or stuck indoors I feel foggy, cranky, and my energy goes into the toilet. So I sneak out in between client consults, over lunch, or while my husband watches the girls. I’ve even had my nanny work late to ensure I get my “me time”. Sure, I feel bad bailing on family time so I can sweat, but I know kids follow in their parent’s footsteps. So hopefully, as Sienna and Naomi grow up, they will admire me for prioritizing my health and want to prioritize their own too.
I choose to work.
Every time I meet a stay-at-home mom I want to hug them. Of course, I don’t because that would be weird. Yet I want to ask them: “How do you do it?”. I love my kids to the moon and back, but I don’t think I could stay home with them all day, everyday. I feel like a horrible mother for even thinking that – but I know me. I thrive on working with people and seeing them thrive.
I take my girls a few times a week and honestly, they are the longest…days…of…my…liiiiife. My kids are pretty easy, but mothering is still hard work! We are constantly scanning the environment for threats, or making sure our kids don’t eat the playdough. We are ALWAYS ON.
Working is different. My job (ironically taking care of other families) is easier than taking care of my own. I can focus, check things off my list, without needing eyes on the back of my head. Most importantly, I feel fulfilled helping other parents and am a happier and healthier mom because of that.
I make what *I* want to eat.
With babies often comes extra baby weight. We may opt for quicker meals or concede to foods we know our kids will eat. Over time we realize we’re cycling through pizza, pasta and other nutrient-lacking favourites.
We end up eating what they want, when it should be the opposite.
The odd time I will ask Sienna what she wants to eat, but 98.9% of the time I make that decision. While I love making something my kids love and will eat peacefully, I know I’m a better parent when I expose them to new foods, and create mealtime boundaries. We are ALL healthy and good eaters because of it.
I put my kids in front of the TV.
Sometimes I just need me time. Time to buy back my sanity, make dinner, pay bills, chat with a friend, or do absolutely fricken nothing. Especially on those days when I’m solo with my girls.
We’ve been to the park, we’ve played, had a balanced lunch, and tamed tantrums. Then there’s a point where my body and brain are saying “Now mommy needs a time out!”. So as the witching hours approach I often cave and put on Peppa Pig. As they go into their zone, I go into mine…to refuel for whatever motherhood brings me next.
I get other people to do ‘my work’.
As soon as I become a mother the questions and challenges started to creep in. Initially, I wanted to figure it all out myself with the help of Google because paying someone else felt like I was cheating at motherhood. Then I realized I was spending all my time searching for solutions.
- First it was nursing – so I hired a lactation consultant and could finally enjoy nursing.
- Then sleep deprivation – so we hired a sleep consultant and that changed our lives.
- Then picky eating – so I connected with pediatric experts, took courses and got certified in children’s eating. I now have the best little eaters.
- Plus I had personal challenges – so I invested in myself and Ifelt amazing again.
I’ve put a lot of money (and time) into my health and happiness. As my dad once told me, our health and happiness is the most important thing we can invest in. Being a nutritionist and a busy mom, of course I agreed 110%.
What got us here, won’t get us there.
Sometimes the best way to make changes is with the help of an expert. They’ve done the research and found the solution(s) so we don’t have to waste our precious time trying to do the same. As moms, we have to put ourselves first – even in front of our kids sometimes. Even if it feels wrong. But I now know that breaking the parenting rules make me a healthier, happier and better mom/wife/friend/person. And believe it or not, none of my kids are suffering because of it.
Used to being LAST on your list? Take a few days to put yourself FIRST.
Join me and other time-strapped moms for the Healthy & Happy Mommy Survival Kit. A 5-day journey with 2 minute tips to kick-start your health, energy, and sanity.