I went to a Catholic grade school. Guilt is nothing new to me. I felt guilt or was surrounded by feelings of guilt for most of my childhood. Even today, my mother-in-law (who also attended a Catholic school) and I joke about how we have mastered feeling guilty about something...ANYTHING...just about every day. And, full disclaimer, we have learned how to make others feel that same guilt, too.
It should come as no surprise that I often feel guilty about indulging in myself as a mother. My every waking moment should be spent doing something for my two young sons, ages 8 and 6. I should be playing with them, doing homework with them, feeding them, bathing them and being at their beckon call. When they are at school, I feel guilty when I sit down to a lunch prepared exclusively for myself.
Besides my boys and my husband, however, is exercise. Exercising first thing in the morning, to me, is like my morning cup of coffee. I am pretty miserable without it. It's through this significant interest in exercise that I have come to learn about the importance of self-care, the guilt-free kind. When I talk to trainers, fitness instructors and even nutritionists, I'm given the same message: Self-care is the single most important way we can take care of ourselves. Without self-care, whether it's a massage, a good workout or trip to the spa, we risk losing ourselves in our daily stress and forgetting to just have fun.
My New Year's resolution (well, one of them, at least) is to try to remember to have fun. I'm going to try to not always seek out the stressful part of any situation in which I'm faced, no matter how easy it would be to feel the stress. Instead, I'm going to be more thankful for the opportunity I have -- the one that may cause the stress -- and approach it with a smile.
Along those lines, I'm going to resolve to feel less guilty about my self-care experiences. I'm often reminded of the saying "Happy Mom, Happy Life." And I'm finally realizing the amazing amount of truth to that saying.