Last week my kids were out of school Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. My children enjoyed time with their cousins, the Jumperoo (big bouncy houses), swimming twice and a movie night. But when it came to Friday and Saturday the guilt began to set it. I had photo sessions Friday and assisted shooting for a wedding Saturday. Needless to say, two evenings in a row, I was not home for dinner or to tuck my precious children into their beds. I was gone a total of 15 hours in those two days. Now you must understand that during these times my children only had a babysitter one hour, and they were with family or their dad the remaining hours. But still the guilt taunted me.
To try and redeem myself and minimize my guilt I rushed them to the Original Mine Yard pumpkin patch 40 minutes shy of when I needed to leave for the wedding. My children were excited, they ran, played and picked out their perfect pumpkins! My guilt was lessoned, but still at the surface...my kids were happy and it only took 40 minutes! The adorable pumpkins below are proof!
Often times, I think that, we as mom's and woman in general battle these feelings of guilt. We work too much or we work too little, the house isn't clean enough, there are deadlines to meet, we spent too much time with our children and not enough time with our husbands, we didn't spend enough time with our children because we were trying to get other tasks accomplished and the list goes on! Even as I write this there is guilt. There is laundry to be done, I need to catch up on the house that was clean this morning and I should be spending time with my children instead of writing this blog!
So what's a mom or should I say woman to do!?
First I must share that I am a follower of Jesus. I thank God every day that His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23) I can begin fresh with each new day. What I didn't accomplish or where I felt I failed yesterday I can try again. I will wake up tomorrow, praise Him that I can start over and try hard to be productive in my photography business, my home and spend time with my husband and children.
Secondly, a to-do list is a MUST. It can be the list on paper method where each task gets crossed off as it is accomplished (this is my favorite method because I am extremely visual and it feels so good to cross things off my list!). Or with all the technology of computers and smart phones you can make your lists and have it with you at all times.
Third, organize your schedule on a calendar. I use both methods of a large calendar that is on my fridge and the calendar on my computer. Having family, business and personal engagements and appoints written down helps to keep me sane and provides direction for my "to do list!"
Fourth, plan out times for just family! In today's world, with all it's modern conveniences, we are busier than ever and sometimes quality family time gets pushed aside. Try and plan at least one day, night or both to spend undivided time together. It helps to establish this pattern so your children see that they are important. If you are married schedule monthly dates. My husband and I have been married for 13 years and we still don't have this one mastered!
Fifth, schedule time to serve others. Crazy concept huh? Serve others when I could use someone to come clean MY house and cook for ME!? I promise you won't regret scheduling this time into your life. You will find that you are happier and more content when you begin to care for and serve others without expecting anything in return.
And finally, schedule "you" time. Make sure that you are taking care of you. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, don't sacrifice sleep and make time to do things that you enjoy. Some of the ways that I schedule "me" time is a girl's night out, locking myself in the bathroom and reading a good book in a bubble bath, scheduling a day to scrapbook, coffee with a friend and sometimes just shopping alone for an hour. I promise when you have some "you" time you will get a new perspective on life and maybe even feel like you can conquer the world for a day!
Now, can I assure you with complete confidence that these steps will cure you of your "mom guilt"? Absolutely not, but they will help you identify your priorities and balance them accordingly! And that my friends makes everything better for everyone!