Neglecting Self-Care is Selfishness in Sheep’s Clothing

It’s so common. A tired, run down, amazing woman calls me up and says, “I have no energy, the weight won’t budge, I can’t think clearly! Can you help me?”

Within a week she has more energy, is sleeping deeper, and can string two words together to form a sentence.

She feels like a brand new woman.

Within 90 days, she’s living a vibrantly healthy life she LOVES, her family loves, and is sooooo excited about preparing delicious healthy meals, exercising regularly, and protecting time for self-care. Everyone is on board.

Who’dathunk food could’ve done all that???

It doesn’t. 

What I’ve learned from coaching women just like this over the past four years is that beyond the solid foundation of nourishing, nutrient dense foods are our thoughts, beliefs, and values that create the old behavior patterns we’re trying to shift.

And if we don’t clear up the gunk around why we neglected ourselves in the first place, then healthy won’t stick. Those new healthy behaviors that you want to become second-nature will continue to be an uphill battle and will feel that way.

And when your will-power runs out, the lifestyle stops. And all the work you’ve accomplished goes right back down the drain and the family sees first-hand that Mom was just on another kick.

That’s no fun!

The reasons why women neglect self-care are as complex as we lovely jewels are ourselves, but the most common one goes as follows:

Family First!!!iStock_000010562074XSmall

My kids are my life! Ever since they were born, I’ve been in “survival mode” and kids come first. Their needs before all of mine. That’s what mothers do. If I do something for me I feel like I am neglecting or taking something away – whether time, energy, or resources – from them.

But I’m so tired! I’m getting irritable. I haven’t felt like myself in a long, long time. I snap when I don’t mean it, burst into tears for no reason, and run around in circles feeling frazzled and spread out.

Five minutes alone in the bathroom feels like heaven, but it rarely happens.

I just want to be the best mom I can be. And I don’t want them to pick up my “craziness.” 

But we are busy, busy, busy, and the show must go on. Is it really possible for me to feel better, energized, and strong without having to choose between living a healthy supportive lifestyle and my family? Help!

 

While survival is important in the first few months of a child’s life, continuing the cycle after 6, 12, and 24 months quickly transform Loving Lucy into Livid Lucy, with no one the wiser as to, “What’s wrong with mom?” 

And while I know deep down that all my moms are sincere with their sacrifice, it’s important to re-frame this common scenario and see the reality that…

Neglecting self-care during these pivotal years in a child’s life is selfishness, not service. 

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The first 5 years of a child’s life are formative in their personality, ideologies, attitudes, and attachment. They are more important than any “schooling” they will get later on because, if they are like most people, everything they do is based on what they learn from you – mom – about how to approach life, respond to challenges, talk and listen to people, care for themselves and those around them, love, confront, and bounce back.

You make sure your children have and do everything necessary to be their best, but somehow feel like this doesn’t apply to you too. Or that you’ll do it proverbially… later.

They need you at your best as often as possible, not the leftovers. Not barely hanging on. Not losing it. 

So it is really selfish to deprive your family of the best you. Because while it may be easy, familiar, and comfortable to continue in the same patterns and routines, it’s not really investing in your children long-term or helping grow your most intimate relationship with your spouse. 

And children – being the little sponges they are – absorb the worst of you instead of the best. 

Psychologists may even call this a bit of codependency. Codependency is being controlled by the needs of others, in this case children and/or spouse, and often put  their own wants and needs aside to ensure the “needs” of family are met (1).  Check out this  cheat sheet of common symptoms associated with codependency.

 

Before any irate reactions, understand that I am not saying, do not put your children before yourself. I know you’d jump in front of a car for them in a heartbeat. I am saying…

  • Because your children are number one, it is VITAL that you care for yourself and be the absolute best version of yourself for them possible. 
  • Because your children are number one, it is vital that you model what a healthy marriage, home, body, and mom is like. 
  • Because your children are number one, it is necessary to learn that a relationship goes two ways, give and take, and how to work that out in a real-life setting 
  • Because your children are number one, they need to learn and practice healthy boundaries, how to navigate life’s challenges, and how to respond to curveballs, not cut corners, neglect and deprive for convenience, and choose immediate gratification over long-term higher quality of life. 

And this is how my clients stand out from the crowd. They get this. They understand everything is connected. And together, we create a vibrantly healthy lifestyle that works IN their busy hectic schedule without compromise.

Because I’m passionate about families, I felt compelled to share this with you today because as my friend Lee says, “You don’t want to make those decisions in a crisis.” 

Waiting until the snapping point isn’t too late, but it’s too long.

Today is your day to step into the best version of you possible. Today is your day to nourish you, even in some simple small way. Today is your time to decide that leftovers aren’t good enough.

So step up, Amazingly Awesome Mom! I salute you!

 

Get Started!

  1. What is one thing you aren’t doing now that you know would improve your energy and mood? 
  2. Write down all the ways the most important people in your life benefit from you doing that one thing.
  3. Seek their support in brainstorming ways that you can get it in ASAP! Whether it’s hiring a sitter for an hour, older kids helping for an hour, etc. Empower your family to help you like you help them! 🙂

 

What does the best version of you look like? What is the best version you can imagine? What does she look like? What activities is she involved in? How does she feel? I’m calling you to be bold today and declare your vision for the best version of you. By imagining it, you are strides closer to realizing it!

Leave a comment in the section below sharing your vision of the best you AND one healthy thing you love that you know would make a difference in your life if you got/did more of it!

 

 

To get even more clear on the best you and the path to get there this year, I’ve still got a couple of openings for the free “Double Your Energy” Breakthrough Session (for a limited time only)! Women have LOVED how helpful it is to uncover what they really want, what’s really stopping them, and the clear path to get there, step by step. Click here to schedule your session while they last!

 

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Gerilyn Burnett helps women achieve the body, energy, and impact they desire by implementing healthy lifestyles they love! She specializes in helping Christian women cultivate health to the glory of God. Her own journey from miserable, fat, stuck, and tired to fit, confident, vibrant, and delicious make her uniquely suited for this mission! She has a knack for creating contagious healthy experiences and providing the needed support and accountability that turn diets into lifestyles and dreams into realities. Get started on your journey to vibrant vitality for life here

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