Finding Balance: Dealing With Guilt

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This is the third in a series about how to find the balance between work, family and your own health and fitness goals. Click here to read the first blog entry in this series.

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about the subject of guilt. She was saying how she feels guilty about little things all the time--like using a paper towel (which gets thrown away) instead of a dish towel. My response was "Just wait until you have kids! Then the real guilt begins!"

When it comes to my family, I frequently feel guilty. I want to be the best mom I can possibly be--a good example for my kids, there whenever they need me, always patient in my responses to them. But that's just not reality because no one is perfect. There are days when my temper is a little shorter than it should be, or days when I only had time to read my daughter a few books instead of the huge stack she was asking for. So when I have these kinds of feelings on a regular basis, how can I possibly add to that by trying to make time for myself? How can I ask my husband--who works long hours and is tired at the end of the day--to watch the kids while I go for a run or spend some quiet time alone?

My husband is the first person to say, "Please take some time to do something for you." But there are so many times when I find it hard to take his advice. I think a lot of women feel this way. We see images in the media of the woman who can do it all--take care of their family, work a full-time job, put a gourmet dinner on the table every night, and do it all with a smile. Most days, I'm lucky I can get out the door without spit up on my shirt. I think it's so easy to get caught up in the ideals of how we "should" be, that many times, taking time for ourselves doesn't even factor into the equation.

I know the guilt is something I just need to get over. When my nerves are fried at the end of a hard day, going for a run helps clear my head, helps me feel better and makes me more patient and relaxed. And in the end, that makes me a better wife, mom, friend, etc. Everyone needs to take some "me" time, whether you've got an hour or just a few minutes to spare. Both your mental and physical health with thank you for it.

Do you feel guilty taking time for things like exercise? How do you deal with those feelings?