Mums, what are we like! We lovingly chop up fresh fruit, stir nutritious porridge and pour chilled organic milk out for our children’s breakfast. Then serve ourselves burnt toast and cold coffee, eaten (if at all!) on the run!
We are all too often at the bottom of the list when it comes to ‘me time’. And although we are more aware than ever of the importance of self care… topping up your own reserves, so you have the energy to support others…the idea of a candlelit bubble bath or making time for a massage, can stand in opposition to the daily demands of family life.
So what about self investment? Spending time and/or money on yourself to further your personal and professional aspirations.
Being in the business of delivering training and 1:1 careers support to mums, I can tell you that on the whole women find it incredibly difficult to justify spending any resources on themselves. I mean…any! Even when it’s offered for free, even if the investment could lead to greater clarity around their career, an increased likelihood of getting their dream job or promotion, and significantly increasing their salary.
In no other area of life would we expect to invest nothing and see a return. But we put these unrealistic expectations on ourselves. And most of the time we feel we fail! But that’s because the situation is set up for failure.
I hear all of the reasons why self investment is not possible and I understand them, I honestly do. I’m a time poor, cash poor mum of two small children and I too am still in the trenches. But I do think it’s curious the excuses we make for not investing in ourselves.
There seems to be a level of shame and guilt in making time to develop ourselves that goes beyond the time and money argument.
Also, all too often we seem able to find the time and resources to invest in things like mummy and me classes – which, don’t get me wrong, I’m a real fan of. Yet we squirm at the idea of doing something solely for ourselves.
We’ve built up a narrative which celebrates self sacrifice (a badge that can be worn it seems, with honour) and vilifies personal investment.
But what message does this give out to others: our children, our partners and society in general. Boiled down to the nub of it, the subconscious message goes something like this:
‘Yes I’m a person with skills, dreams and aspirations but I have to forgo these because I’m a mum and not worthy of investment’
A message that is damaging to you, your professional future and…oh my goodness! what we are subconsciously telling our children (especially our girls) about self worth.
If you completely disagree with these points then perhaps you feel you’ve either reached your personal potential or you are already unashamedly investing in you! In either of these circumstances ‘I salute you, you wonderful women’.
But I know from the many conversations I have with mums these points ring true.
So where are you on the self sacrifice scale? Do you unapologetically invest in yourself or are you delivering the ‘because I’m not worth it’s message?
Could it be worthwhile to take just a moment (in the shower or on those rare occasions where you can go to the toilet alone) to ask yourself this question. You might even be surprised at the answer!