Self-care is important, but I feel guilty

I’m a single mother of two. The youngest is six, and the oldest is ten. Their dad left about four years ago, and we have been handling things pretty well without him. Except for the fact that I get so focused on the kids and on work that I don’t take care of myself enough.

My situation

I live in a small apartment right around the corner from my parents’ house. They help with my rent, and I make some extra money to support the house. Overall, it’s a good and stable system. But it’s also draining.

Three major things drain my energy more than anything else.

Thing number one is my kids. Raising two healthy young boys on my own is a lot of work. Especially when said boys like to run indoors and will try to do so whenever I’m not looking (and sometimes even when I am looking). Little rascals, they are lucky I love them so much.

Thing number two is the arguments I often have with my parents. They are wonderful grandparents and have been doing wonders for me and the kids. But they are also noisy, demanding, and just overall draining. Our worldviews don’t align at all.

Finally, thing number three is my work, which is also very draining. I work from home selling homemade jewelry, so it’s hardly back-breaking work. But it is work without an upper limit, which is a problem for this worried mother.

I work too hard

How could I not work hard? I have two kids and my savings account is non-existent. What if there is an emergency? Thinking about that makes it very hard to contemplate rejecting an order just because it’s too big. I’d rather pull a few all-nighters and complete the order instead.

The results of living like that were, of course, problematic. I spend two months working hard all day and barely sleeping at all. I gave my children all the time and love I could, but as soon as they left for school or went to sleep, I got straight back to work.

I started snacking as I worked too, which was a horrible idea. My wake-up call came when I went to a regular doctor’s appointment and he found my blood sugar was at pre-diabetic levels. Stress and unhealthy food is a horrible combination.

After that, I started changing everything and looking into self-development tips. This post on was one of the first I found. My research helped me see that I needed to be more careful with myself and my health. That I needed to see self-care as a duty, not a privilege.

It’s so hard, though

I reduced my own workload. I also started meditating and going to the gym. However, even though I know doing all this is good for me, I can’t help but feel guilty about it.

It doesn’t feel right to be wasting time meditating when I could be making money to provide for my family.

Logically I know there are good reasons to take care of myself. That my kids would rather see me healthy than be wealthy, and that if I get seriously sick that will have a horrible impact on them.

But that doesn’t change my feelings of inadequacy. At least not yet. I’m hoping I’ll feel better in time. And for all the other mothers feeling guilty out there, I wrote this so you know you are not alone. Please, take care of yourself too.

Our kids need us healthy.

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