the mommy guilt myth

Insomnia is the worst, isn’t it? I remember this one night it wrecked me about 10 years ago.

It was 4am and I had yet to close my eyes. I lay there inside a cozy tin roof bungalow on the edge of a Costa Rican beach and was tormented because sleep just wasn’t happening.

The next day was my 40th birthday and I should have been soaking up the paradise, the sounds of the waves, and feeling all this gratitude, right?


I felt only two things.

First, loads of mommy guilt.

I had left my 3 little kids in NYC to go on a yoga retreat. I felt guilty about getting on a plane to take a few days away from it all that I almost called child services on myself.

The other feeling was just as strong, but completely opposite:

I loved that I was doing something for me! I felt free! What had happened to me??

For years I had worked constantly, while raising twin girls and a baby boy. I felt like I had everything, and I did. I wasn’t unhappy, I was just stuck.

I woke up and met their needs, I went to work and met work’s needs, and then I came home and met even more needs.

So that night I started wondering, what happened to all that stuff I used to love?

I used to work out! I used to read books! I used to take showers longer than 27 seconds!

I was fighting hard against those two feelings in that Costa Rican bed, pulling me in two completely different directions.

-I’m a bad mom who chooses herself over work and kids, and flies to a yoga and surfing retreat.


-I’m a kickass chick who feels in shape, confident and walks around smiling (and knows the kids are FINE).

Which feeling sounds less stressful?

I decided to choose the second one, got out of bed at 4am, and started writing. I scratched out about 15 things I wanted to do for me before I kicked the bucket.

Some people buy a Porsche, or wear those fancy spandex bike clothes and cycle all day long.

In my personal mid-life crisis, I decided to make a promise to myself. I would go home and start checking off my frenzied bucket list of dreams because all of a sudden I felt the passing of each day…and it was all moving a little too quickly.

I didn’t want to stop working so hard in my business or take an ounce away from my kids and all things mom. I loved it. I wanted both. In fact, becoming a mother and starting a business were all I ever wanted! I was comfortable.

I just didn’t want work and motherhood to be at the expense of what brought me joy. Those “just for no reason” activities that make you happy, you know?

My “comfortable rut” was getting uncomfortable.

I wanted to play more and live more and do the things that I loved for me, too.

I flew home a few days later and began checking things off that bucket list, one at a time, slowly but surely, each time feeling a surge that said “Oh hell yeah, there I am! That was fun!!”

And you know what’s crazy? Each time I accomplished some big dream for myself – like a half marathon or a mountain climb – my kids were happy for me.

They got happy when I was happy. Then parenting became easier, lighter, more fun.

What’s more…I felt even more (not less!) connected to them!!

It happened with work too. I got more focused and wasted less time. I had fewer water cooler moments of course, but I had more yoga, more time to travel and more time with friends.

Totally worth it.

Remember my email from last week? I wrote how your kids watch what you do more than they listen to what you say.

I promise it’s true!!

Show them you love yourself, and they will feel the love and love themselves too.

Show them you prioritize your health and body and mind…and they will too.

You do not have to keep giving and giving and giving, and then get resentful at the not getting…or let your mommy guilt win.

And if you don’t have your bucket list, you don’t have to fly to Costa Rica to find 20 minutes of reflection.

Stop reading this email, and do it now!

Write down your dreams. See them in front of you.

Then go make them happen.

With fierce love,
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