Get Over the Guilt :: Fill Your Own Cup First

mother standing in the kitchen working on a laptop while holding an infant in a baby carrierAs women, we tend to be natural caretakers. As mothers, we tend to be supernatural caretakers. We pride ourselves on being selfless when it comes to caring for our families, but, like pride, this selflessness can become an evil that infiltrates our lives.

We are constantly fed the narrative that moms can do anything and everything. And our egos swell anytime we can casually brag about how together we have it in an Instagram post.

Moms, it is time to humble ourselves.

Every responsibility we take on (and go above and beyond for) takes something away from us. We are constantly pouring into others. But we all know you can’t pour from an empty cup.

What Does Self-Care Mean to You?

This concept of filling up your own cup can be difficult for moms, especially with little ones constantly shoving their cups in your face. But we have to think of prioritizing ourselves as a safety standard.

>> RELATED READ :: Here’s Why You Don’t Have to Be Enough for Your Kids <<

If you have ever flown, you have sat through the spiel of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others. We all have others in our households and communities who depend on our assistance. We owe it to them to make sure our oxygen is flowing.

tired woman smiling in bed with covers pulled up to her chin

Instead of creating a list of ideas for indulging in self-care, I think the most important thing is for moms to accept the significance of taking care of themselves and to affirm what self-care is to them.

Here Comes the Guilt

The guilt I feel when I prioritize taking care of myself started when I was expecting my first child. I was just so tired. If I gave in to my exhaustion and took a nap, I felt embarrassed about being lazy instead of recognizing that my body was forming an entire human life. My body needed rest.

I still feel that same inner embarrassment when my kids go down for the night. Instead of tackling my running to-do list, I spend my free time curled up on the couch, indulging in mindless reality tv.


While it would be nice to get regularly pampered at the spa or have a weekend getaway, time and finances don’t always allow for those excursions. Not to mention preparing to leave town is sometimes more work than it is worth for a mom.

>> RELATED READ :: 5 Reasons Why I’m Rejecting the Idea of “Guilty Pleasures” <<

We’ve Got to Let It Go

Instead of longing for our ideal of self-care opportunities, fill your cup by giving yourself permission to not feel guilty. It is okay to serve frozen chicken nuggets for dinner multiple nights in a row and use that dinner prep time you save to take a mental break, whatever that may look like for you.

We need to weed out all the outside factors we are constantly flooded with and say no to things without the guilt, affirming that choice as self-care.

If scrolling your phone when you should be packing lunches fills your cup, go for it! If you need to limit your child’s after-school clubs and activities so you can have an evening for yoga class, do it! That ultimately makes you a better mom. What doesn’t make you a better mom is letting your cup run dry. Fill it up first so you can do what moms do best and take care of the ones you love.

>> RELATED READ :: Redefining Self-Care :: One Mama’s Journey to Healthier Habits <<
Molly is a Fort Worth native who called the TCU neighborhood home for the first 26 years of her life. She is a proud horned frog with a degree in studio art. She began her career as an art teacher with the FWISD before moving to New Mexico after marrying her husband, Taylor, a sixth generation rancher and TCU graduate. Molly was widowed in February 2020 and writes about grief and how her faith has carried her through tragic loss on her blog, God-Given Gumption, as well as on her Instagram page. Molly is rearing their two girls, Margot (5) and Charlotte (2), on the family cattle ranch in southeastern New Mexico, where she continues to work as an art teacher. She loves spending time with her friends and family and is thankful for the flexibility to travel home to Fort Worth as much as possible.


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