I don’t ask my husband for permission. Yet we are happily married for over a decade. And I tell all of my friends the same thing – don’t ask for permission in your marriage. Seems odd, right? Well, let me explain.
I don’t ask my husband for permission to do things that light my soul on fire. Does this mean sometimes he is responsible for watching the kids while I go pursue my dreams outside of the home? Yep. Does this mean he has to sacrifice sleep sometimes to help me out? Yep. And does this mean he has to love all of my hobbies and dreams as much as I do? Nope. But he loves me. And more than love, he respects me as a woman. A woman that had an entire career and life for a decade before we even met.
But, let me be clear. It hasn’t always been this easy for me to make myself a priority. I remember early in our marriage I catered to him and in turn, lost me. For example, he would watch football all day, every Saturday, and I would clean, take care of the kids, cook meals, and fall into bed exhausted. In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to write a Children’s book or get in better shape. But I always felt guilty for taking “me time” to focus on those things. I knew he worked hard at the office all week, and I wanted him to relax on the weekends, so I gave him ample time to unwind. It was my way of showing love. I felt bad if I “dumped” parenting duty on him so I could go to the gym or the library for a few hours, for example. Keep in mind, he never made me feel guilty. I put that guilt on me! Probably because I grew up with a mother and grandmother that rarely took time for themselves. They put everyone else’s needs before their own. And SO MANY women are just like my mom, and just like I used to be. Spending every minute of the day making life easy for loved ones, yet rarely stepping back to refuel.
Then one day I woke up and said, why? Just that one word. Why? Why should I feel bad for wanting to make my body stronger or my mind sharper? And as soon as I truly asked myself the question, I had no choice but to answer it. I can still remember my conclusion. I should not feel guilty for pursing my dreams. The big ones and the small ones. Then I said it out loud. The forbidden words. I work too! And these are his kids to care for, just as much as they are mine!
As I started to process the conversation I was having with myself, I realized that I am not alone. So many women feel like they are responsible to do all the “traditional chores” associated with being a woman, on top of having a career – cooking, cleaning, caring for babies. And let’s be honest, once all that work is done, there is not a minute left in the day to seek creativity FOR YOU. And here’s what’s even worse – we also feel guilty if we ask for help, so therefore we just do it all, and many times, push our individual dreams and goals to the back burner. Sometimes, we just burn out all together.
But my hope is that you are reading this and waking up. Here are some important reminders to tattoo on your forehead. Or perhaps a journal would be a better place to write them.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALL.
- YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY ASK FOR HELP.
- YOU CANNOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL GUILTY FOR TAKING TIME FOR YOU. (THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU SELFISH.)
- IF RULE #3 SEEMS HARD TO APPLY – JUST ASK YOURSELF THIS, DOES ANY MAN EVER FEEL GUILTY FOR TAKING 4 HOURS TO PLAY GOLF OR WATCH A FOOTBALL GAME?
- IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A LONG LIFE AND BE PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY HAPPY – YOU HAVE TO DEDICATE TIME EACH WEEK FOR SELF CARE AND PURSING YOUR INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS. *** IT DOES’NT MEAN YOU LOVE YOUR SPOUSE ANY LESS. IT JUST MEANS YOU ALSO LOVE YOURSELF. ***
Keep in mind, your dream may not be as lofty as running for Congress or playing pro tennis (me neither!) … it may a goal to learn to paint or volunteer in your community. Your dream might be finding an hour to have lunch with your best friend each month or learning Spanish this fall. It doesn’t matter how big or how small your passion is. And when it comes to self care, that doesn’t mean you have to go drop 100 bucks at the spa. For me, self care is taking a long walk or sitting uninterrupted each morning to meditate.
My point is simple – it’s never too late to start. I had my epiphany once I turned 40. Then I made a point to have the conversation with my husband that I had already had with myself. I simply said, “I am not going to ask your permission, nor feel guilty, for doing one thing that brings me joy each day, outside of this home and family.” Most days that is a walk or dedicated writing time …. but some days that might look like a cat nap, or a much needed phone conversation with a college roommate. I told him during this 30-60 minute time period each day, he would be in charge of the kids and making sure the house didn’t burn down. And guess what – he has no problem allowing me time to charge my battery because he understands that makes me a happy. And when I am happy, I can be a better wife and mom. It’s really that simple. Yet also rather hard for so many women, especially those who have never made themselves a priority.
But here is the good news for any of you nervous to have this conversation with your spouse – it’s been over 2 years and the kids are all alive. The house is still standing. So I think we’re fine. And you will be too. It’s only an hour a day! My only regret – I wish I would have had the conversation earlier in our marriage.
If you would like to hear more about this topic: NOT ASKING FOR PERMISSION, you can hear an interview I did with a life coach … it’s a FREE ONLINE SHOW where a couple of dozen wise men and women from across the globe share their personal thoughts on finding joy and peace – personally and also professionally! Click here to GET YOUR FREE TICKET.
P.S. The online show lasts all month but starts TODAY (Monday), so click NOW TO SECURE YOUR TICKET TO LISTEN IN! I would love to see you all there!