Unpopular Opinion :: Women Have Ample Encouragement to Take Care of Themselves


Unpopular opinions are just that . . . opinions. They are ideas that contradict the status quo. And this week, ABQ Moms Blog has a few unpopular opinions that we need to get off our chest. And we want to know if you agree or disagree and WHY. Do you have any unpopular opinions? We wanna know those too! 

Okay, here it comes: my unpopular opinion. I think women, especially young moms, are given plenty of encouragement and permission to take care of themselves.

It seems to be generally accepted that moms work really hard and need a break, and I hear this sentiment voiced all the time by friends, family, strangers, and society at large. Daily, I see memes, Instagram posts, and other friendly reminders that I shouldn’t “lose myself” as a mother. Rather, I should retain the hobbies and interests I had before being a mom.

Permission to Rest

This might not be everyone’s experience, but it has been my experience. I am a mom to three boys aged seven and under. When I tell strangers that I’m out on a kid-free errand or having a moms night out, they often respond with encouraging words like “Good for you!” From time to time, family members or friends will ask me, “How are you doing? Are you taking care of yourself?” Sometimes, a family member will even offer, “Why don’t I watch your kids so you can get out for a bit? Go get a coffee!” I’ve never heard someone ask my husband, “Are you taking care of yourself?” or “What have you done for yourself lately?”

Women Have Ample Encouragement and Permission to Take Care of Themselves by Albuquerque Moms Blog

Seemingly, people assume that I’m the self-sacrificial one. But my husband works just as hard as I do for this family.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve done some hard, selfless things. I’ve nursed babies in the wee hours of the night while my husband slept. For two years, I stayed in my home every day and turned down nearly every invitation I got in order to keep our medically fragile baby safe from illness. But guess who watched that baby virtually every second he wasn’t at work so I could get a break? My husband.

Men Need Rest Too

Like me, my husband has given up nearly all of his hobbies and leisure time because this phase of life just doesn’t have room for it. But people rarely pat him on the back and say, “You are doing a great job, dad! Why don’t you do something you enjoy today?”

Although I’ve never heard a man say “I’ve just lost myself as a father,” men also run the risk of burn out and exhaustion from giving so much to their jobs, families, churches, and communities.

Women Have Ample Encouragement and Permission to Take Care of Themselves by Albuquerque Moms Blog

It is not socially acceptable for men to say that they need a break or they are burnt out. Men are expected to soldier on. To keep working. To quit complaining. This concerns me as a mom to three sons. We all need rest and balance in our lives. Men can and should care about their mental health, too.

Self-Care is Good for Women and Men

To be clear, I think it’s wonderful that people encourage moms to take care of themselves. Motherhood is hard and requires constant sacrifice. I’m so happy when moms are acknowledged for their hard work, and I’m thankful for the kind words and support that have allowed me to take care of myself without feeling guilty. But I think men deserve that same support.

So, there it is. I said it. (Actually, I typed it). I think women have far more encouragement than men to engage in self-care. There are a lot of men working just as hard as their wives to keep their household running and meet all the obligations of their busy lives. Who’s telling them to take care of themselves? Well, I am!

Take care of yourself, dads. Your job is really hard too.

Originally published November 2019

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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