It’s Selfish To Neglect Your Needs As A Mom

It’s 10:25 pm and I have a headache. I haven’t slept well in days (make that weeks), and I have a sink full of dishes. I was planning to post before 3pm, too. I could write, and do chores, but, you know what? I’m going to relax, and watch a movie until I fall asleep.  I need it. My family needs it. I’d be selfish to deny myself of what I need right now.

As much as I would like to “be special” and not need anything or anybody, I have needs, because moms have needs, too. All human moms do. I can’t really speak for the robot types. LOL

Everyone around me has needs and wants me to meet them, and even though we get good at neglecting our needs, we come to the occasional epiphany of “hey, what about my needs as a mom? I got’em, too, you know!”

I’ve talked about this and you know I think that getting your needs met isn’t selfish; however, today I’ll take it up a notch: It’s selfish to neglect your needs as a mom.

It's selfish to neglect your needs as a mom. Are you a SELFISH MOM?

I know this is quite a statement to make, but listen for a few minutes. We don’t mean to be selfish as we do want to do what is best for our kids. It’s just that we get lost trying to help, protect, and care for our children, when they can benefit far more from having an empowered mom who lives true to who she is and, as a result, is happy, confident, and fulfilled.

Taking care of your needs deliberately makes you a better, more conscious, more intentional mom. I say deliberately because, the truth is that you always get your needs met. I always get my needs met. Everyone always gets their needs met… one way or another.

The healthy way to get your needs met is by asking. I have given you the formula to asking for what you need in another post, but here’s the easy summary:

  1. Genuine compliment
  2. Request
  3. Genuine appreciation

When we ask for what we need, we feel better about ourselves, and we can know for certain where the other person stands: they will either negotiate with you, give you what you need, or tell you “no way.”  Either way, this allows you to make an empowering decision.

And, I get it, it is the idea of getting a “NO” that feels frightening. We are vulnerable when we ask for what we need, because it may lead to rejection. Vulnerability, as it turns out, is the price of love, joy, success, and pretty much everything that makes us feel significant.

Now, you may be thinking, how on earth can I get my needs met if I don’t ever ask? Or, if I get my needs met no matter what, why does it feel like I’m not? I’ve asked these very questions, because many times in my life, I felt as if I didn’t have what I needed. And as a mom, life gets so hectic that I sometimes am amazed that I had time to breathe.

The truth is, you have needs too, and they are as important as everyone else’s in the family.  A need is something that is required to happiness and well-being.

It’s your duty to examine what those needs are, find healthy ways to meet those needs, and spell the needs out (even organize how) when you expect those needs to be met through other people.  You’re in charge of your own self-care.

When we don’t ask directly, we unconsciously get our needs met in other ways, unhealthy ways that hinder our connection to God, to ourselves, and to the other members of the family. That’s why I say it is selfish to not get your needs met, because you always will get them met, however, the outcome will be different depending how.

When we are not upfront, we tend to use manipulation to get our needs met. For example:

  1. Self-sacrificing
  2. Doing favors
  3. Saying yes when we want to say no
  4. Lying and/or making false promises
  5. Flattering others insincerely
  6. Making yourself out to be “the victim” or “martyr”
  7. Being a chameleon
  8. Infusing guilt
  9. Dropping hints
  10. Intimidating
  11. Using emotional punishment (or withholding)
  12. Gossiping and/or complaining

Have you engaged in any of these? You don’t have to answer that to me, but do ponder and examine so you can gain that awareness. I certainly have checked each of these boxes at one time or another.

I like the way Dr. Phil says it:

“The word “need” is not a synonym for weakness. Rest assured that the fact that you have needs, and that you must rely on another person to meet them, is a good and healthy thing.”

The reason we manipulate, complain, or otherwise hide our authentic self is usually because we adopted a limiting belief that invalidates or mocks that need. You may think a certain need is “childish,” or “not important enough,” or “embarrassing.” That’s inner-bully thinking! The fact is: they are just needs (no label required) and needs must be met.

Our only choice is to meet our needs; however, we do choose whether to be upfront, direct, and straightforward about them, or to be evasive, vague, and roundabout in our ways.

The second way is selfish because it places an unfair expectation for our family to read our mind or guess what our deepest needs are. It also sets us up for feelings like: frustration, resentment, anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.

If you don’t effectively meet your needs, you really can’t meet the ones of others, namely your partner or/and your kids. You would be selfish to withhold your best self from your family because of fear or pride. You cannot give what you don’t have!

To avoid being a selfish mom, I encourage you to do the following courageous exercises:

  1. Get real about your specific needs and passions: identify and uncover each one of them
  2. Communicate those needs with the people in your life
  3. Be proactive in getting those needs met so you can be your best self

When you get your needs met, you benefit your family incredibly because you lead by example:

It’s selfish to not get your needs met in a direct, intentional, healthy way. It is in your family’s best interest that you get in touch with your needs, communicate them, and go for them.  When mama ain’t happy… you know the drill.

Do you have a need that took you a while to admit? Are you one of the brave ones who always gets her needs met, and if so, how do you do it? I really want to hear your thoughts about my words, too!  Love and blessings! xo

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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54 thoughts on “It’s Selfish To Neglect Your Needs As A Mom

  1. Very well written piece! My need is I need to have at least 1/2 hour a day to myself outside of the home w/o kids or hubby. I need that “me” time.

  2. Yes, it is selfish to neglect your needs as a mom. You should take care of yourself first before you can take of your family.

  3. So easier said than done for me. I have tried being honest and saying what I feel but there are times when you are misinterpreted because the way you tell them isn’t really what you mean. Being honest takes a lot more than telling what you feel.

  4. My needs are pretty specific and my husband (usually) respects them. I need a little alone time every day to myself just to keep my sanity. Some days I get more, some days less.

  5. I agree. We give too much of ourselves that we often forget about what we need. For me, this is quite important so as you won’t lose yourself in the process of providing for your family.

  6. My mom always told me, “leave a little bit of you for yourself.” She wants me to have some quiet moments for myself too. Motherhood is a stressful job and we must learn to love ourselves to be able to love others more.

  7. This post is timely for me. I don’t have kids but I have cats. And one of them recently had very serious medical issues. I really put all my needs aside to take care of him. And this past week I realized this is not sustainable. I will have to take care of myself too. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. This is a great post and it is so true that we are selfish to our self when we don’t say what we need. It took me years to admit to anyone that I just wanted to be appreciated for what I was doing for everyone. It does feel better just to say it instead of doing the other things. Thanks for sharing.

  9. It is so important for Mom’s to take care of themselves. We can not be the best Mom we need to be if we neglect ourselves.

  10. It has taken a while but I have finally started taking care of my needs. I have a child with some sever special needs and a lot of attention.
    It’s hard to get to take care of her while I’m feeling burnt out and overwhilmed.
    so I take a hour or so after my husband get’s settled in from work and I say tag your it.

  11. I am not afraid to get some of my needs met. For instance, I have always been determined to work and have everyone around me work for what they want as well.

  12. It took me a long time to admit that I needed me time. It wasn’t until I realized that in order to be the best mommy I could be, I needed to be my best self and to do that, I needed some time to myself to think and relax alone.

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  23. I agree with you, it is selfish because it turns us unhappy and we tend to react in negative ways to unconsciously “reclaim” that need

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