This is the essence of the conflict many women bring to my First-Time Moms over Forty support groups. They ask: “How can I reconcile the time I need for myself with the endless responsibilities (and joys) of motherhood?”
Up until now, older first-time mothers have been offered little guidance in resolving this clash of needs and were left feeling guilty, confused, and privately ashamed. This chapter is designed to help you successfully resolve this conflict. There is nothing more reassuring than hearing the voices of other older mothers who, like you, adore their children at the same time they struggle to honor their own midlife imperatives. The suggestions are specifically geared toward helping you claim guilt-free time for yourself by learning to identify and accept your ambivalence, setting healthy limits, scaling back expectations as a way of coping with fatigue, and putting yourself on the list of people you regularly nurture. These suggestions never assume that you have more time for yourself than you really do, nor do they underestimate how daunting the clash of needs can be. Like the emergency instructions on an airplane, you’ll be shown how to secure your own oxygen mask first, so that you’ll then be able to help those who need your time, attention, patience, and love.
Read more of this five-part series from Hot Flashes, Warm Bottles: Accepting your ambivalence.