I’m really excited to be talking about a topic that might make some of you raise an eyebrow – the idea of being selfish.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “Selfish? Isn’t that a word we were told to avoid, like the plague?  Isn’t being selfish a bad thing, especially for mothers?” 

In this episode, I’m not talking about the kind of selfishness that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Instead, I’m exploring a concept that might just revolutionize the way you approach your daily life, your family, and, most importantly, yourself.

You see, many of us were brought up by wonderful people who instilled in us the value of not being selfish. We learned about the importance of considering others, being kind, sharing, and being selfless. 

And honestly, those are fantastic lessons that helped build our character.

But here’s the thing: sometimes, in our quest to be the best moms, partners, and professionals, we’ve taken this virtuous quality to an extreme. We’ve unintentionally turned it against ourselves, creating problems and neglecting a crucial aspect of our well-being. 

So, today, I want to have an open and honest conversation about selfishness and how, when approached in a healthy way, it can actually be a game-changer for working moms.

According to the Oxford dictionary, being selfish means lacking consideration for others and being primarily concerned with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Sounds a bit harsh, right? 

But here’s something you might not have considered: asking yourself whether you’re being selfish means you’re probably not.

Are you confused? Don’t be. The key lies in that first part of the definition – lacking consideration for others. When you pause to question whether your actions might impact those around you, you’re already demonstrating consideration. 

The issue we typically have with the idea of being selfish is that we often associate selfishness with negative behaviors, things that can be harmful to others. But what if there’s a middle ground? 

What if taking care of yourself, even if it means others might not get exactly what they want, isn’t selfishness but a form of self-care? 

I want you to brace yourself because today, we’re going to challenge some preconceived notions about being selfish.  Try to keep an open mind because this might push up against some of your firmly held beliefs, and that’s okay.

It’s good to shake things up every once in a while.

This week I’m going to discuss the stigma around selfishness, self-care versus selfishness, and practicing healthy selfishness.


The stigma around selfishness


We all grew up hearing about how being selfish is a big no-no. Our parents, teachers, and even church leaders emphasized the importance of not being selfish. 

But here’s the thing I want us all to consider – have we taken this advice a bit too seriously? Have we internalized it to the point where we use it against ourselves? It’s something worth considering.  

The truth is that the word “selfish” often comes with a warning sign in our minds. We immediately think, “Uh-oh, I better not be selfish.” And I’m not saying that’s wrong. It’s good to think beyond ourselves.

What I want to talk about today is the idea that, in our efforts to be selfless supermoms, we might be unintentionally causing a few problems for ourselves.  If you think about it, it’s like we’ve turned being unselfish into a superpower.

As I shared before, if you ever find yourself asking, “Am I being selfish?”—just by virtue of asking that question, you’re not being selfish.

Here’s why – true selfishness is about not thinking about others. It’s about doing things that might even harm others, not caring about their feelings or needs. 

So, asking yourself if you’re being selfish means you’re already considering others. You’re in the clear.

It’s like when you’re on a plane, and they tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others. You’re not being selfish; you’re ensuring you’re in a good place to assist others. 

I think we all need to rethink this whole selfishness thing, peel back the layers, and find that sweet spot where self-care meets consideration for others.  We need to consider the power of healthy selfishness.


Self-care versus selfishness  


Now let’s dig deeper into self-care and distinguish it from the kind of “selfishness” that might give us a pause. I want to talk about finding that sweet spot between taking care of yourself and ensuring you’re there for your family – a delicate balance many of us working moms can relate to.

We all know the term self-care.  It’s like tending to your own garden before helping others with theirs. 

Imagine that your well-being is the soil, and your responsibilities are the plants. To have a thriving garden, you need to make sure the soil is nourished and healthy. That’s self-care in a nutshell.

On the other hand, harmful selfishness is like trying to grab all the umbrellas when it starts raining, leaving everyone else soaked. It’s when personal gain becomes the sole focus, neglecting the needs of those around us.

As I’ve said many times on this podcast, self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It’s not just about fancy spa days (although those are wonderful). 

It’s about the everyday rituals that keep you grounded and ready for the challenges that come your way. Something as simple as taking a few deep breaths or having a quiet cup of tea can be powerful acts of self-care.

So if we know how important self-care is, why don’t we practice more of it?  Because of the feeling of guilt.  As I’ve shared on the podcast, our feelings drive our actions, and the feeling of guilt never drives actions of self-care.

Based on what we’ve been taught to believe about what a good woman and mother is supposed to do, our brain tells us that taking time for ourselves is wrong. Think about it – when we have nagging thoughts like, “I can’t take time for myself,” it’s no wonder we feel guilt.

That’s why it’s important to rewrite the story we have in our minds and understand that taking care of ourselves and being more selfish is not a betrayal; it’s a strategic move for the greater good. 

When my children were younger, I had to learn that there was no way I could be at my best, at work or at home, if I didn’t give myself what I needed.  I might have shared this already on the podcast, but I used to tell my kids I was going in time out when I would want to relax in my bedroom alone.

They would laugh and ask what I did that I was in trouble and going to time out, but I had to learn how to give myself permission to do what I needed to do.  I wasn’t doing them or myself any favors by seeing self-care as selfish.  

Taking care of myself ensured that I could take care of everything else that was on my plate, including my job.  I could see that the more self-care I practiced, the better and happier I was at work as well.

Think about it – when you prioritize your well-being, you bring your A-game to every aspect of your life. Your family gets the best version of you, and your work gets the focus it deserves as well.

It’s not selfish; it’s a smart play that benefits everyone.


Practicing healthy selfishness


Healthy selfishness is a concept that encourages us to prioritize our well-being without feeling guilty or self-indulgent. It involves making intentional choices that support mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, recognizing that taking care of ourselves is not a luxury but a necessity. 

By embracing healthy selfishness, we can enhance our overall quality of life and, paradoxically, become more available and effective in our roles as mothers, partners, and professionals.

Here are actions you can take to practice healthy selfishness:

Set Boundaries: Clearly define your personal limits and communicate them to others. Learn to say “no” when necessary, ensuring you have time and energy for self-care. Practicing healthy selfishness starts with learning how to set and stick to boundaries.

Schedule “Me Time”:  Block out time in your schedule dedicated solely to activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Treat this time as non-negotiable.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time if you don’t have it, but you have to put it on your calendar and follow through.

Prioritize Sleep: Recognize the importance of sufficient sleep for your physical and mental well-being. Establish a bedtime routine that promotes restful sleep.  I go to bed early because I get up early and I know that the only way I can stay healthy physically and mentally is to prioritize sleep.

Self-Reflection: Regularly reflect on your own needs and emotions. Understand what brings you fulfillment and take steps to incorporate those elements into your life.  Instead of always asking what everyone else needs, ask yourself once a week what you need.

Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Acknowledge that self-love is not selfish and embrace self-compassion as an essential part of well-being.  You aren’t doing anything wrong in starting to incorporate healthy selfishness.

Engage in Hobbies: Dedicate time to activities you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s reading, painting, or gardening, engaging in hobbies nurtures your passions.  Allowing yourself to do something creative when you’ve been focused on numbers all day is a great form of self-care.

Delegate Responsibilities: Recognize that it’s okay to delegate tasks. Share responsibilities with family members or colleagues, lightening your load and allowing you time for self-care.  Make sure everyone knows what it takes to run a household and get everyone involved.

Learn to Say “Yes” to Yourself: Instead of always saying “yes” to others, start saying “yes” to yourself. Prioritize your needs without feeling guilty about taking time for self-improvement or enjoyment.  Whenever you want to talk yourself out of doing something for yourself, imagine me giving you a permission slip to say yes to yourself. 

Invest in Personal Development: Allocate resources, whether time or money, for personal development. This could include attending workshops, taking online courses, or investing in books that contribute to your growth.  My favorite investment is in coaching because it has literally changed my life, professionally and personally.

Engage in Physical Activity: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Physical activity not only benefits your health but also serves as a powerful form of self-care.  Even if it’s just a walk after dinner, give yourself the gift of that time.

Establish Healthy Eating Habits: Nourish your body with nutritious and satisfying meals. Pay attention to your dietary needs, ensuring you have the energy to navigate daily challenges.  You cannot do what you do if you’re not fueling yourself with the best food possible. 

Seek Support:  Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professionals. Having a support system can provide encouragement and assistance when needed.  Whether it’s a mentor or a coach, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Practice Mindfulness: Integrate mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Whether through meditation or simply being present in the moment, mindfulness contributes to emotional well-being.  I love the app Calm because I can listen to a 5-minute guided meditation at any time throughout the day.

Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, big or small. Recognizing your successes boosts confidence and reinforces the importance of self-appreciation.  While we’re always celebrating anything that our kids do, we need to celebrate ourselves as well.

Now I want to share some examples to illustrate healthy selfishness in action:

Scheduled Self-Care Breaks:

Before: You might have felt guilty or selfish for taking breaks during the day, thinking you should be constantly focused on work or family responsibilities.

After: Embracing healthy selfishness, you schedule short breaks for activities that recharge you, like taking a walk, practicing deep breathing, or enjoying a cup of tea. This intentional pause allows you to return to your tasks with increased focus and energy.

Prioritizing Sleep:

Before: Sacrificing sleep to catch up on chores or personal time might be a common practice, leading to fatigue and decreased overall well-being.

After: Recognizing the importance of rest as an essential aspect of self-care, you establish a bedtime routine, prioritizing a good night’s sleep. Improved sleep quality contributes to better mood, cognitive function, and overall health.

Setting Boundaries:

Before: Saying “no” to additional tasks or commitments might feel impossible, leading to overwhelm and burnout.

After: Healthy selfishness empowers you to set boundaries by politely declining activities that don’t align with your priorities. This allows you to focus on what truly matters and ensures you have the time and energy for yourself and your family.

Practicing Self-Compassion:

Before: Negative self-talk and self-criticism might be the norm, creating a cycle of low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.

After: Embracing healthy selfishness involves practicing self-compassion. This is where you learn to treat yourself with kindness, understanding that self-love is not selfish. This shift in mindset fosters confidence, resilience, and a healthier self-image.

These examples showcase that healthy selfishness is not about neglecting others or being self-centered. Instead, it’s about recognizing the interconnectedness of your well-being with the well-being of those around you. 

Hopefully, you can see that by taking intentional steps towards healthy selfishness and self-care, you can cultivate a positive and sustainable lifestyle that benefits both yourself and your family.




The issue we typically have with the idea of being selfish is that we often associate selfishness with negative behaviors, things that can be harmful to others. But what if there’s a middle ground?

Healthy selfishness is a concept that encourages us to prioritize our well-being without feeling guilty or self-indulgent.