Inside: Do you think that self care for moms is unattainable? Self care for busy moms (AKA every mom) is possible, and more importantly, it’s necessary. You can’t care for your family and kids if you don’t first care for yourself. Learn how to fit a little “me time” into your day, even if you are a mom who sucks at self care.
I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at self care.
We as women have more responsibilities now than ever before. It’s not surprising that self care sometimes just doesn’t happen for moms.
Moms wear so many hats.
We are wives, sisters, aunts, daughter’s and friends. We are professionals in the workforce. We are the primary caretakers of our children.
And when you become a new mom, you not only need to learn how to care for your baby, but you also need to learn how to take care of yourself as a mom.
In my experience, I completely lost myself during the first year after the birth of both of my children.
Caring for a newborn is hard work. It’s physically and mentally exhausting, but it’s also exhilarating.
I dedicated all of my time to my babies. I nursed them, I talked, sang, played, and read to them, and rocked and bounced them to sleep.
And in my opinion, losing yourself (temporarily) after the birth of a child is okay *gasp*.
Oh you’re still there? Good.
It’s the maternal instinct. To care for our babies, to nurture them, to protect them.
“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to others.”
I used to struggle with handing my babies over to someone else. Even my husband. I still get anxious when I leave my kids (other than to go to work because that’s something that I have to do).
Dare I say it’s normal to lose yourself during that first year. And it’s okay.
What’s not okay is if you don’t get yourself back.
The Importance of Self Care for Mothers
Your motivation should come from the same little beings that took you away from yourself. Your kids.
It’s healthy for your kids to see that you have your own likes, dreams and desires. If you model self care to your kids, they will learn that their wants and needs are important too.
“You carry so much love in your heart, give some to yourself.”
And If I want to be here for my kids, I need to take care of myself first.
This is the biggest motivation for me. I lost my mom when I was very young. I will do anything to make sure that my children don’t go through what I went through. That includes taking care of myself.
Self Care for Moms 101
Where to start if you suck at self care
Realize that this is not something that will come easily. It will most likely be a journey. Figuring out how to balance motherhood and self will take time.
Think about the way that you feed your family.
If my kids want more fruits, vegetables, or my coveted shrimp, I give it to them.
If I burn a pancake while making breakfast, I’m the one who eats it.
I make sure they get the best of everything. I don’t do the same for myself. But becoming aware of this, and realizing that your health is just as important as theirs is the first step.
I’m not going to write down a list of self-care activities and ideas. You can find those lists everywhere.. And besides, you know yourself better than anyone else.
Self care is simply doing the things that make you happy.
“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”
1. Make a list of things you enjoyed doing before kids
Pick one activity from the list that you haven’t made time for, and make the time.
2. Start small
A lot of the time, self care as a mom evokes visions of massages and pedicures at the salon. That’s not what self care truly is (though an afternoon at the salon would be nice!)
Little things like taking a daily shower or bath as a mom can be revitalizing, but can also be majorly overlooked.
3. Workout at home
Getting moving and staying active is more important than ever because let’s face it mamas, we’re not getting any younger.
So if you find it too difficult to go to the gym (I know I do!), the great thing is that it’s never been easier to workout at home.
Find a workout app that works for you. Nike has a great one. The workouts are short and effective, I can access them instantly whenever my kids are occupied, and it’s free.
4. Get enough sleep
When I don’t get enough sleep, I can tell. I snap at my husband and get easily frustrated with my kids.
“Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity.”
Do what you can to get sufficient sleep. For me and my family that means cosleeping. It makes all of us happy.
5. Involve your kids
If what you miss doing can be done with your kids, then do it! Involve them in your hobbies and your life so that they can see that you are more than just “mom”.
6. Let go of the control
Parenting made me realize that I’m super type-A. Thankfully having a second child cured some of my intense need to have everything done my way.
Realize that your husband deserves to have a chance to bond with your kids without you there (even if it means that you might come home to everyone eating cereal for dinner). Your kids need time with their father too.
Remember that your kids are watching. Show them you, not just “mom you”.
And someday, someday way too soon, your kids will be older and much less dependent on you. When that happens, will you know who you are?