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 mom 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?
It’s the maternal instinct.
To care for our babies, to nurture them, to protect them.
But we also, somehow, need to take care of ourselves in the process.
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.
Self care for moms is not some mythological idea made up by the perfect moms that you see on Instagram.
And FYI, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, this stay at home mom survival guide is so helpful.
The Importance of Self Care for Moms
Your motivation should come from the same little beings that took you away from yourself.
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.
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 will do anything to make sure that my children don’t go through what I went through.
It starts with taking care of myself.
Self Care for Moms
What works for one person may not work for you.
Think about what you truly love (but haven’t been able to do recently).
Is there a simple way you can work that into your daily routine?
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 and I get less.
If I burn a pancake while making breakfast, I’m the one who eats it.
I make sure they get the best of everything.
The healthy foods.
The non-burnt toast.
But we need to start to realize that putting our kids first ALL the time and putting ourselves last is not a healthy outlook.
I was putting my family’s needs before my own basic needs.
But becoming aware of this and realizing that your health is just as important as theirs (if not more!) is the first step.
Self care is simply doing the things that make you happy.
So, start by having a conversation with your significant other if you are not a single mom.
Remember that it takes a village!
Incorporate your husband, your mother, mother-in-law, your best friend, whoever!
You could even consider putting your child into child care for a couple hours a day or week if you are a stay-at-home mom.
It took me a long time to realize that quality time with my kids was way more important than the quantity of time.
I still struggle with this years later.
You will be a better mom if you take some time away from your kids once in a while.
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.
Maybe for you, that is making a Target run or simply having some alone time in your room.
For me, it’s important to set boundaries, eat nutritious food, scroll social media, drink a cup of coffee before it gets cold, incorporate physical activity into my day, read a good book, get some fresh air and listen to my favorite music.
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
Sleep deprivation and lack of sleep is not just a thing that new parents deal with.
It can happen to all of us because at night we just want some quiet time.
I get it.
But making sure that you get enough sleep is one of the simple things that you can do (along with drinking plenty of water and healthy eating).
When I don’t get enough sleep, I can tell.
I snap at my husband and get easily frustrated with my kids.
Do what you can to get sufficient sleep.
For me and my family that means co-sleeping.
It makes all of us happy.
My daughter is 7 years old and she still thrives on contact sleeping.
If I sleep with her, it means she sleeps in longer in the morning.
That means more sleep for me.
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. Learn to let go
Parenting made me realize that I’m super type-A.
If it’s not done my way, it’s the wrong way. Ya know?
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.
I also realized that the household chores didn’t have to be taken care of if I hadn’t taken care of myself first.
The long to-do list should not be a priority if you feel like you are in a phase of your life where YOU aren’t a priority.
Remember that your kids are watching.
Show them you, not just “mom you”.
Show them that your own needs are important too.
Show them that you are more than a mom.
If your children see you sacrificing yourself, they might just do the same thing when they become parents.
Someday way too soon, your kids will be older and much less dependent on you.
When that happens, will you know who you are separate from your kids