While pedicures, dinner with a friend, and girls’ night out sounds incredibly awesome, sometimes it’s just not realistic to find that much time for self care.
As a mom to three kids, I’ve heard it more than once. Put yourself first and you’ll be a better mom. It’s true, and I know it, but I’d rather do really important stuff like hang up my six-year-old’s pile of shirts sitting on the floor of his closet.
Because that makes me feel better too. In its own kind of way.
The reality is that self care can be time consuming
But, the reality is that my days are full, and I’m usually running around in circles (no, literally… in circles in my kitchen trying to remember what I was doing) with a brain overflowing with t0-do lists and shoulds, and sometimes the thought of a girl’s night out sounds down right exhausting.
Karaoke at 9pm when my bed is so inviting and warm, and does not have children in it? No thanks, I have a really important thing I have to do (fine…it’s just watching flip or flop without someone begging for a snack).
Next time, ladies.
So, what’s a girl to do when the typical self care seems like work?
I say, make it easy.
Here’s a real mom’s guide to self-care you can do every freaking day.
Here’s the secret: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Just repeat after me, “This is just self care. I’ll be a better mom.” So, here’s a list just about anyone can do.
When your youngest has two hours of preschool, instead of jamming it full of organizing, errand running, or mopping (just kidding…who really mops?) Fill it with a reality TV show instead.
Feed your kids lunch 30 minutes earlier than normal, then turn on that Daniel Tiger, make your own lunch, and hide in a room somewhere and eat your food. Alone. In silence. Try it. It’s awesome.
Keep a stash of chocolate somewhere secret. Hide it inside a bag of peas, or with the cleaning supplies. Guaranteed, no one will find it, and you don’t have to share.
Self care means keeping a running list of all the awesome things you do as a mom, for days when you don’t do anything particularly awesome.
Laminate it and read it often.
Close your kids’ bedroom doors instead of looking at the mess.
Get the kids off to school, and get back in bed once a week. Or if you have little ones still at home, settle them in front of their favorite show, and get back in bed.
Tell your kids mommy needs a minute alone when when they first get home from school. Take a deep breath and close your eyes before starting the homework.
Self care doesn’t have to be complicated either.
Wear headphones while you’re cooking dinner or cleaning. Blast your favorite music.
Take a picture of yourself on a day when you’re really put together. Make-up, jewelry, the whole nine yards. Instead of posting it on social media, post it on your fridge. You’ll remind yourself that there is more to you than sweats and spit up.
Make a list of things you loved before becoming a mom. Do one of them once a week.
Take a nap or an extra long hot shower when your husband gets home.
Put older kids in charge of reading time with the younger ones.
Read a book when you should be doing laundry.
Call a babysitter when you don’t have anything to do. Take a stroll around Target or get sit in your car and enjoy silence.
Replace every “I should….” with “I can do _______ if I feel like it, but I don’t have to.”
The truth is, I’m typically awful at self care, but I’m getting better. And letting go of the guilt feels good. What’s your little indulgence you do to stay sane?
More thoughts on taking care of yourself as a mom:
I’m Tired of Basic Human Needs Being Seen As Self-Care
How to Let Yourself Be Without Letting Yourself Go
I Never Knew How Tired I Could Feel From Just Trying to Remember All The Things
I absolutely love this. I ignored daylight’s saving time for about a month, which is to say, I put them to bed an hour early for about four weeks. Still woke them up at the same time, just gave myself an extra hour of phew-time at the end of each day. Sometimes it’s that little bit of extra me-time that carries you through the week. 😉
That’s awesome! And so true. It really is the little things!
Every morning I get up first and leave a couple of chocolate milks and breakfast on the counter for the babies. Once they’re both up, I leave them the Ipad/Iphones and sneak upstairs to have a bath. Every.Single.Morning.
That’s amazing! Love that!
Oh my I loved these and shared them on my facebook page! Seriously made me smile and feel so much more NORMAL! I do these things….often. I’m learning not to feel too guilty!
Thanks so much for sharing Misty! Glad you liked it! 🙂
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
Such good tips! I love the “eating a meal alone” idea. Every year, my Mother’s Day present is a breakfast in bed ALONE. Phillip makes breakfast, the kids make cards, they all come in to show me, then Phillip herds them out of the room and feeds them breakfast separately. The kids aren’t allowed to come in, they have to wait until I open the door. Phillip comes in occasionally to ask if I need anything. The birds are singing, the sun is coming in the windows, Phillip is a great cook and I’m enjoying an entire meal uninterrupted. Best day of the whole year!
That sounds heavenly!
I think we need that little reminder of finding the balance in the chaos of being mums. It makes you feel so normal, so… human. For me, when everybody’s out, it me time. I sing, dance, make healthy snack and watch TV. Thank you for the reminder that we are not crazy, but normal.
Such a good post, I had the candle going on both ends for way too long. I am spending a lot of days this summer doing many of these things. The problem is, if you don’t do them, you get very burned out, and then it takes days, weeks, months, to feel better again. No, I am not depressed. I am relaxing for once. I am going for walks, reading books, taking a bath, and saying to the mess, you’ll still be there tomorrow. I am only working on it, a little at a time. My kids are mostly grown (though not quite independent) except for the youngest two who are still in school.
I love this list! And I LOVE the idea of replacing “should” with “can”!