As moms we are so busy taking care of everyone else we usually fall asleep at night, exhausted with our own Self-Care tank empty. Then we get up the next morning to start all over again. If you’re a mom with little ones you’re probably taking care of the little ones even in the middle of the night; changing diapers, breastfeeding or soothing a child waking from a nightmare. Mothering is exhausting which is all the more reason why you MUST take time out for your own self-care mom!
Taking time out to rejuvenate yourself is absolutely necessary! Yet moms feel guilty if they stop their busyness for some self-care. So use your menstrual cycle as a time to help remind you that you need to rejuvenate yourself and you are entitled to some down time to tend to your needs. Your menstrual cycle will also be your reminder to do it consistently.
Some of the self-care practices listed below can be done with your young ones at your feet and depending on their ages and your child care set-up, it may be necessary to do them with the children. I mean what’s the point of doing #7. “Go outside with bare-feet, stand in the sun and breathe in the air”, if your babies are standing in the doorway crying to join you.
The point that I’m making is; if your children are very young your self-care may have to happen even while they are with you. And that’s okay. No guilt. No frustration. As they get older you’ll be able to pull away for longer periods of time without them.
So don’t let their ages be an excuse to NOT take care of yourself.
I think back to a time when I would get up early and tip-toe down the hall to quietly exercise to a DVD (I couldn’t go away to a facility to workout, nor could we afford it). The boys would inevitably wakeup-even though the tv was muted-and come down the hall with wet saggy diapers, sleepy eyes and/or hungry bellies. One would want to workout with me-jumping around, tripping me up, laughing. The other kid, still sleepy, would want to be held as he sucked on his pacifier and the third one would be extremely hungry or sickly or grumpy or weepy. It was ALWAYS SOMETHING! I would turn off the t.v. and tend to them resentfully; fearing that my big stomach and thighs were getting bigger by the day. And they were but more so by my resentfulness than my lack of exercise.
By the time I had my fourth child I learned to exercise despite their needs. I laughed with the kid that tripped me up while doing bi-cep curls with the one that wanted to be held. I also learned that the hungry one wasn’t going to die if I spent 20 min exercising. And the 4th one could sit in his highchair and enjoy the view.
Today I can go to the Y and spend 2hrs at a time there. But honestly, most of the time it’s still with them. Here’s an example on my video for Moms who Don’t Have Time to Exercise?
Don’t let their ages be an excuse to NOT practice self-care.
10 Great Self-Care Practices for Busy Moms
- Create a space in your home that is clutter-free. It can be a small counter, a table, or your bathroom, just make sure YOU honor that space. Fill it with pretty things that make you smile and when you feel stressed give yourself a time-out and go sit in your space.
- Everyday turn on some music and dance. If the children join you (of course they will) don’t stop dancing. Stay connected with your body by allowing the rhythm to MOVE you.
- Write out affirmations about your lovely life and read them outloud before you get out the bed in the morning. Check out my video for moms on How to Start Your Day-A Routine for Moms.
- Buy fresh flowers!
- Purchase an essential oil diffuser! It’s a great way of keep yourself feeling refreshed but it’s also a great way to create a relaxing or mentally stimulating environment. When my toddlers or preschoolers were fussy I would use lavender oil in my diffuser. When the allergy season kicks in, I use peppermint, lemon & eucalyptus to help keep nasal passages open. And ylang ylang is great in the bedroom!
- Go to a restaurant, by yourself, with a good book and treat yourself to a meal. Don’t count the calories. This is all about you enjoying yourself without thinking!
- Go outside with barefeet, stand in the sun and breathe in the air. Be intentional. Feel your cells drink in the sun’s rays. Listen to your lungs express their
gratitude as they process the fresh oxygen. Let the pores of your feet pull the earth’s energy into your body. Be intentional as you do this.
- Go get a massage! This is something that you do for your family members all the time without thinking about it. Let someone do this for you.
- Put down the electronics for 3 days. You know how it stresses you out. You can opt out of social media for a little while; when you return the same drama is going to be there.
- Keep your favorite music on in the background. Maybe you’re use to having the t.v. on or the kids electronic’s in the background but chose to consciously put on YOUR PERSONAL favorite music. Jazz, gospel, classical, 80’s, 90’s, whatever it maybe, let your subconscious mind enjoy it while you consciously tend to the day’s activities. Pandora or Spotify is perfect.
- Go to bed early with NO preparation. Some nights I would be a bit resentful that my husband could say, “I’m going to bed now.” AND LITERALLY DO IT! Before I went to bed I would have 50 things that must be done. Then one night I decided to do like him, and OMG it was so freeing! It doesn’t happen often but when I need to do it I know the world won’t fall apart!
- Say NO. Say no. It’s okay. Say NO.
- Say YES. To the friend that invites you out; to the women’s group that you’ve been planning to visit; to dressing up; to that ice cream cone; to making yourself feel good. Say YES!
- Ask for help. Americans still operate with a Lone Ranger, Individualist attitude.This is problematic for women because we’re already doing it all and have a difficult time asking for help. When you put the Lone Ranger mindset on top of that, we’re overworked, burnt out and feeling lonely-not a good combination. Ask for help.
- Stop having THAT conversation. You know, the conversation that makes you soooo upset that you’re still reliving it days later. Stop trying to get that person to see it your way. Stop trying to convince them. Stop trying to defend yourself. Stop trying to justify yourself to them. Stop throwing yourself under the bus to make them feel better. That conversation is making you miserable. Stop. Stop. Stop.
- Have more sex. When we’re busy, tired or angry sex falls by the wayside. But good sex helps to soothe your nervous system and build your immune system. Then to so does exercise, without the risk of getting pregnant! Yeah scratch number 16. Just go exercise.
Those are some of my suggestions but I would love to hear from you; what self-care practices do you put in place for yourself as a busy mom?