As a mom, I can understand how easy it is to lose yourself in taking care of all the needs of your family, especially during this coronavirus crisis which has many of us in lockdown.
But there is something biologically ingrained in mothers. We instinctually want to take care of all our children’s needs. This can often seep into our very identity.
Between helping our kids, the logistics of running a family, and the mental energy needed to raise emotionally intelligent children, it’s fair to say that we often don’t prioritize our own needs. And this goes double when we’re in the middle of the worst health crisis since WW2.
Mom guilt is a real thing. It’s not rational, but moms can often feel bad if we chose to do something for ourselves (when we feel like we could be doing something for our kids).
Add to this the societal expectation that mothers need to be grateful or happy to be a mother all the time and you have a recipe for perpetually neglecting your own needs.
That’s where self-care comes into play.
Self-care is about doing something, even a little thing, for yourself. It’s impossible to continuously devote all your time and energy solely to the needs of others (even if it is your children) without suffering from exhaustion. Self-care helps us to recharge physically, mentally, spiritually, or all of the above.
Think of oxygen masks on an airplane. We are always told to secure our own before attempting to secure someone else’s that needs assistance. This is not out of selfishness!
It’s because you don’t want to pass out from lack of oxygen while trying to help someone. While the metaphor may seem a bit extreme, it is true. We, as mothers, can’t perform at our best, for ourselves and our families, if we are continually neglecting our care.
Self-care means making room for your own needs.
You should try to make room in your daily life for yourself. You deserve to enjoy things that aren’t necessarily kid-related. You were a whole person before becoming a mom and you are certainly more complex than just “your kid’s mom” now.
It’s okay (and actually healthy) to make yourself the priority. This often means setting boundaries, saying “no” to things you don’t want to do, and allowing yourself to be okay with that. Intentionally set aside some time, even as little as 15 minutes a day, to practice doing something that makes you happy.
Self-care can take the form of whatever you need to recharge. Here are a few simple self-care ideas for busy moms.
1Rest (when you can)
Sleep is wonderful. However, when you are juggling children, household needs, a job, or life in general, sleep seems to be in very short supply. That’s where prioritizing yourself comes in. Instead of feeling obligated to clean, go to bed a little earlier. If you have the option of sleeping in a little longer in the morning, take it and enjoy.
Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleep. If you want a 15 minute stretch to yourself to just sit and do nothing, try to incorporate that into your day. Additionally, you can take the occasional bath or, dare I say, get a massage. Being able to relax and mentally unwind for a bit is an important aspect of your overall wellbeing.
2Treat your body kindly
The body of a mother really takes a beating between pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and the various stages of raising those children. As such, you deserve to take care of your body.
Things like exercise and proper nutrition are important. Does this mean that you can’t indulge in something decadent every now and then? Of course not, go for it. But it does mean you should go for that short daily walk if you know it will make you feel better (with the kids or without).
Having a healthy body image as a woman is hard enough these days. Having one as a mom, even more so. Try to be kind to yourself.
3Schedule kid-free time
You need to go kid-free, at least every now and then. Maybe it could be a monthly date
4Find a hobby
It’s important to explore your own interests. Mothers are no exception. Try to give yourself permission to experiment and learn about things that may not be related specifically to parenting.
5Indulge in entertainment
Read that book you’ve been hearing so much about or watch that show you’ve been dying to see. If it’s going to make you happy to binge a few episodes of trashy TV, go for it. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone about