Being a mom is one of the most important and one of the most exhausting roles a woman will have in her lifetime. It is all encompassing. Moms don’t get a break from being a mom. Even when at work or out with friends, they are still a mom. It is easy to lose the other parts of your identity, especially during the first few years of being a mom. This can lead to exhaustion, poor health, low self-esteem, or even depression.
It is a mom’s job to care for their child and often everyone else in their lives, but often times they don’t take the time to care for their self first. It can feel selfish to not give all of your free time to your children or to not sacrifice your own needs for theirs, but it is impossible for one person to always place others needs above their own. More often than not these are the moms who will feel overwhelmed, exhausted, lost, and lonely. The worst part is, most of them will feel like there is no other option.
This is the frame of mind that leads moms to put their own self-care aside to care for everyone else. The change or improvement needs to start here, with this common thinking error. Reframing this thought starts out simply, a mom cannot care for everyone to the level of quality she wants without first caring for herself. A tired, burned out, sad, or sick mother cannot live up to the expectations she has set for herself that caused her to put herself second. So in other words, a mom must put herself first in order to care for her children and family the way she strives to.
Once your thinking process has changed, the steps to improving self-care are easy. Find what is important to you along with being a mom. Find what is important to you for you, not for your family. This is not selfish, this is prioritizing. Do you have a hobby that keeps your mind refreshed, are you a person who needs meaningful adult conversation, do you want to exercise daily? These will help identify self-care activities that you can engage in. They will not take away from your ability as a mom or time with your children, but rather improve your state of mind and well being and improve the quality person that you are able to be with them.
Realistic Self-care acts for Moms:
- Start in small intervals and take short 15 minute breaks for yourself. This does not mean to get tasks done that need to be attended to, but for your own nourishment. Read a magazine, take a bath, drink some coffee, or just lay down and close your eyes.
- Ask for help when you need it. Ask your spouse to help with daily chores, accept a babysitting offer from a friend, allow someone to bring you dinner. Allowing people to help takes stress off your plate and allows you to have that 15 minutes previously mentioned.
- Go out with friends. Don’t feel guilty because you go out with your friends for one night. Your kids will be okay with their father, in fact they will probably love the time. Your mind and soul will appreciate the adult conversation. One night with friends does not take away from your kids but it does give you a refresh that allows you to miss your kids and be more emotionally invested in the time with them after.
- Utilize mindfulness exercises. Be in the present moment and don’t worry about what needs to be done next or all the dirty laundry in the closet. This one can even involve your children. Doing an activity and being present and mindful with them can benefit both you and them.
- Ignore negative people. People will always have different views on parenting. If you consider all of these, you will be overwhelmed as a mom before you even start being a mom. Ignoring them and focusing confidence in yourself is self-care.
- Take time to exercise. This does not always have to mean going to the gym. This could be going for a walk with the kids in the stroller or doing a yoga video while Dad spends time with the kids. But also remember, that many gyms do have childcare centers in them and they may be a worthwhile financial investment if this is one of your priorities. A happy and healthy mom is worth all the money.
- Eat and Sleep! Never put your own sleep and nutrition on the back burner to your children’s. This will lead to you becoming unwell and less able to care for your children. It will also lead to negative impacts on your emotional well being. It is important to remember that your health directly effects your children’s.
- Treat yourself to a make over. Make sure you get your hair cut when you want to, buy some new clothes, get your nails done. Do all of the things you did before children because they help you to feel like yourself and keeping your physical appearance up helps to keep you emotionally balanced as well.
- At a very minimum, take a shower. Not a quick 5 minute in and out while the kids are distracted, but a long, warm shower with your favorite products. Your day will feel better if you are clean and the time to yourself will help your mind rest.