Self-care for busy moms
First of all I would like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! What a great day for us to have some relaxation and rest while we bask in the glory of our children. If you are one of those who doesn’t get any basking, and is stuck going to the laundromat, doing dishes, cleaning up the living room, or other chores, have no fear. I know it might suck for today, but in this post we’re going to talk about some things that we can do everyday to honor our motherhood and ourselves. Now please excuse me while I preach to this choir for a minute.
Let’s face it, being a mother is hard. Not only are you dedicated to the lives and well-being of your children, but you also have obligations surrounding them. You also have domestic duties, and those are no little things. Sometimes you can spend all day grocery shopping, working on after school projects, cooking, etc and still not be done. Let me ask you this. As far as your to-do list goes, do you ever make the list? And I’m just going to throw this out there – everything is a lot harder when you’re a single mom, including going to the bathroom without an audience. Okay, for real that almost never happens.
So if you can’t even use the toilet by yourself, how are you going to put yourself on that to-do list and make time for self care? I feel obligated to say “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Don’t think you can do it? Well, start small. I need you to mentally pick up a pencil and schedule yourself 10 minutes every single day for you to have alone time. During this alone time, you need to be true to yourself, and open with what you really want. You could meditate, paint a quick picture, read for a few minutes, or just lay there on your bed relaxing. 10 minutes is not a lot of time for self care, but you can work your way up as you go as you figure out the mechanics of your alone time and fitting it into your family life.
One thing is very important-know when you are done. You have to know your limits, or you will run yourself ragged. I should know, I do it all the time. Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you to stop for the day. My sister is really good for that. You need to learn to recognize the signals that your body is giving you, and that your mind is giving you. You need to learn when to stop. Everyday can seem like a battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Prioritize your tasks for the day one day at a time, and when you’ve reached your limit, stop. This may take some creative rearranging of tasks that need to be done. For example, if I have to write an order I’ve received one day, that I focus on that. I don’t focus on cleaning. And that’s okay, because we will get through it and the dishes will still be there tomorrow.
Another thing you need to do is make time for intimacy. The kids have to go to bed eventually, and every woman has their needs just like every man does. You need to create time to have sex with your partner, and if you don’t have a partner, then create time to help yourself out. Sure, it’s kind of a taboo subject, but we are all adults here. It’s a natural thing, a healthy thing, and doing this regularly will help your mood and your outlook on life.
One vital part of self-care is taking care of your medical needs. Pay attention to your body and what’s going on with it. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor, dentist, eye care specialists etc. I remind you of that empty cup thing. You need to keep yourself healthy in order for everything to run properly. And lumped in with this is eating healthy. I know that children get first priority of healthy foods, but that doesn’t mean you can live on junk food or occasional snacking. You need to carve yourself out of portion of every healthy thing that your family eats. Put yourself back on that list. You belong there.
Make sleep a priority. The way you do this is set a regular bedtime and a regular wake up time. I personally go to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 and wake up around 7:00 everyday. This may seem like a lot of sleep, but it’s what I need to function. I don’t waste my sleeping time doing extra chores while my kids are in bed. This is just a recipe for burnout. Remember your limits and go to bed when you are tired. Not when you’re ready to lose consciousness because you work so hard, but when you feel tired. Remember your circadian rhythm and honor it.
And now the big one – possibly the hardest one of all. You have to make time to do things that you love. If you absolutely cannot extend your 10 minutes at all, and you need to find a way to use that 10 minutes to do something that makes you truly happy. Hopefully you can expand on that time. If you do not take the time to do the things that bring you happiness, you’ll just be miserable. A life full of work and more work and more work is not healthy for anybody. If you don’t know what makes you intrinsically happy, then sit down and brainstorm a list of possible activities. You will eventually be able to find something that makes you truly happy. And this something doesn’t need to have anything to do with your kids. It’s just you and the specific activity.
I hope I have given you some ideas of how to take care of yourself as a busy mom. I’m sure there are more, but this post is running long. So, once more I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, I wish your day is full of peace, contentment, and the love of your children. Until next time,