A few years ago, I was sitting around a table at a local mom’s group, covered in exhaustion from being up the night before with my little one. In that little hour of time, I realized why moms are so exhausted.
We had arrived and were just beginning to chat, when the speaker took the stage. You should have heard the chuckling begin as moms laughed when we heard the topic of the day: Self-Care.
Moms around the room joked about not even knowing what self-care was anymore.
We shared laughter over using the bathroom with little ones running around and constantly being needed by someone.
We giggled at our lack of nutrition since giving up our three meals a day for 10 handfuls of goldfish.
We chuckled over our transformation from high heels and skirts to tank tops and yoga pants.
Within the depths of our laughter, I caught a glimmer of something else. There was a sadness and a longing for help and peace. We all were laughing through one of the hardest parts of motherhood.
As a mother, we care for the needs of our little ones, because that is what we do. However, many times as we are caring for everyone else we forget to take care of ourselves.
In some ways, we tend to slap a badge of honor on ourselves for being sacrificing mothers who give all and do all for our families. Day in and day out, we care for the needs of everyone else but ourselves. We constantly pour into others without ever thinking to fill ourselves, because that would be selfish and ridiculous. We work ourselves to exhaustion without taking time for us first.
Here is the truth, moms, it is not selfish to take care of ourselves. You are exhausted because you are forgetting to take care of YOU.
We need to do this.
It is vital that our kids see us practicing self-care and we can start today.
If we want to be better parents, we need to be better to ourselves.
If we want to give the most to our children, we need to give a little more to ourselves.
(1) YOUR REFILL.
What can YOU do that will make you be better? For me, it is sitting with a Nicholas Sparks book… maybe it is only for 20 minutes while I’m taking a bath after the kids are in bed, but it helps.
Another one is going to the gym. This 45 minutes a day is all mine. I chat with other moms, I don’t worry about my kids in the childcare room. I come out with a fresh feeling (even if I’m not looking so “fresh” after that 45 minute workout!)
What is your refill? Do you want to read a book? Schedule a massage? Head for coffee with a friend? Go for a run? Make a list of everything that you would love to do for yourself.
List THREE things. Do at least one by tomorrow.
(2) DO ONE BY TOMORROW.
Even though you may have a whole list, decide on one thing to focus on. Then schedule time to work on it. Or consider pockets of time throughout the day that you may be able to fit it in.
Many times, we have to adjust our expectations. I’ll plan to spend an hour reading, only to hear our daughter wake up crying about “sharks in my room!” or our son to wake up because he is “SO thirsty!” for the third time since bed.
So, while we may not be able to spend an entire day reading, we could read in the evening or in the car rider line… little things add up.
(3) THE SECRET WE KEEP.
We can feel better in 20 minutes… shh… it’s proven! That’s all that we need to feel rejuvenated.
It’s funny because you hear about these great moms’ weekends and girls’ nights out every week, but for me, it is 20 minutes — 20 minutes of alone time to just do whatever I want.
Self-care does not have be rocket science. We do not need to spend the day at the spa or leave for a weekend, although those may be nice events now and then. Sometimes, we can get caught up in thinking it needs to be something greater than it is. Keep it simple and basic.
Our kids need to see mothers who are taking care of themselves… here are some ideas to get started to care care of you, Mom.