I recently saw a new doctor who very nicely explained that most of my symptoms can be explained simply by my body not having enough self care being under too much stress. I don’t feel stressed on a day to day basis but as a homeschooling, work-at home mom to almost 3 year old twins while also on the PTC for my publicly schooled, recently turned daisy girl scout kindergartner, trying to keep my husband happy and get settled into a new home while still trying to find a new family for our old home, I suppose that doctor had a pretty good point.
“Moms need self care,” she said to me. As I tried to explain that I agree and that I LOVE self care but that I am just too busy, she cut me off and said again, “Moms NEED self care.” She further explained just how important it is for our kids and our husbands to see us taking care of ourselves too. Moms do not have to be superman. Whoever started that rumor needs to be put out to pasture. Moms need to take care of their kids and their homes and their husbands and their jobs but more importantly than any of those things, moms need to take care of themselves!
Moms need a break. They do. I do! Moms need to take a break without feeling guilt or shame, without having to have a reason. Moms need to take a break right in front of their kids, right in front of their husbands (who are hopefully be extremely supportive and who also deserve a break.) If your kids see you taking a break, they will understand as they grow up how this self-care is an important part of every routine. Your sons will take care of themselves and be better dads and husbands. Your daughters will take care of themselves and be better moms and wives. These things I tell you because if you aren’t getting precious minutes of self care, it’s not too late. Start now.
5 Ways to Practice Self Care
- Take an Epsom salt bath. As much as I would love to take a bath right in the middle of the day, this one unfortunately must be reserved for when the kids are sleeping so it doesn’t happen as much as I would like but my goal is at least one bath a week. I dim the lights. I put my phone on the charger (OUTSIDE of the bathroom.) I add a few drops of essential oils into a glass of hot water to put on the side of the tub and I simply relax. I close my eyes. I think about my day. Sometimes I take deep breaths. Sometimes I fall asleep a little. But every time, I just relax. There are a large number of benefits to adding Epsom salt to your bath water so don’t skip that step.
- Be active. Some of my favorite options include yoga, walking and running. I frequently do all of these things with my kids and/or husband in tow. Family fitness is great for about a thousand more reasons too but really for us, it’s just about clearing our minds. We are all together when we work out but really, we are focusing on ourselves in that time so it’s a win-win. I use an app on my phone and iPad called YogaStudios for quick yoga workouts for my ever changing mood. And I gladly take runs or walks with my kids, even if that means I am going at a much slower pace than I’m used to because some days, ANY activity is better than none.
- Drink a cup of tea. This is my newest love. I’m sure the cooling temps in my part of the country probably help. A nice warm cup of tea about mid-morning, right after dropping off my oldest at school but before really trying to tackle my day yet, is perfect. Herbal teas also have a nice detoxifying effect so if you’re going to be getting some self-care, why not really do your body good? My favorite right now is roasted dandelion root tea with a bit of honey for sweetness and almond or coconut milk as creamer. The first time I sat down with a cup of tea, my twins looked at me like I was crazy. “I want to watch a movie… It’s time for school… Library, library… Can you get this?… Can you do that?…” It wasn’t very relaxing. It was a huge test of my patience actually but we talked about why mommy was sipping tea and what I expected of them during this time. Several weeks later, they get it. I get 10 minutes to myself and they get much needed free play where I can watch their tiny minds have to problem solve and figure out how to stay occupied without my direction. It’s amazing! If you’re looking for a tea that will also help you detox, try making your own Teami tea.
- Try meditation. This is a great form of self-care to do right as you get tucked into bed yourself. Some options include finding a track you relate to from Hypnosis Downloads or a comparable company, practicing yoga nidra or just resting while listening to calm soundtracks or white noise. Try to have 10 minutes of calm right before going to bed. The last thing you want before sleeping isn’t Facebook, TV or your phone; it needs to be something that puts your body at ease.
- Create something from Pinterest. Trust me, I know a lot of people who think the idea of Pinterest is anything but relaxing but there is literally something on there for everyone. Search for ideas related to your actual interests. Need a new shelf for your office, search Pinterest. Take on DIY projects that are actually doable with any level of ability. Keywords like “no sew” and “beginner” can help when searching. Not a DIYer? Try looking for a new recipe and cook something when you don’t have to. Crafty but need a new challenge? Learn a new trick like crocheting, finger knitting or cross stitch. Having your mind on something other than your kids is a nice calming way to spend an hour after the kids go to bed for moms that don’t like to sit still.
Self-care needs to become the new normal in moms’ lives. It needs to be talked about in every MOPS group, every woman’s book club, every pediatrician and obstetrician office. Everyone is quick to tell a mom how to be a mom but no one ever reminds her that the best way to be a mom is to take care of herself first!
What are your favorite tips for self care?
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Tags: busy moms