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You know the saying that goes something like, “You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others”? Well, the truth is, as a mother, taking care of your children and forgetting to take care of yourself is actually very easy to do.
Well, we have put ourselves on the back burner for too long and it’s time to take care of ourselves so we can be better for our children. That is why today I am sharing self-care tips for moms that make you a better mother!
Included in this post, is a list of 5 tips for finding the time for self-care and 40 ways to practice self-care as a mom to give you some ideas and inspiration for things you can do during your “you” time!
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks of motherhood and forget about your own wants and needs. This can last for a little bit of time without becoming an issue, but after a while, you will start to feel the effects of self-neglect.
Have you ever found yourself losing your patience with your children quicker and easier than usual? Or felt so tired that just doing everyday tasks like the laundry took everything out of you? Have you ever been snappy or angry for what feels like no reason or even started to feel a bit depressed?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are not alone! There is nothing to feel bad about and you are a completely normal mother. You can only put everyone else wants and needs before your own for so long before it mentally and physically starts to take a toll.
No matter how overused or cliche the saying is, it’s true. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. You have to fill up your fuel tank if you want to have anything left to give to your children. You can’t run on empty and expect to get very far. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
Okay, got a little carried away with the cliches and analogies. Moving on. LOL
THAT FEELING OF GUILT
There’s always one thing that gets in my way when I think of self-care as a mother and that is that feeling of guilt. That need to always put my child first and be a “good mother” is so strongly present in every choice I make. I have those thoughts running through my head that say making time for myself and my needs is selfish.
Well, you know what?
Making the time for self-care when you’re a mother is anything but selfish. If your goal is to be a great mom than you have to be a great person first. You have to be healthy and happy, and be the best version of yourself in order to be the best mom you can be.
You might feel guilty or like you’re being selfish by doing something for yourself, but I can guarantee you that your child will not feel the same way.
Go back to when you were a child and how you felt towards your mother. Didn’t you love seeing her do things for herself that made her happy? Don’t you still love seeing her take care of herself in a way that brings her health and joy? I know there is nothing I love more than when I see my mother happy because she is making sure her own wants and need are being met.
Your children will only love you more when you are the best version of yourself. And you become the best version of yourself when you practice self-care!
Now, I say this like I’ve mastered the whole self-care, no guilt thing, but I really haven’t. It is something I have to constantly remind myself and it’s definitely a work in progress. So, just know that it’s not always easy, but it’s one hundred percent necessary and very much worth the effort.
5 TIPS FOR FINDING THE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
I realize that as a busy mom finding the time for self-care can be the biggest challenge of all. Even if you’re jazzed and ready for a little you time, it might feel impossible because there is literally no time to fit it in.
Below I listed 5 tips for finding the time for self-care that I hope can help you if you’re struggling to find a space in your busy day to focus on yourself.
1. Wake up before your kids
The best time of the day to practice a little self-care is in the morning when your children are still asleep. It a great time to prepare yourself for the day and head into it feeling calm, relaxed and clear-headed.
Even waking up just 15 minutes before your children allow you to make coffee in peace, or meditate with no distractions, or do your hair and make-up without any little helpers.
Now, if you’re anything like me, getting up early will not be easy. However, after you do it for a little while it should get easier and easier. Start getting up just a couple minutes earlier every day and ease your way into that 15 or even 45-minute head start.
2. Take advantage of nap time and bedtime
Another great opportunity for self-care is any other time your children are sleeping like nap time or bedtime. Self-care means focusing on yourself, which is hard to do with little kiddos running around. All those moments when they are sleeping are golden you time moments!
If you usually head straight to your to-do list when your children are sleeping, I understand, I do that too. However, make a point of dedicating just the first 10-15 minutes to practice a little self-care before you hit the ground running.
Also, try not to make the mistake I make every night, which is staying up too late getting things done. Do your best (I know it’s hard) to check some things off your list AND practice some self-care while also getting to sleep at a decent hour. A tired mom is not a fun mom to be around!
3. Break it up
If you think you have to cut out these huge chunks of time in order to practice self-care, you’re not going to do it. Break it up into little bits of time during the day so that it’s not overwhelming.
Scatter 10-15 minute patches of self-care throughout your day. Spend 15 minutes reading a book or 10 minutes touching up your nail polish. Just give yourself those little moments.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom like I am, you know that even trying to read a book can be impossible with the constant chaos and distractions. You just have to be really sneaky about when you fit your moments in. For example, if you notice your toddler is happily playing independently, pick up your book while they’re occupied with something other than you!
4. Schedule it
Another way you can find the time for self-care is to not find it at all, but make it instead! Pencil it into your schedule and guarantee yourself some moments!
Have your husband, family member, or a sitter watch the kids while you go get a facial. Or go the more affordable route and just go for a nice long walk while listening to your favorite music.
You can make it the same time every day or week or just when there’s an opening in the family schedule, but pre-dedicating time for yourself might be the only way you can fit it in. So if that’s what you have to do, then do it!
You have to make self-care a priority. Self-care as a mother should not be a luxury or an afterthought. Your sanity, health, and wellness is at stake and if you want to be the best mother you can be you have to prioritize yourself.
Take a look at your to-do list and decide on a few things that can wait. If you find yourself trying to decide between checking another task off your list or taking a moment for yourself, choose yourself every once and a while. Actually, you should choose yourself more often than not. Put yourself at the top of your list now and then and don’t feel guilty about it.
40 WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE SELF-CARE AS A MOM
EXERCISE YOUR MIND
One of the best ways to practice self-care is to exercise your mind. Meaning use it for something other than thinking about your family, job, or do-to list. Take care of yourself by clearing and expanding your mind. If you’re unsure of ways to do that, take a look at the list below.
- Read a book
- Write in a journal
- Draw or color
- Do a puzzle
- Listen to a PodCast
- Read an article or learn something new
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
This is probably the most obvious one, but very important none the less. Taking care of your body can have positive effects on all aspects of your life. Working out and getting those endorphins pumping will make you feel happier, doing yoga will help keep you centered and calm, eating a healthy diet keeps your immune system running optimally so you can be well enough to take care of your kids! Basically, taking care of your body will have numerous and wondrous outward effect on your life.
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a healthy diet
- Do yoga
- Go for a walk
- Go to the gym
- Do some gardening or just spend time in nature (this good for your mind too!)
So much time we spend as mothers is spent being serious. I swear from the moment you become a mother you never stop worrying. Is my child safe? Are they getting everything they need? Am I doing something wrong? Did I forget to make that doctor’s appointment? Should I have done that differently? Did I make the wrong choice? Am I ruining my child for life?
These thoughts are constantly running through our heads on a daily basis. It’s not a bad thing though, it just means we care. However, sometimes we just need a break. We just need to let loose! Below are some (mom style) idea’s for getting a little crazy and silly!
- Have a dance party or go dancing
- Sing along to your favorite album
- Do game night
- Play a sport
DO SOMETHING EXCITING
Motherhood can very easily become monotonous. Day in a day out of the same routines and patterns. The structure is great for children and really does help mothers stay organized, but it’s also, dare I say…boring. Everyone needs a little excitement in their lives once and a while, even mamas! A great way to practice self-care is to get yourself excited about something! Do something that exhilarates or thrills you and treat yourself to that little spark of life.
- Visit a new landmark
- Write a book or start a business
- Go go-carting or rock climbing
- Get a new haircut or color
MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PASSION
One of the first things to get pushed aside after becoming a mother is your passions. I know this to be true because I’ve only picked up my guitar a couple of times since my daughter was born and I definitely haven’t written any new songs, which is something I used to do daily before I got pregnant. Your passions and hobbies are important. They are what makes you, you. In order to practice self-care, you have to make time for your passions, whatever they may be.
- Play or learn an instrument
- Create a new painting
- Do some crafting
- Try a new recipe
- Practice your favorite sport
This category is probably the first thing that comes to most peoples minds when they hear self-care. Pampering yourself is the more “luxurious” category of self-care. Going to the spa, taking long really long baths surrounded by candles, etc. Those are wonderful ways to relax and de-stress. For me, sometimes papering myself just means sitting alone and watching The Bachelor uninterrupted with a bowl of ice cream. We all might have different ideas of what “pampered” means to us, but the important part is making time for it!
- Take a relaxing bath
- Sit down with a cup of tea and read a book
- Take a nice long nap
- Binge watch your favorite TV show
- Do your nails and/or hair
- Give yourself a facial
Something that’s really imperative, for stay-at-home moms especially, is making time to socialize. Motherhood can be very isolating and lonely at times. Carving out time for adult interaction and conversation is essential for maintaining your sense of self and to be honest, a healthy level of sanity.
- Go for a walk with a friend
- Join a moms group
- Join a book club
- Go on a lunch date
- Set up a play date
- Go shopping with a friend
DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPIEST
Of course, doing all of these things all the time is not possible. Choose a hand of full of things that make you the happiest and make time for those things! If doing your make-up every morning make you happy, wake up early and do your make-up. If watching your favorite TV shows makes you happy, take 30 minutes after your children go to sleep and mindlessly watch your show! Do what make you happiest and try to do it as often as you can!
I really hope these self-care tips for moms inspired you to spend a little more time on yourself! Please share your favorite ways to practice self-care in the comments below! That way we can all get some new ideas from each other!