As moms, sometimes it’s hard to believe that we can take a break. Heck, it can be hard to feel like we even deserve a break when we think of all the things left undone on our to-do list. But you not only deserve downtime, you need it to live a happy life.
As moms, we put ourselves last on our list of priorities. With all the balls we juggle daily, we are afraid that if we spend even a little time on ourselves, all the balls will drop and we will be spectacular failures.
We’ve got meals to prepare, houses to clean, and laundry to tackle. Plus millions of other things that find their way to our to-do list. Oh and and we have the task of molding our kids into independent and decent human beings. NO BIG DEAL.
Yeah, we’re busy.
And let’s say we do manage to do something for ourselves (like take a nice bath, sleep in, or go out with friends). What happens? Often, we end up feeling guilty about taking time for ourselves.
But it’s time to get over that destructive mindset. Right now.
But as Malebo Sephodi once said, “Take time off…the world will not fall apart without you.”
Taking care of ourselves is not a privilege we must earn.
It’s a human need. And more than that, it’s 100% necessary if we want to be the best moms we can be. We are better equipped to take care of our children, families, and countless duties when we are taking excellent care of ourselves.
When we are constantly trying to operate on “empty” we are less likely to be the kind of mom we want to be. We yell more, are less efficient, and we are less playful with our kids.
But, of course, it took me a looooong time to figure that one out.
In fact, I used to feel like I had to “earn” self care.
There are few things I find more relaxing than sitting in a super hot bath with epsom salts, essential oils, and a good book.
After a long day, it feels like stepping into heaven. The hot water relaxing my muscles as I breathe in the soothing scents of lavender and get to escape into a good book.
But I’ve always felt like I had to “earn” a nice bath. I had to be really really deserving to allow myself such decadent relaxation.
And once I had kids, that feeling only grew. To be truly deserving, I felt like I needed to run a marathon or deep clean every surface of my house.
As a working mom of 4 kids 4 and under, I felt like I couldn’t take time for myself without dropping all of the balls I was already desperately struggling to juggle.
I had 4 tiny people to keep alive and a house to take care of, while also trying to prep classes and stay on top of grading. I felt like taking time to take care of myself meant taking away from everything else.
But, boy, was I wrong.
Because taking care of our physical, mental, and spiritual health is not some luxury we must earn.
When I finally started to prioritize my health and create a self care routine, I realized that everyone was happier. I was happier and more relaxed. Which meant more patience and less yelling. And that meant happier kids and a happier home.
Taking care of myself means taking better care of my kids.
Creating a self care routine means leaving survival mode behind. While it took a huge shift in mindset to actually plan and execute proper self care, it has made such a difference in my life and family.
I’m a better mom. I’m more patient. My body is healthier and I feel more balanced.
Which means I’m so much better prepared to handle the stress and difficult situations that naturally arise in my day.
MY SELF CARE ROUTINE
First off, self care will look different for every mom. It all comes down to what rejuvenates YOU physically, mentally, and spiritually. But as our mom days are often packed with non-stop chaos, I find mornings and evenings to be the optimal times for quality self-care.
Creating rejuvenating morning and evening routines has completely changed my life and health.
Before my kids are up, I almost always read uplifting books, exercise, shower and get ready for the day. (For me, this means hair up, teeth brushed, face washed, clothes on, and perhaps some mascara).
I then meditate and sometimes write in a journal.
I’ve found that these practices nourish my mind, body, and soul. They set me up to be a happy, patient mom ready to tackle the crazy that will inevitably come my way.
For more on creating an awesome morning routine, check out this guide to makeover your morning.
In the evening, after I put my 4 small kids to bed, I wind down first by unplugging from technology. This is when my husband and I can finally talk and really connect.
And then, I take a hot relaxing bath with epsom salts and essential oils. (I conquered my “bath guilt”!!!) And I read a good book and decompress from the day. I breath deeply (this method is pretty fantastic) and will sometimes meditate if I am still having trouble shutting off my brain.
For more on creating a solid evening self care routine, check out these tips to create an evening routine for moms.
Self-Care will look different for each of us.
To create your self-care routine, you’ll need to reflect what activities bring YOU peace and relaxation. When can you find time in your day to spend some time on yourself? Before you can do that, there are a few steps you need to take to make room for self-care in your life.
STEPS TO CREATE A SELF CARE ROUTINE FOR MOMS
1) CREATE “WHITE SPACE” IN YOUR DAY
Imagine a white piece of paper with writing on it. There are margins on all sides and spaces between the paragraphs. There is clear organization and flow. The white space provide direction and organization.
Okay, now imagine another piece of paper with crammed writing covering the entire surface. Overwhelming, huh? Not sure where to start or end and there are no white spaces to be found.
Which paper best resembles your life? The one with rests and white spaces? Or the one that is so full it’s impossible to make heads or tails of what is going on?
To fit in self care, we need to cut out activities that aren’t important. We need to create the white space in our lives.
To say yes to self care and better mental and physical health, you may need to say no to other things.
Step back an evaluate what you spend your time on. Don’t let good things get in the way of doing THE BEST things. Don’t worry about fulfilling anyone’s expectations for you or what other people are doing. Evaluate what will be best for you and your family.
For me, this meant saying “no” to a lot of outside demands. It meant cutting out TV and getting to sleep earlier.
2) GUARD THE “WHITE SPACE”
If you’ve cut out the non-essentials, you’ve created the white space in your life. If you are anything like me, your natural inclination is to look at that white space and want to fill it all up.
Maybe you feel pressure to be super involved at your kids school, paint your entire house, or spend hours and hours planning a birthday party. While none of these things are bad, if we sacrifice our well-being to do them, then the cost is too great.
Instead, guard that white space with ferocity. That white space equals balance and your sanity. That white space allows you to fit in the much needed self-care activities that will improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
3) CREATE YOUR IDEAL SELF CARE ROUTINE
To create the ideal self care routine, you want to make sure that you are including activities from the 3 core health areas: physical, mental, and spiritual.
Below are just a few ideas to get you started. To start, just add a few to your daily routine and see how it feels.
- Exercise regularly
- Go for a walk or hike
- Get enough sleep
- Eat nutritious food
- Take a relaxing bath
- Have a dance party with your kids
- Ask your partner for a massage
- Get 15 minutes of sun (with sunscreen)
- Snuggle with your spouse or children
- Take a nap
- Take a hot bath with epsom salts and/or relaxing essential oils
- Spend time in nature
- Smell your favorite things
- Declutter a problem area in your house
- Start a file on your computer writing favorite memories of your kids
- Go outside and be in nature
- Listen to a podcast
- Go somewhere by yourself
- Laugh–(watch a funny youtube videos)
- Complete a task that’s been nagging at you
- Start a book club
- Recite Affirmations
- Read something uplifting
- Go on a date with your husband
- Try a new type of food
- Cut out negative people on social media
- Call/email an old friend you haven’t talked to in ages
- Unplug from all electronics
GET STARTED WITH YOUR SELF CARE ROUTINE
Mamas, you are so important. So much rides on your capable shoulders. Make sure you give them a break everyday (even it’s a small one). And remember, self care is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Implement your own self care routine and let the benefits seep into your life.
You’ve got this, mama!