being a mom
These Self-Care Habits Will Make You a Better Mom
On any given day, my life can be summed up by three little words: MOM CAN YOU…? I sit down, and a kid needs something. I go to pee, and a kid needs something! A kid needs something every hour of the damn day. Even when I manage to convince my kids that they can actually fulfill their own need in that moment, they still need me to tell them that. My girls are young, and I realize this will change as they get older. At least, I hope it will? But for now, their needs pretty much dominate my life. Which leaves very little time to fulfill my own needs! Ah, the life of being a mom. But if we want to be the best moms we can be, we need to look out for ourselves, too. Incorporating some of these self-care habits into your regular routine benefits everyone. But most especially, it will benefit YOU.
Self-care habits can be little everyday fixes. We’re not talking taking a weekly spa day here! Although that WOULD be amazing. But we need to start small, and we need to start with getting enough sleep.
Easier said than done, I know! Especially if you have babies and toddlers. Why they reject sleep like it comes from the devil himself I will never understand. But chronic sleep loss can have dire consequences on our physical and mental health. I’m not saying you need to get a solid eight every night (is that even possible?). But if you have to choose between doing the dishes and going to bed, go to bed! Those dishes will be there in the morning. Other ways you can make sleep a priority include avoiding stimulants for a few hours before bedtime (like coffee), and establishing a regular routine at bedtime. Train your body to get ready for sleep by preparing for it! Bedtime routines aren’t just for kiddos.
Stay connected to the outside world.
Being a mom can feel very isolating, even if you have a motherhood support system. Sometimes we need to checkout of MomTown and reconnect with parts of our lives that don’t revolve around our kids. That can mean regular date nights with your partner where you have a No Kids Mentioned rule. It can mean girl’s night out once or twice a month (same rule applies, though!). Staying connected to the part of yourself that isn’t a mom is so very important. And it really will make you more appreciative of the parts of your life that are mom-centric.
Don’t be afraid of the word “No”.
When your plate is already overflowing, don’t scoot stuff around to fit just one more thing. Just say no! Say no to volunteering for the PTA fundraiser. Say no to hosting a sleepover on your only free weekend of the entire month. Someone needs you to be somewhere 3 minutes after you left the last place you had to be? Just. Say. No. Stop prioritizing unnecessary needs over your own, and stop giving away time and energy and resources you don’t have to make others happy. Say no to your kids sometimes, too! It builds character. I’m sure they REALLY REALLY want to stay up to finish their movie. But after 9 p.m. is mama time, and if you can’t spare that time one night, then they’ll just have to deal with it.
Nourish your body to nourish your mind (and no, wine isn’t a food group).
Sure, science has told us that we should choose sleep over working out. And if your sleep cup is bone dry, then you should absolutely do that. But if you can spare a little time everyday to devote to getting your body moving and maybe breaking a sweat, that will pay off in a major way when it comes to how you feel, physically and mentally. Working out doesn’t even have to be something you do on a daily basis! Even a couple of times a week can help so much. Run a 5k on a weekend, or unwind some nights with 30 minutes of yoga (this can be part of your nighttime routine!).
In addition to getting our bodies moving, we need to pay more care to what we put into them. Are we going to eat a balanced, home-cooked meal three times a day, seven days a week? LOL, not bloody likely. But it is possible to eat well on a budget and with little time. Get an Instant Pot and make some of these quick and easy recipes each week. Put down the soda and pick up some water. Next time you head to the market, grab some easy snacks to have on-hand, so you’re not sharing a bowl of goldfish with your toddler. No one says we have to be James Beard Award-nominated chefs who grow all our own food. But we can make small changes to the fuel we put into our bodies.
Making these self-care habits a part of your regular routine can go a long way toward making yourself a priority in your own life. And your self-care habits can look totally different! It’s not about what you do. It’s all about just doing SOMETHING for yourself. We’re fucking amazing, so let’s start treating ourselves as such.
(Image: iStock / evgenyatamanenko)