A Mom’s Guide To Self Care
Happy Mothers Day!
The celebration of Mother’s Day serves as a good reminder to give a little extra thanks and acknowledgment for all the extraordinary work Moms do.
Unfortunately, it’s only one day out of a whopping 365 days in the whole year. So, what about the rest of the time?
Sadly, many of my mama friends don’t include a little self-love and tenderness into their lives on a regular basis.
As a Mama and registered nurse, I have to confess I am guilty of working myself to the core without giving it a second thought. Besides, aren’t Moms (and nurses) supposed to be selfless creatures who put the needs of all others before their own?
Well, no obviously (that was a rhetorical question, duh). But many of us have that false belief etched inside of our brains.
Sometimes as an RN I feel like a Mom to many of my patients. I’m putting their needs before my own for 12 straight hours. I endlessly hold my pee (I actually gave myself a bladder infection about a month ago). Often I work to a point of angry hunger. My heels are usually burning at the end of my shift.
Then when I’m at home, I want to spend all of my time with my daughter, despite sheer exhaustion from my workdays. What is a Mom supposed to do when there is not a lot of opportunity for self-care?
I don’t like getting childcare unless I have to be at work or my husband and I have a date night. Not because I feel guilty or can’t afford it, but because I really don’t want to.
I love being Mom. My little lady has the most contagious giggle… the most excited expressions every time she sees a “doggie”… the loudest, ear-piercing scream when she’s gone past her tired threshold (OK, so I don’t love that part, but I do love the bear hugs she gives when she’s getting sleepy, they are the best!).
My point is, being a Mom means giving more of myself than I ever thought I could ever give another human. Motherhood forces me to face fears I never even knew existed (some pretty crazy things run through my mind at times).
But I, like all Moms, am grateful to do it, even on the hardest of days.
But… and there and there is a BIG but…
Who’s supposed to take care of Mom?
Well… Mom does.
That the thing about being a Mom. The person who knows best how to take care of Mom is Mom.
The only person who can really make sure all your needs are being met is YOU, Mom.
The only person who can know that a bubble bath and a cup of tea (or wine) is exactly what you need after a long day of managing to keep tiny humans safe and alive, is… yes you guessed it.. Mom!
That’s because we are wise, multitasking superheros, capable of managing our own and other’s needs. We are the most magnificent, intelligent, masters of life! (maybe a wee bit of an exaggeration, but it’s Mother’s Day so humor me!).
If we don’t give self-care to ourselves, then it’s impossible to be what our kiddos need us to be.
That is the greatest part! We have the absolute best reason to give ourselves all the care and love we need. Because our children benefit from the mature, wise decision we make as Moms to care for ourselves so we can continue to keep the earth rotating around the sun. Also because when Mom is out of commission, things fall apart.
The Mom guide to self-care 365 days a year:
1. Keep moving.
I am a fierce lover of my yoga practice. Unfortunately, since my daughter’s birth it has become increasingly more and more difficult to get to my favorite yoga studio in Manhattan Beach, The Green Yogi.
After months of agonizing frustration due to not making it to classes, I finally arrived at the perfect solution: The Green Yogi Online! My studio offers dozens of yoga practices online for only 15$ a month. This way I can practice yoga at home at any time of the day for as long or short as I want with my favorite instructors.
Sometimes it may only 10 be minutes of Zen yoga. But any amount is better than nothing!
Seriously whoever came up with this idea is a freaking genius. I have no more excuses because I literally have my yoga practice at my fingertips. Its a lifesaver, I tell you.
2. Sleep, Sister.
Sleep is essential for life. That extra episode of television is not worth the agony of next day exhaustion. Browsing through a cell phone before bed will actually make it harder to fall asleep and will disrupt the quality of your sleep. Without sleep, you go completely insane. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture method.
I try to get into bed around 9 pm and be asleep by 9:30-9:45. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I feel so much better when it does.
3. Take a relaxing bath.
For me, taking a bath is like flipping an internal switch from action Mom to Zen Mom. No matter how crazy the day is I can turn it off with a bath. I add a few essentials oils and bath salts and voila! It’s a makeshift spa session. If I can do this 1 time per week after I per my daughter down, it helps a lot.
4. Nourish your temple.
Eat whole, organic foods, including many plants. There is no secret diet menu, what the billion-dollar diet industry is telling you.
I try to make a hot, antioxidant-rich turmeric tea every day if I can. You can read more about the health benefits of turmeric and find my recipe here:
I have a 95-5 rule. If I am really good to myself 95% of the time (i.e. exercise, eat healthy, meditate, do yoga) then I can relax and not worry about it the other 5% of the time (have some wine, yummy dessert, chill). Some weeks it’s closer to a 90-10 rule, and less frequently a special occasion may be closer to an 85-15 rule (Mom needs to have a little fun sometimes too!).
My point: The occasional indulgence is a nice thing so long as you treat your body good on the regular!
We can’t expect our kids to eat well if we don’t. We are responsible for teaching our children healthy habits from a young age so that they grow up with the nourishment they need to grow, learn, and be amazing humans.
5. Get off social media.
I stopped using social media for one week and had a lot of really great benefits as a result.
Stop comparing your life to others. By decreasing your use of social media you will be left with significantly less distraction and be more present in more important daily activities.
Social media is not a real representation of what is going on in people’s lives. It is a magnification of what people want you to see: slivers of primarily positive information that appears flawless, effortless and often like never-ending, spontaneous fun (don’t we all want to project the best parts of ourselves). Its also full of marketing, branding and sales gimmicks nowadays too.
Take the time that social media is stealing from you and apply it directly into being engaged in the most important stuff. Like spending uninterrupted time with your family.
6. Just say no.
Give yourself permission to prioritize the things that are most important to you. Mom’s needs come before getting every little chore completed. The laundry can wait until tomorrow if needed. The toys aren’t doing any permanent damage by laying on the floor a little longer. No one is going to die.
Sometimes when I put my daughter down for a nap I have the intention of getting several chores out of the way. But I end of taking a nap myself instead. Guess what, I feel so much better!
It’s impossible to do every little thing. At some point we just have to say no. No apologies, just no.
7. Meditate and have gratitude.
I found a resource that has completely revolutionized my meditation practice. It’s called Headspace and it is an app that helps to make meditation more attainable for busy people. Read more about my experience with this app here.
Headspace has dozens of different meditations each lasting from 10 minutes to 1 hour. So I really don’t have an excuse that I don’t have time, because 10 minutes is all I need. This app is genius.
Take good care of yourself, Moms!
Additional recommended reading: Simple Mom Self-Care Goals You Need Now