Mom self care is one more buzz word in a world of “supposed to’s”. It’s one more thing we should be doing on a long list of family commitments. We wish we had time for it but first….
It can feel like we’re falling short if we don’t take the obligatory bubble bath. Or power nap that promises energy bursts. Or anything else that everyone pretends will take away the cares of the world.
Often, it’s easier to wait until later rather than squeezing in time for one more thing. Often, all we want is to be in our pajamas by 9pm with no more to do for the evening.
Most moms realize they need self care but the unspoken truth is, most don’t even know what it means. Knowing what they most want or need to help them replenish ends up being illusive at best.
In truth, most moms understandably don’t practice mom self care. We most likely don’t understand what it means for us. For sure, it’s difficult at best to factor it in while we try to get dinner on the table.
So, here is the Best Mom Self Care 101 Guide You’ll Ever Read (in less than 5 minutes)
Self Care Definition
In an interview with Parenting ADHD Summit, I defined mom self care is anything that only you can do for yourself that gets or keeps you strong (you can listen to that interview here). So, while we think it’s a luxury or something “nice” we should do, this is actually an essential piece of serving family life. No one gives this to us, we have to navigate and create time and space where personal restoration happens.
It’s incredibly powerful. It’s the one time we focus solely on ourselves, bodies, minds, and or souls. All of it. The end goal is ultimately more stamina, clarity of thought, energy and love to offer our family because we’re replenished. Our needs are met, and we can meet the needs of others – this is one of many reasons why restoring ourselves isn’t selfish.
Often, moms are worried about upsetting the family routine that’s already in place. It’s important to insert ourselves as part of the family equation. Yes, it means there will be sacrifice on the family (just as we sacrifice for the family every single day). However, when mom self care is actively considered part of the family routine, everyone quickly adjusts and the sacrifice becomes a new normal. Never underestimate the commitment of the family to help mom fulfill herself.
Because a mom who is actively practicing ways to meet her own needs and wants, is less demanding on her family. She is able to realize her needs do matter and they will also be addressed in time. This allows her to have extra energy and stamina to give really well to her family. They notice the difference and in time, will ask moms to take time away because they trust that once mom is renewed, she’ll come back, let’s say, less nagging. 😉
How Mom Self Care Works In The Family
- Stay at home parent
Often, moms who choose to stay home are bombarded with the every day tasks of life; washing the clothes, grocery shopping, budgeting the money, picking up kids from school, arranging play dates, and on and on. But very often, they feel guilty. They feel they “aren’t contributing” financially, so any time or resources for self care shouldn’t include them. After all, if they need a 15 min. power nap, they can take one.
However, there are recent statistics that stay at home moms feel less satisfied with their life than their working counterparts.So mom self care for them is essential. If you are reading this as a stay at home mom and need permission for self care, please take this as your permission slip. They need you. Your life deserves this time.
- b) Single parent
Single moms often find self care a luxury. Finances are tight. Time is even tighter. No one is there to shoulder a load normally managed by two adults. Often, self care is a left over possibility if the other parent can come take them for the day or weekend. Sometimes they go weeks without even going to bed early from exhaustion. Self care for these moms is also essential, although more consideration and planning will probably be involved. Permission offered here as well, to identify the factors holding you back and trying to move them one tiny piece at a time until something opens up- even a tiny crack of time.
- c) Other Family Configurations
Whether it’s a traditional or non traditional setting, every mom finds herself in the guilt/ earning it/ afraid to ask phase of navigating self care on a consistent basis. So, relax and know you’re not alone. We’re all finding our own center for how we can best move forward without throwing our family into chaos. Am I right?
Self Care and Time Management Skills
Self care takes time. Although it’s hard enough to financially budget for self care, it’s almost harder to make time to do it.
So, consider these time management skills to help you factor yourself in every week.
1) Decide how much time you might love or need to have to do something that refreshes you. Do you only need 1 hour once a week? Would you like more? Find an amount of time you and your family can live with.
2) Use a family calendar and put your night off, or hours away on a weekend on it – every single week. This will help everyone know what to expect.
3) Try and adjust. Give yourself and your family permission to adjust the time, or day or whatever is needed to make this work for you. Maybe you need more time or less. This allows everyone to have a say and allow you permission to be flexible while still getting your needs met.
Self Care Tips That No One Is Talking About
- You won’t get mom self care right the first time. This is totally ok! Keep trying and you’ll find your perfect fit!
- You may need to rethink and renegotiate what you want. Changing your mind is not only allowed, it’s required. 😉
- You may learn amazing things about yourself. New insights about your abilities, interests, or value are all side effects of amazing self care.
- Follow your bliss. This is not a request, it’s your new guide. Trust your joy, and follow it down the paths it leads.
Self Care Ideas Where to Look that No One Tells You About
- Local museums
- Local events
- Local colleges or universities offering community classes
- Here are other self care ideas you can use
Mom Self Care Plan for Busy Parents
Everyone wants the golden plan – you know, the one that promises the perfect self care routine that will take the least amount of time for the biggest effect.
Don’t we all.
Know this – no one, not even me can give you THE plan for YOUR self care. It’s incredibly powerful because it’s personal, and you’ll have to navigate your way through finding your own. But don’t despair! While I can’t give you that plan, I can give you super encouraging guidance on how to create one for yourself.
First, follow your passion. Is it music lessons like when you were young? Or a museum a month? What is the passion you’re thinking of pursuing? This will dictate how much time you need, even if it’s only for a few months.
Secondly, sort out that time commitment and let it be known to everyone. Whether it goes as a reminder on the refrigerator or it goes on a calendar, find a way to remind everyone it’s coming up.
Finally, decide how you feel. While you’ll give it some great tries, you may feel more tired after an art class than when you went in. That’s ok! Let your body, mind, and heart tell you “This works! I feel amazing!” or “I cannot do that ever again.”
Take care of yourself first: The Myth
We’ve heard the take care of yourself first motto. They liken it to being on an airplane and the stewardess directions before every flight is this, “If you are traveling with a small child or someone who needs assistance, place your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to assist someone else.”
In my book Momifesto: 9 Practices for Phenomenal Moms, I take issue with that. “However, we are not seated on a plane. Our kids are not buckled in and immovile while we are served a selection of beverages. We are not reading a magazine…not inhaling, and exhaling through a yellow mask or taking a quick nap because our kid is watching an entire 90-minute movie on an ipad while buckled in, drinking juice and eating pretzels…
We are shutting off smoke alarms, resetting call buttons, and taking care of overflowing toilets…on both ends of the plane.
Let me ask you, does it sound like an oxygen mask is going to cut it?” (p. 15-16)
Take care of yourself : Permission Granted
What will matter, and what will help is figuring out a way to take care of yourself. Start by giving yourself permission to do this.
Most women and nearly all moms hear “take care of yourself” but don’t even know where to begin. They forget what they want. They surely don’t know how to get there. And then they try to do it without “inconveniencing” the family.
So, permission granted to do a little exploring and trying and figuring out how to take care of yourself. As we stated earlier, try a few new things. See what might help.
You’ll be amazing when you return to your family.
Some Mom Self Care Quotes to Inspire You:
I get it – you’re in, but maaaybe another week. Maybe another month. Not so fast! Here’s a final bit of inspiration to get you inspired about mom self care!
“….if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long term perspective.” – Dalai Lama
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete” – Jack Kornfield
“Find what makes your heart sing and create your own music” – Mac Anderson
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. “- Jean Bolen
Why Self Care Is Important
Moms, we are learning to put the self in self care.
No one else can do it for us. When we own what we want and need, it gives direction and guidance to our own life. It helps us figure out how to structure a week of family and include ourselves. If you need more inspiration, here’s 10 Reasons Your Family Needs You Sane. 😉 And, above all, it takes the pressure off our family to figure out what would help us feel better. We are made for a strong beautiful life. With a little regrouping, rest and restoration, we’ll find that we really are the amazing moms they know and love.