Entering motherhood is an awesome time. So many women spend years looking forward to the day they become a mom to have a child to love and raise well. Whether you’re a supermom or a feelin-like-a-hot-mess mom there’s 1 thing that can really help make you into an AMAZING mom and that’s self care.
Self care for moms is so important but often neglected.
What I mean by self care is time to yourself to recharge by doing something just for you. It’s time to have your cup filled instead of always filling someone else’s.
One thing I have noticed recently, is that IRL moms don’t want to admit that they’re struggling because we’re always being given this message that we should be able to do everything on our own, especially for the SAHMs out there.
The truth is motherhood ain’t easy, and if you really want to be present for your kids then it’s hard to get time for yourself. I’m all about Gentle Parenting and Attachment Parenting but I find it to be really time consuming. I didn’t sleep train my daughter, and if she wants me to sit on the floor with her while she hands me her toys then that’s just what I do. If she enjoyed playing by herself for hours and hours then maybe I would be able to just relax on the couch and read a book but for now that’s not going to happen.
And I love giving my daughter my full attention, it’s part of Gentle Parenting and I don’t find it to be a burden but I do look forward to naptime and bedtime because I know then I can focus on myself.
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Self care is more important than chores
Once the little one finally falls asleep at night it can be tempting to start cleaning and doing more work after a full day of working by taking care of your child. I always try to work my chores into my daughters waking hours, even if it means it will take me longer, if it means I can have alone time when she’s finally asleep. To do the chores I will wear her or set her up to play in the room I am working in.
I do this because self care makes me a better mom.
Taking a bath alone now and then makes me a better mom.
Why does self care make you a better mom?
Ask a group of moms what they’re currently struggling with in motherhood and the most common answers you will get is patience and anger. So many moms are going through the day on a short fuse and struggle to stay calm during challenging behaviours.
I want you to be successful with Gentle Parenting, and I think one of the hardest parts of Gentle Parenting is just to change how we react to our child’s actions.
If you are tired or irritated, or just emotionally unwell, then, of course, you’re going to struggle to respond to your child in a calm and loving way.
Sometimes it can feel like we’re being selfish to want time to ourselves as if it means we don’t like our children or something? But in reality spending time alone means that when you ARE with your children you will be more present and joyful. Like most things in life, you want quality over quantity.
So it’s about time you scheduled some self care
Yes, schedule it. Prioritize your self care to help guarantee that it will happen. It’s also important for your partner to be on board so he can support this time and see it as valuable as well.
You can take a big chunk of time now and then to do something like go for a massage, but it’s also important to work little bits of self care into your daily routine as a mom. Prevention is better than cure as my husband likes to say. Maintain your emotional health consistently rather than having to give it major treatment after months of neglect.
How can you incorporate more self care as a mom?
This one is so quick and easy, but by getting dressed in the morning it can change your outlook on the day. You don’t have to get all dolled up if you don’t want to, but as they say, if you look good you’ll feel good.
Now if you have little ones and you’re on the floor all day then obviously you probably don’t want to squeeze into jeans and I’m the same way. That’s why I just had to find a decent pair of jeggings. I went through some not so great pairs until I finally found the No Nonsense Women’s Legging
These jeggings look AND feel like jeans. I wear them at home or when going out. They’re flexible and comfortable and even have two back pockets! Oh, and no special washing instructions either (because really, who has time for that).
I’m pretty frugal but they’re very reasonably priced and now I own two pairs.
Getting dressed might seem like a small thing, but for me, being able to wear clothes I feel good in makes a big difference. I can get down on the floor with my daughter and even do stretches together, all while looking good for a day at home.
Listen to Music
Music can play a big role in self care. You can listen to it at home or in the car, and hearing your favourite tunes can just really do your soul good. Turn off the Moana soundtrack (as great as it is) and listen to some music you enjoy.
Write a gratitude journal
This can be a great activity for when you get up in the morning, or right before bed depending on your schedule. Write down just 3 things you are grateful for. This will help you to really reflect on your day and stay grounded on the good things.
I love journaling in general so I can spend quite a long time writing, but when you’re crunched for time just a short list can help tremendously. It’s also an activity that would be great for your older children to do with you as well.
Interact with other grown-ups
Having some time of self care for mom can mean a night out with your girlfriends or even a daytime visit. By visiting with your friends you will have the chance to talk to someone you trust about your worries and challenges. Attending a kids playgroup can also be great for your kids and for you to meet other moms.
Make social time part of your weekly schedule to ensure you’re always getting a chance to get out of the house and interact with other adults, even if it’s in a child setting like play group.
Get your body moving
When you exercise your body will release endorphins which make you feel happier. You don’t have to tie yourself down to an impossible workout schedule to reap the benefits of exercise.
Go for a neighbourhood walk or bike ride, take up pilates or even get yourself a hula hoop. Exercise is a really important part of self care but as moms, we can neglect it. If your sole purpose for working out is to lose weight it might start to feel more like a burden than a benefit. Try to see exercise as an important part of your emotional health which is important for amazing parenting.
Bath and Home Spa
You probably already know this, but your bathroom can be like your secret weapon for self care. Make sure to prioritize time for self care (remember – try to get chores done before the kids go to bed) and take some time to relax in the bath. Read a book while you’re in there, or just have a good cry (advice from my wellness nurse).
Relax in that warm water without any interruptions or worries. It might feel like a juggle to make this happen especially if you have really little ones in the house but it can do you some real good.
You might also enjoy treating yourself to a home facial like this awesome dead sea mud mask.
Self Care Will Make You a Better Mom
These tips are just a handful of ideas you could use to implement more self care into your usual routine. It’s important to really prioritize taking care of yourself so that you can easily take care of others. A lot of moms go through PPD and realize how important it is to take care of themselves, but even after the depression passes may feel like they shouldn’t need any extra time to themselves anymore.
You need time to rest, and recharge so you can be the best version of yourself. Feeling cranky and constantly irritated isn’t a good feeling at all and it will definitely impact your abilities as a parent.
So many moms want to try Gentle Parenting because they’ve seen how effective it has been for other parents, but feel like they are always too angry and irritated for it to work for them. This is quite likely because they are running on empty all the time.
Don’t feel guilty because you need time for yourself now and then, but instead, you should feel proud that you’re strong enough to step away from life for a moment to pour into yourself.
It’s not always about being the mom who goes to all the baby classes or makes the perfect sandwiches, or who spends hours making handmade Valentines Day cards and who is an expert at Pinterest creations.
Sometimes it’s about being the mom who is happy.
Happy in her own skin.
Happy in her accomplishments and mistakes.
Being the mom who can love her kids unconditionally because her brain isn’t crammed up with stress and worries.
Being the mom who shows her kids the importance of mental health.
Being the mom who is amazing, because when she’s around she can handle conflict and help her kids grow through behaviour issues.
If you want to be that mom, it’s time for some self care.
What do you like to do to take care of yourself? Drop your ideas in the comments to share with the other moms here. What have you done to help your husband get on board with the idea? Does he give you some “me time” when you need it? Let us know!