Self-care for moms ends up being the very last priority. We forget to eat lunch, we forget to have quiet time, we forget to have that hot cup of coffee to clear our heads, we forget to sleep, we forget to say ‘no’, the list goes on.
That’s how it is for me anyway! It’s hard sometimes to even feel human. I think “zombie” is a better word.
Self-care for moms is non-negotiable.
Let’s get one thing straight.
YOU. CANNOT. POUR. FROM. AN. EMPTY. GLASS.
It’s physically impossible. For moms, it’s also emotionally impossible. We have to carve out even the smallest amounts of time for ourselves. Else we will (I repeat WILL) burn out. Millennial parenting comes with its own challenges and we need to recognize them and deal with them.
Here is a list of 15 tips on self-care for moms. Get ready to take care of yourself, de-stress, and have fun, Mama. You got this!
So read this list, give yourself a break, and know that you can do this mom thing. Read on to see how!
I know, I know, “I have kids! I don’t have time to exer– ” I know. So include your kids! I’ve seen so many videos of people including their kids during their exercise.
Here’s a video that shows how it can be done.
Here are some other ideas. Why not take a good old fashioned walk with the kids in the stroller. Or, go to the playground and actually play with your kids! Don’t sit on the bench off to the side, don’t stand around on your phone, get your bum up, run, climb, and make memories at the same time. Exercising is taking care of your body, and you will feel amazing for having done it.
Often times, we moms make sure our kids get the healthy foods, but then we’re so tired by the time we’re done that we grab the easiest, junkiest foods for ourselves. But nutrition is so important for moms – especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. So here’s what you do: Find some quick, healthy snacks that you like on Pinterest and get yourself to the store to buy the ingredients. Or even easier, get online and order them to come to your doorstep. But here’s the key – don’t just throw them in the fridge or cupboards. Prepare the snacks as soon as you get them home, store them accordingly in individual packages/bags and then when you’re tempted to eat chips grab your healthy, ready-to- go and rest assured you’re staying healthy.
Here are a few snack ideas I love –
I know how tempting it is to stay in your pajamas all day long, never touch your makeup bag, and *gasp* not even brush your teeth (don’t lie – you’ve been there). But it makes your day so much more productive when you feel good about yourself and your appearance. For me, it makes a huge difference if I change into a light summer dress and just take 5 minutes to put some concealer and mascara on. I feel more awake and put together. Plus, in the last few months, there have been instances where I’ve gotten a call that sent me flying out of the house with barely a second to throw shoes on. You know those calls. For some of them, I’ve been in my PJ’s and was so mad at myself for not getting ready that morning. For some of them, I dressed appropriately and was ready for the day already, and it made such a difference! So, take 5 minutes and spruce yourself up! It’s SO worth it.
Now, this is not to make you paranoid by any means, but the amount of people I have heard of being diagnosed with serious illness recently is making me very aware of my health choices. Personally, there is a lot of cancer in my family and I’m not thrilled with the thought of possibly getting that diagnosis one day. So I’ve made sure to keep my pap smear appointments, my breast exam appointments, and I recently had my blood drawn and tested for pretty much everything. All clear and that’s how I’d like to keep it! You also need to take the time to make these appointments. Your family needs you! They need you to stay healthy! The expense is well worth you and your family’s peace of mind and safety. So I don’t want to hear “It’s so expensive!” You know what’s expensive? Radiation. Chemo. Surgery. That doctor fee won’t kill you but illness just might. So do it! Now!
Here’s another one of those things that we think isn’t all that important and that we can live without. WRONG. Sleep is so important.
Here are some side effects of sleep deprivation:
That’s probably your brain telling you to get more sleep. Your sleep cycle plays a big role in memory retention so catch some Z’s and you might remember your neighbor’s name unlike me… #awkward
2. It ages your skin! When you lose sleep your body releases more cortisol (the stress hormone). Cortisol breaks down skin collagen, the protein which keeps your skin smooth and elastic.
3. It makes you gain weight. Recent studies have linked lack of sleep to increased appetite and therefore weight gain.
So if you’re thinking of squeezing in a few more episodes on Netflix before you hit the hay I hope these facts have convinced you to sleep instead!
Here is a great example of a need for sleep from one of my favorite ladies Christy Wright.
Our bodies are mostly made up of water, so it makes sense that we need to drink a lot of it to stay hydrated and healthy, right? If you’re not convinced, I’ll name a few of the benefits of drinking more water. It helps you fight fatigue; it keeps headaches and migraines at bay, it helps with digestion and constipation, and helps flush toxins out of your body, just to name a few! Also, if you’re looking for more superficial reasons, it keeps your skin soft, smooth and hydrated. No dry skin patches! Wouldn’t that be amazing? So take care of your body and drink up, ladies!
I don’t know about you mamas but every once in a while I need to get out alone. Whether it’s grocery shopping or indulging in a few hours to shop or get some coffee alone or whatever you want. If your husband can watch the kids, or if you have a family member/friend/babysitter who you can get to watch them you need to let them because you need a break every now and then. Even if you have the most well-behaved, perfect children and you’re always happy, you still need a break. You must build margin into your life. If a chef or a nanny or a nurse worked 24 hours a day and never took a break we would think they’re crazy! We would force them to stop working to take a break. It’s no different for moms especially because we do all of those jobs combined plus more…
Train yourself to be grateful. That doesn’t sound like self-care to you? Well it is. My husband, our daughter, and I lived in a… we’ll call it “less than ideal” home last year. It was hard. We did without a lot – including running drinking water. But I’m glad we did it because it taught us extreme gratitude. But you don’t have to move out of your gated community into a shack to experience gratitude. You can simply head down to your local soup kitchen, volunteer at a women’s shelter, put together meal baskets for families you know who are in need, visit those in nursing homes, the list is endless! Take yourself out of your comfort zone, and even better – take your kids too. Becoming a selfless human being is self care because you’re making yourself a better neighbor and making the world a better place. I can think of few things more needed in the world today than selflessness. Give it a go and I guarantee you’ll start to feel all warm and toasty on the inside. It’s a great feeling! And it’s contagious!
I am so guilty of never being able to just say no! But I’m learning. When someone asks something of me I ask myself a few questions.
– Is it good for me?
– Do I actually have the time or am I just excited and not thinking straight?
– How will I feel when I am in the midst of this new “thing” and all of my other responsibilities?
– What will I have to give up to be able to do this “thing”?
If you ask yourself these few questions I think you’ll find yourself making more realistic decisions.
We’re going back to your husband helping and getting family or friends to watch the kids. Sometimes you just need to call your mom in tears and ask her to come pick up the kids so you can nap or clean the house, or just do nothing at all and have some quiet time.
It’s so hard for us moms to admit when we need help but the fact is – we all need it! We all do. So what does that make it? Normal. So that means it’s normal to ask for help. Do it! Whoever you ask will most likely be flattered and would love to help you because they know it’s no small feat to raise children. No sir, it is not!
Stop freaking out about every little thing your kids do. Once again, I am so guilty of this. When my daughter climbs up on the couch I say, “Oh be careful! Don’t fall!” She’s over 2 years old and has climbed on the couch a million times. She’ll be fine. Or when she tries to climb up on the counter I yell at her to get down. I mean really – it’s just a counter. There are much worse things than her climbing. In fact, it’s probably good for her! Just remind yourself often that your kids are still learning and that they are still little.
They run, they climb, they fall and get hurt – it’s in their nature and they’re supposed to do all those things. Unless they’re actually being bad or putting themselves or others in danger, just CHILL OUT. You’ll be much happier overall.
You know what causes a lot of stress especially for women? Assumptions. For example – assuming your husband will clean that mess up for you and then getting mad at him when he doesn’t. He didn’t know you wanted him to clean it up because you didn’t tell him! Or assuming he knows that you’re upset because what he said hurt your feelings. Nope. He doesn’t have a clue. There could be a lot of stress eliminated from your life if you just stop assuming things. That is a BIG way you can take care of yourself and it will save you a lot of emotional fatigue.
“Easier said than done, Hannah!” Right, but it needs to be done and not just said. Keeping your marriage intact and happy will, in turn keep you intact and happy has an individual. What will ensue is this thing called sanity. So go for it, Mama! Make your marriage a priority and I promise you won’t regret it.
Again, as a mom, you are the heart of the home. Your sanity and happiness are key for a happy family. With that being said let me throw this statistic at you – Money is the #1 cause for divorce in North America right now. Boom. So my advice to you is this – get on the same page with your spouse about money. To do that? Go check out the book (or audiobook) called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It. Will. Change. Your. Life. Oh my goodness. Tom and I have been doing the “Dave method” for over 2 years and we are so happy with our finances. Money emergencies are so much more relaxed now that we have some margin in our bank account. Dave has helped millions of families get out of debt by working at their finances together. I dare you to try it! Buy the book!
What do you have to lose?
Go check out what Dave has to say here – www.daveramsey.com
This is something I’ve seen a lot of parents do lately and I think it’s the best idea ever. Sometimes it’s hard as parents to cherish each of our children individually when they’re all running amuck around the house every day. Here’s the solution – take each kid out every once in a while individually. Just you, your spouse, and that one child. Do this at least on their birthday each year but more often is definitely recommended! You could also leave the other kids with daddy and take one child to the store with you (and buy them a treat at checkout!) for some quality time. Whatever works. But just spend time alone with each child away from the others. It will calm your mommy heart. Dealing with multiple kids all at once can be stressful so taking time with each one by themselves will be easier and soothing. You’ll never forget it and they won’t either. If you’re a mom you understand how that would be fun and stress relieving.
And that’s it! Those are simple little things but all combined? Gosh, can you imagine how much less stressful your life would be? Try them out one at a time and see what a difference they start making in your life.
Let us know if you’ve tried any of these or other tips and if they shaved some stress off of your life.
Share this with your mom friends who are stressed out (so…all of them) and tell them to try these tips too.
About the Author:
Hannah Neagele is the founder of mrsandmommy.com where she writes about motherhood, wifehood, fashion, health and a lot of other things. Trust her to come up with a DIY to your problems. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat.