As a busy mom of two little boys and another on the way, self-care seems so far out of reach some days. When the majority of my day is revolved around them, getting them dressed, fed, breaking up arguments, teaching them, playing etc, it seems nearly impossible to squeeze in even 10 minutes to myself.
The other day I walked into one of my favourite local baby boutiques. I told my husband I was going out to the grocery store to grab a few things when really we didn’t need anything, I just needed a break. After walking the aisles of the grocery store and taking my sweet time, I decided I was going to take an extra 20 minutes and sneak over to Threelambs without my husband knowing, to see if they have anything special for the baby.
When I got there I was greeted by friendly smiles and asked if I needed help. Jokingly, I said, “I don’t have kids with me, so I’m just taking my time, enjoying this little vacation”.
When I got home I couldn’t help but think to myself how a trip to the grocery store and the baby store (nothing that caters to my own personal needs) was considered to be a break and my own interpretation of “self-care”.
Trips to the grocery store by yourself are not self-care. Sitting in your car for an extra 10 minutes before going into the house is not self-care. showering, getting dressed, buying your kids special toys, is not self-care.
Whether it’s the kids burning you out, your job, school or maybe your taking care of an elderly parent, the reality of it is we all have things in life that put our own life on the back burner and we need to learn how to make ourselves priority again.
A great way to start out on your self-care journey is to write a journal. Take time after the kids go to sleep or while they’re playing in the backyard to keep note of your feelings. What are you feeling guilty about? what do you crave? What triggered you today? Once you start noticing a pattern in your day-to-day feelings, take accountability for the way things are unrolling and curate a plan to diminish any anxiety or pressure you may have.
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Ask for help!
As parents, we are wired to think we need to have everything under control. It took 2 kids, many breakdowns, and a global pandemic for me to admit I finally needed help. With daycare closing due to the recent conditions of the world, I had no way to go to work. Work was my place to be creative and socialize with people older than 4.
My husband suggested asking his mom if she could watch the boys a few days a week so I could continue going to work. Admittingly, I had a really hard time accepting that I needed help.
Almost immediately, after seeing the excitement on the boy’s faces when I’d come home and they would show me all their crafts and all they did in the day, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Overall our family dynamic is so much tighter, and the kids have learnt so much over the past year thanks to grandma’s adventures and as a whole, I feel so much fuller.
We can absolutely adore motherhood or whatever phase in life we’re in, while also recognizing that it doesn’t give us everything.
With all the pressures of life, it’s so easy to say we’re going to take responsibility for our personal needs and recharge but at the end of the day, if we don’t stop and actually do it, life will go on forever the same. It isn’t until you take that first step and see a positive change that you’ll finally start making self-care a priority.
I admit I can be a little bit of a hypocrite when it comes to this topic. It’s HARD! but what’s even harder is going on with your day-to-day life burnt out, tired and unable to wholeheartedly show up for your family and yourself. Taking the time to love yourself is the only way you can really love the ones your surrounding yourself with.
Here are a few of the goals I have for myself to hopefully make a small difference in my day-to-day life.
1. Hydrate: I recently bought a water bottle off Amazon that has the Times of the day on it to hold me accountable for how much water I’m taking it. Keeping my body Hydrated is only the first step in maintaining a healthy body. Healthy body = a healthy mind.
2.Hair, Makeup & Clothes: I joke with my friends about my mom buns and cheap makeup. In actuality, when I do my hair and makeup, I look and feel soo much better!! I have more confidence and my overall self-esteem is much more vibrant than when I throw my hair up in a quick bun.
3. Sleep: This one’s hard but on the top of my list. Using meditation, essential oils and sometimes the added assistance of extra melatonin, I make sleep a top priority. My husband has stepped up and takes responsibility for the kids if they wake up so I AM able to get a little extra rest. I, unfortunately, take much longer to fall asleep than him, so he agreed to take care of bedtime. Plus I’ll soon have a nursing newborn who will be keeping me up at night. Clean sheets, soft pillows and slightly cracking a window are all useful tips for having that relaxing night’s sleep.
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