There seems to be an unspoken truth among moms, that in order for you to be a good mom, you cannot take time for yourself. Because that means you are selfish and selfish moms are not good moms.
I’m not sure where this thought originated or why we believe it so ardently, but it has become so ingrained into our minds that doing anything for ourselves leaves us feeling guilty.
Let me list a few scenarios:
»» The kids are in bed, so you sneak into the kitchen to scoop out a bowl of ice cream.
»» You find $5 at the bottom of your purse, but you hide it until the kids are in school so you can spend it on yourself.
»» There’s only one soda left so you tuck it away until you can enjoy it alone and unchallenged.
»» You have a babysitter but you still feel you need to rush your date with hubby because you don’t want to keep anyone waiting. Even the babysitter. Who you are paying. To watch your kids.
Do these sound familiar? I know I am not alone in this area of life.
OK, I might be alone in that last scenario. Point is, we moms often feel guilty when we want to do something for just ourselves. Why is that? Is it because we are always giving and never taking so we are out of practice? Or do we give so much of ourselves that it feels wrong to reserve any energy for personal reasons?
Whatever the excuse may be, it is a real problem. If we do not take care of ourselves, what good are we going to be for anyone else?
This was a hard lesson for me to learn and I only really understood the gravity of it when all my kids were in school and I began writing full time. Writing is my passion, it’s in my blood. I never realized just how lost and empty I’d been feeling for all those years until I started writing again.
That might sound dramatic, but it’s true. During that time, I rediscovered myself and swore never to lose sight of me again. (Read my post about Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood, I think it’ll be a great help to you.)
After I started taking time for myself, I felt like a whole new person; I was more confident, more fulfilled, and definitely less stressed. Why had I waited so long? Partly because I felt guilty for taking time away from my family. Since then, I have had to learn how to balance life and work, but it is more than worth it.
My wish for you is to feel validated and empowered to take better care of yourself so you can be a better you for yourself and those you love. This list of self-care ideas for moms should be a good place to start…
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Self-Care Tips for Moms
- Start Each Day With a Clean Slate
- Take Time to get Ready in the Morning
- Schedule Appointments for Yourself
- Take a Nap
- Enjoy a Favorite Snack
- Go on a Date
- Invest in Yourself
Self-care Ideas for Moms #1
I began with this one because I feel it is the most important.
Too many of us go to bed at night feeling defeated. We missed nap time for the kids…we didn’t get all the things marked off our to-do list…we burned dinner…we didn’t call that friend back…the list could be endless.
If I don’t fall asleep right away, I often find myself grading how my day went and before you know it, I’m depressed, fearful and sleep has all but disappeared. This is when I have to take a deep breath, ask God for a better day tomorrow and try again in the morning.
If we constantly dwell on the negatives of the day before, they will defeat us before the sun has shown on a new day. Tomorrow has its own set of negatives, we shouldn’t add to them with things we can no longer change.
If we allow ourselves a clean slate each morning, this permission brings its own optimism and that may be all you need to start the day on the right foot.
Self-care Ideas for Moms #2
When my mom started homeschooling my sisters and me, I was in the 4th grade. Every morning my mom would wake us at a set time and we had to be dressed and ready for the day before coming downstairs. I could never understand why we couldn’t just do school in our jammies since we weren’t leaving the house.
What my mom knew, and I was just learning, was that you cannot get a good start to your day if you aren’t ready for the day. (If you need more ideas, read my post 5 Quick Tips to Jump-Start Your Day.) Staying in PJs keeps you in a state of laziness. If that was all we planned to accomplish that day then we could stay in them. But that was a rare day in our house.
If you want to feel accomplished and stay on top of your to-do list then get dressed, do your hair, and, if you wish, put on some makeup. You will feel ready to tackle the day.
Want another tip? Put on your tennis shoes. For whatever reason, having on tennis shoes adds a spring to your step and you feel ready to do whatever tasks you have on your list.
Getting ready in the morning has been ingrained in me since I was a young girl, but just recently I started seeing to my hair and makeup. Even if I wasn’t going out. Because I noticed how much better I felt about myself when I passed a mirror and I looked nice. I like that feeling and want to have it every day.
Self-care Ideas for Moms #3
I rarely spend money on extras since I prefer to save money by doing things myself.
However, I have found that I LOVE massages. I rarely get them, but if I were rich, that’s where I would spend my money. Haha!
Whatever gives you the confidence to be a better you, then allow yourself the indulgence. (Within reason.) 🙂
If you don’t like to spend the money, like me, read my post 5 Low-Maintenance Beauty Tips for Busy Moms for some money-saving ideas that will make you feel pampered without the price tag.
Whatever you enjoy, you should make time for it.
Self-care Ideas for Moms #4
This right here, this is my #1 self-care tip for myself.
I used to feel bad that I needed a nap halfway through my day. Then I realized my health was to blame. I have since learned how to better handle my health and I do not need to nap anywhere near as often. But, when I do, I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.
Here’s why: If I let my health run down, how will I see to the things I need to see to? How is getting worse helping me or my family? It’s not. So, I pay attention to what my body is telling me and take care of it. Besides, even the healthiest of people take power naps. They are good for you and do wonders for your mental capacity.
And maybe you aren’t tired but you just need some time to yourself. There’s no shame in laying down for a few minutes to recharge or reset. My mom used to this often and we never thought she was a bad mom or lazy. She was showing me that it’s OK to take time for yourself when you need it.
Self-care Ideas for Moms #5
I will admit, I am one of those moms who hide from my kids when I want a snack. Mostly because I don’t want to share. Or hear anyone talking to me while I’m enjoying it. But I no longer have qualms about enjoying an occasional snack. Mostly because I buy the girls snacks aplenty.
They are not deprived. But I will deprive them of one of my favorite snacks if I choose not to share. And I won’t even feel guilty about it. OK, maybe a little and I might share a little, too.
But, most of the time, they know their mom is rather selfless in this area so if she wants to keep it all to herself, she deserves as much.
My husband has been a huge help in this area. When he gets home late and the kids are in bed, sometimes he will bring home Coke and fries just for me, because he knows they are my favorite and because he loves me.
Once in a while, the kids will catch a waft of the treat and make their way downstairs to ask for some. My husband will usually tell them to go back to bed, mommy and daddy are having a date. And they know not to question it because there are just some things adults get to have as the privilege of being an adult just like Halloween and Easter baskets are the privilege of being kids.
They’ll soon get over it and one day become parents themselves and will understand. Until then, enjoy the treat anyway.
Self-care Ideas for Moms #6
This can be with your husband, with some girlfriends, or even by yourself. If you don’t take the time to be around other adults (or just not around little people), then you are not doing yourself or them any favors.
You need that time to unwind. It’s as necessary to your well-being as sunshine is to flowers. You will wilt under the pressures of motherhood if you don’t have a way to connect with others who are living life in the same fast-lane as you.
On the plus side, your children need time away from you, as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Self-care Ideas for Moms #7
This is an oft-neglected thing but should be a necessity. We need to stay healthy and in tip-top shape because adulting is hard.
We can do this at a gym or at home, alone, or with your kids. There are so many kinds of workouts and plans, there’s no reason you can’t find something that works for you. My girls love to do yoga. But if I plan to do something more strenuous, like my favorite workout: Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred, I prefer to be alone so my patience stays intact.
As much as I love the results of working out, I do have to strive to be consistent. But getting in a workout not only propels me through my day but encourages my girls to have healthier lifestyles, too.
Now that I work from home and am on my computer for several hours at a time, I keep a mini trampoline just outside my office door, and once an hour I play a song on my phone and jump until the song is over. This way I am getting in some cardio during the day and it helps keep my energy reserves from depleting. (My mini trampoline folds which makes it perfect to keep in my office.)
Self-care Ideas for Moms #8
I cannot stress this point enough.
When I was a young mother, I enrolled in an online writing course. Best thing I ever did. I learned so much and still use the resources to this day. But then we had three children and life got busy and I put aside my writing. It was several years later before I started writing again and I still mourn all those years I didn’t write.
Because writing is part of me, it’s who I am. I should never have set that aside for anything because it’s like setting aside who I am. That’s not what I want to pass on to my girls. I want them to know who their mother is and to grow up knowing it.
What are your passions? What are some things you have put aside for motherhood and hope to one day to get out again? Why not do that now? Set aside some time for yourself to work on things that fulfill you. Separate from motherhood.
You might find that the things you love to do might interest your children, too. One of my daughters loves to write. I love so much sharing writing tips and exchanging stories with her. And my other daughters love to draw and create, so we do a lot of collaborations for our Etsy shop together.
Our lives are filled with so much more creativity than ever before because I refused to wait until they moved out before I pursued my passions. We even wrote a book together and are working on the sequel now. I honestly feel more fulfilled now than I ever have.
Maybe you don’t have anything you would consider a passion. Why not ask your kids what they enjoy doing and spend some time learning with them? YouTube is full of tutorials on just about any topic. One thing I hope to learn with my girls before too long is how to start a garden. Something we can learn together.
The point is, YOU are important. And you must treat yourself like you would treat someone who is important. I know that’ll take some practice but the time you devote towards this will only enrich your life and those you live with.
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About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.