Being a mom, having mom friends, and working with moms, I’ve noticed a theme of complaints that arise for why we can’t take care of themselves. For the sake of time, I’ll just stick to one: TIME. (I’m hilarious.)
We are BUSY raising tiny humans and working and keeping the house from falling apart and for God’s sake I, personally, have six chickens to deal with in my backyard and now you want me to make more time for me?!
So . . . YES. I do. And it doesn’t have to be so hard.
We tend to over-complicate this whole taking-care-of-ourselves thing. I mean, I’m a woman, so I basically over-complicate everything, but self-care doesn’t have to mean sneakily stealing hours for yourself from your poor neglected family. Let’s be serious. Your family is not neglected and you’re an awesome mom.
And while some (very necessary) things like a girls’ night or a yoga class take an hour or more, I wanted to share three of my favorite self-care strategies that you can incorporate right now. As in, today, to start nurturing the woman who also happens to be “mom.”
1. Hot Showers
Baths get a bad rap and I think women start to feel anxious about taking them often. “A bath!? I don’t have time for a bath!” FINE. So hot showers are an excellent replacement that go almost as far. You (hopefully) shower everyday (no judgment, though . . .), so this is not me asking you to fit something new in, but at the same time, are you rushing through that shower to get it over with or treating it as necessary self-care time? I know I do this quite often.
So my invitation to you is shower alone (no babies or husbands!), give yourself 20 minutes and do not rush. I find the hotter I make the water, the more relaxed and spa-like the experience feels. Try to let your thoughts steam on out and run down the drain. Enjoy this rare opportunity to shut off and be alone.
By the way, how lucky are we that we live in a country with hot running water? I lived in Peru for a time and let me just tell you, not everyone has hot water. Or even warm water. Appreciate that shower and make it count. It might be the only 10-20 minutes you get by yourself all day. Oh, and I only mean 20 minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time with the door closed. How much of that you spend under actual water and how much you spend quietly lotioning, drying your hair and plucking your eyebrows is totally up to you.
2. Mind-Body-Soul Check-ins
I started this practice about a year ago and love it for the principle alone. As busy mamas, how often do we take the time to stop the madness and check in with ourselves and see how we’re feeling or what might be missing? I know the women I work with privately or in workshops will always comment that whatever time they’ve set aside for our work together is literally the ONLY time they have paused to consider how they’re feeling and what might be missing.
That’s not enough, sistahs!
Every morning, after the alarm (or baby) goes off and before you open your eyes, do a quick 30-60 second self-evaluation of your mind, body and soul. How do you feel and what do you need?
It’s amazing when I do this I notice my body might be a bit achy and so I set a goal to do some yoga that day. Or I might feel a little sad about something, so I commit to being gentle with myself that day. And then there are awesome days, when I feel ambitious and full of energy and I visualize myself writing, coaching and creating content all day that lights me up and gives me even more energy. These check-ins can set the tone for my whole day and are so critical for us as busy mothers who spend all our time checking on other people to see how they’re doing/feeling and what they need.
3. Call a Girlfriend
Typically, my phone calls with my girlfriends have become quite hilarious since having a child. Said child is always trailing me around, whining, and asking for a snack or juice or a book the SECOND I start a conversation with that friend who lives in D.C. and doesn’t have kids who I haven’t spoken to in a month.Why my child must torture me this way, I do not know, but it’s a serious death wish for my long-distance relationships.
I started noticing soon after becoming a mom, that catching up with friends had this frantic, anxious energy about it. I was never calling them back because I genuinely wanted to connect with them in a meaningful way. I was calling them back because I felt guilty (sound familiar?), and that never leads to deep connection or sisterhood.
So now I really try to think of calling my friends as self-care. Something I do because it makes my heart and soul happy and talking to someone who knows me on a deeper level and cares about me as more than just a mom is really, really good for me. I still have more conversations that are chaotic and rushed than not.
But then sometimes, late at night after the kids are asleep and I would normally collapse on the couch to watch something before bed, I think about someone I miss, shut off the TV and call them instead. And then I have a wonderful 30-minute conversation borne out of my love for that longtime friend and by the time I hang up my heart feels three sizes bigger and I’m incredibly grateful for how full my life is with special people. That is another form of self-care!
So those are just three mommy self-care tips from my arsenal. And trust me, I have an arsenal. Again, I think it’s just re-framing self-care from another task on your list that will steal your time to something you can easily fit in that will feed your heart and soul. I’m all about thinking outside the box, so if you need more suggestions, just find me on Facebook or email and ask and I’m so so happy to share!