3 Insanely Easy Self Care Tips For Moms
"Self care" is a phrase that gets tossed around so much these days that it has basically become a joke. Well, it's a joke at best. For a lot of us, we choose to laugh about it, because the truth is, it's actually become a burden.
Moms everywhere who are already stressed out and overworked and under-rested are feeling pressure to incorporate self care into their daily lives when they barely have time to eat or sleep. It's like it's become just something else to add to our to-do list.
The problem is that self care really is important, and we honestly should be including it in our regular routine. The struggle is how to do that.
So, I've come up with this short list of the three simple ways you can learn include self care into your regular routine when you're a mom.
1- Change your definition of what self care is.
I feel like there are two different ways to look at this, and it really depends most on what works for you as an individual. For some people, seeing self care as a task is part of the problem. You're likely to avoid it, because it's become a burden, another thing to get done, as I mentioned earlier. So for you, you need to focus on self care being a way to treat yourself.
Instead of thinking, fuck I need to floss because *grumble grumble* stupid self care, you should be rubbing your hands together and looking forward to how you're gonna treat yourself that day. Yes, hygiene is part of self care, and you should take care of your teeth blah blah blah, but it's not all self care is.
Maybe it's taking a nap instead of having a third cup of coffee in the afternoon, or maybe it is having another cup of coffee but drink it while you read a book. Maybe it's ordering dinner instead of cooking. Maybe it's *gasp* going to bed when there are still dishes in the sink. The point is, it's giving yourself a break. It's giving yourself a small dose of happiness.
I'll be honest. Sometimes I struggle with my own advice above, because I'm a perfectionist with excessive guilt issues. For that reason, I have to trick myself. I kinda have to see self care as a task.
I specifically put my self care plans on my to-do list.
I'm so stupidly driven to be productive all the time, that I have to actually write things like "read 2 chapters" or "take a nap" or "shower and wear makeup" on my list so that I have the satisfaction of marking them off my list.
It's a little ridiculous, but you know what? It works.
It works and that's all that really matters.
2 - Realize that what works for your kids might also work for you.
Some of the best advice out there is to put your kids in the bathtub during the day if they’re bored or fussy, especially if the weather is bad and you can’t get outdoors.
Guess what? The same idea is pretty effective for adults.
One of my favorite things to do is to take a bubble bath in the middle of the day, while my toddler is napping. Normally, I try to use that time to be productive - shocker - but man, is it restorative to soak in the tub with a glass of lemonade and the sunshine coming through the window.
Do you know what else I find to be fun and relaxing? Coloring and puzzles.
Instead of plopping your kid down with a bunch of crayons and rushing off to get stuff done - and believe, I understand you’ve got a lot of shit to get done - sometimes sit down with your kid and color alongside her. It’ll be a bonding moment, but it’s also genuinely fun.
And these things don’t always have to be done with your kids. I get it that you need a break from them sometimes. The point is to pay attention to your needs and to incorporate a little simple fun into your day. When’s the last time you put together a puzzle or played a board game with your partner? What if you tried sipping chocolate milk with a straw instead of stress-drinking wine?
Think of all the ways you help your kids when they’re whiny or upset or bored or whatever, and apply some of those same tactics to yourself.
3 - Accept help, no matter how guilty it may make you feel.
This one seems so easy, but it’s the one I struggle with the most. I don’t know if you will relate to my stubbornness, but it is really hard for me to receive help. There are a lot of layers to this.
For one thing, I don’t want to ask for help. I want someone to volunteer to help me. And even then, I’ll probably hesitate or reject the help, so I need the person to offer multiple times and put a lot of pressure on me.
Like I said, I have perfectionist issues. When someone offers to help me, my first thought is that I’m a failure. If someone sees that I need help, then obviously I’m doing something wrong and now I must try even harder to do better.
So, to recap, it’s hard for me to accept help, even harder for me to ask for it, and then when I have it, I feel so guilty and terrible that the moment there’s the slightest opportunity to lose the help, I charge for it.
I’ll give you an example. My husband and I came to the agreement that he would take care of the toddler first thing in the mornings so that I could write for a couple of hours. It’s a great system, a perfect schedule honestly. But every time I hear my son crying downstairs, I have to fight the urge to text my husband, to offer to stop writing - which is my job - to come take care of the kid myself. It’s not a reflection of my husband, and it’s not because I don’t want to write. It’s because I really fucking hate relying on someone else, and I somehow believe I should be able to do everything.
There was a morning recently when Chase woke up before Bastian and he went into the kitchen for coffee. Instead of me asking Chase to come get Bastian once he woke up, I just tried to type while Bastian crawled in my lap and banged the keyboard. I would rather suffer through the stress of my toddler sabotaging my writing process than ask my husband to come get him.
I tell you all of this because IT’S DUMB. Don’t be like me.
If you have someone who can help you, let them fucking help you. I realize that with the pandemic, it’s harder than ever to get help. You can’t just drop the kids off at a playgroup or let your family come babysit. But there’s still help you can receive from your own immediate family.
This might mean letting your partner do more with the kids or with the housework. It could be teaching your older kids to do their own laundry so save you time in the long run. Sometimes I set up an activity or craft and leave my 12 year old in charge, so I can leave the room without worrying about the younger kids drinking glue. I’ll bribe my 7 year old with snacks or dollar bills to play with the toddler so I can sit on my ass for a few minutes and just have some peace.
Whatever you can reasonably do, do it. Ask for help, demand help, pay for help, trade for help, accept help.
You are not a failure for allowing someone else to help you. Drill that into your brain.
All three of these self care tips are pretty basic and simple, but that’s the beauty of it. Self care is possible. I hope you will actually employ these tactics in your life. You deserve it, mama. You work so hard to constantly provide for other people. I know you’re tired of hearing it, but you have to take care of yourself, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenn Scott Pickett is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in parenting, relationship, and lifestyle content, with a focus on self care and mental balance. She is half of the comedy duo that makes up Salty Mermaid Entertainment based in Atlanta, GA. In her free time - Wait. She's a mom of three. She doesn't have any free time. Learn more by clicking here.