Whether you’ve had a long day with the kiddos, a trying day at work, or pretty simple and easy day, self care for mom seems to get put on the backburner. I hear things like, “There’s not enough time,” or “How can I prioritize myself above my kids?”
The best metaphor I can use here is pouring from an empty cup.
If we have nothing, we’ve got nothing to give.
I explained a little more in-depth about the necessary superpower of asking for help in my last post, so if you haven’t checked it out go and do yourself a huge favor ;)
I’ll admit that mommy guilt can creep up on me like a storm, and running a business can take me away from spending as much time as I think I’m “supposed to” with my kids. After a long day, I want to get in bed with the baby and run my hands over his angel soft little cheeks, and shower him with kisses. I can let that guilt turn me into a fairy Godmother, that grants all the wishes I possibly can in the hour I see them before they go off to bed, and when the sun rises the following day that guilt can trick me into thinking I have to give like I’ve never given before.
I tell myself things like, “I’m going to be present, we are only eating organic, and I’m not going to look at my phone once for the next 24 hours because I was gone all day yesterday, and I really need to give, give, give of myself to this little being." I seriously sound like my favorite #momtruths mamas, Cat & Nat in this hilarious video.
That video is so hilarious because it’s just so true!
I get to about noon, and all that presence wears me out. My business and my people are so rewarding and fun, but even a day at Disneyland takes a toll and you eventually wish for some quarters for that machine that gives the crumby foot massage. That foot massage is what gives you the pep back in your step and pushes you toward that last ride and then to the car.
It’s not fair to think that we can be present at ALL times. In order to do all the things, mamas need to time to themselves, they need that foot massage to get over the hump, and they need to fill their cup so they can give to their people.
Here are 10 things you can do to recharge your batteries that I think are so much better than that crumby foot massage machine:
In the last several months I’ve become obsessed with my Headspace app. You might think of meditation as some strange thing that only monks do, but it’s truly like a little cat nap for your brain and I highly recommend it. Mama brains are like a website browser that has 1,000 tabs open at all times, and it can be seriously overwhelming to have all the tasks and to-dos floating around in there. Take 10 minutes out of your day and refocus your mind. You’ll come back to your day feeling a little lighter and a little more refreshed.
Capture all of the things that you are grateful for, and the fantastic moments of the day that you don’t want to forget. I love The 5-minute Journal, and it comes in paper form or as an app. When we focus our minds on gratitude, it helps to melt away stress and anxiety and bring us back to what’s really important.
3. Give yourself permission to use naptime as your time.
Instead of catching up on chores, do something for yourself. Call a friend and catch up, watch that show you've been meaning to get to, even if it's only for 30 minutes and the rest of the time you actually catch up on chores - they're always going to be there. A happy, present mama is worth so much more than a load of laundry.
4. Take a bath.
That sudsy goodness isn’t just for your little ones! After a long day, a nice dip in the tub with the door closed and locked, and no tiny hands rummaging through bathroom cabinets can do wonders for your mind and your body. If you don’t have a bathtub, take a nice long, hot shower. Listen to some music, and indulge in some nice aromatherapy with a sweet-smelling bath salt or body wash.
5. Hit the gym.
If you can't get to the gym, try something like Stroller Strides, or create your own workout at home. There are so many solutions to the problem of not having childcare, so hit up Google for some exercises with kiddos and babies. Exercise will give you more energy and boost your endorphin levels helping you feel less anxiety and more self-confidence.
6. Create a space just for you in your home.
For me this is my office. It’s where I go to write, and think, and meditate. Truthfully, it isn’t even all mine, because I share it with my hubby who also works out of there, but that piece of space is just for me. Having a small corner somewhere in your home or yard that’s decorated just for you where you can read, do yoga, or just pass by and look at will remind you that there is more to you than just being mama. Create a little space that’s inviting that will remind you to take a couple minutes for yourself each day.
7. Join a moms group.
I know not all moms see the value in this, and it can be scary to put yourself out there and meet a group of strangers, but knowing that you’re not alone in your journey as a mama is so important. If you don’t feel up to meeting new people, and already have a group of friends that also have kids, arrange to meet up on an ongoing basis – once a week for a park date or activity. The emphasis here is on connection and the kids will love it too.
8. Plan a MNO, and make it a recurring event in your calendar.
Having a kid-free event with your pals on the calendar can help you survive a hellish week of teething, tantrums, and carpool. Plan something fun and give yourself permission to let daddy or the babysitter be in charge for an evening so you can enjoy yourself and do something that makes you happy.
9. Get a massage or spa treatment.
Do it without guilt. Carrying around little ones doesn’t just take a toll on your brain, but also on your body. If you can’t realistically plan a full day to indulge at a spa, try booking a 30-minute massage and sneaking out to indulge a little. While you might initially feel a little guilty for this indulgence, focus on the way you feel when you return home to your little people, and keep that in mind. Filling your cup is what’s important here.
10. Plan a retreat weekend.
This might sound like a big leap here, and as I shared in my last post, I didn’t get to this one for a while. I took a retreat for a long weekend with a fantastic group of Lady Bosses, and it was fantastic! It took some planning and preparation to leave for 3 days, but I came back refreshed, and rejuvenated. Not having to cook or clean up after people, and enjoying full meals without interruption can sometimes be what we need to wind us back up!
So there you have it – I’ve given you 10 ways to recharge and fill your own cup. As you may have noticed, I started small. If taking time for yourself seems selfish, start small and work your way up to doing things that take a little more time and planning, or create your own list and pick and choose things that make you feel like your best self. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, and could use some help, I’m so happy to support my fellow mamas out there, don’t hesitate – pick up the phone and call me (909)226-6124.