Self-care for busy moms
For many of the moms we work with, the average day feels like a race against the clock. Even the most organized and balanced of moms find it difficult to make time for self-care. The daily race to meet all of your child’s non-negotiable needs, accomplish all necessary household tasks, manage playdates and school expectations, and, often, fit work in as well, leaves moms stressed and depleted.
The average mom just doesn’t have time for self-care
When you layer the needs of a unique child to the top of a mom’s already full plate, simple self-care practices feel completely out of reach. Things like getting a full night’s sleep or making regular time for a quiet bath become distant memories. Indulging in activities like exercise, for instance, or a girl’s night out, leave many moms feeling guilty for taking a break from “real life” to have fun.
It’s easy for moms to get into the self-sacrifice mindset, but we’re here to tell you — you will be a happier, more patient mom if you find a little time for you. Even if it’s just on Mother’s Day.
But is self-care really that big of a deal? What is self-care, really and how does it actually benefit you?
The definition of self-care
The World Health Organization defines self-care as: “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
How self-care can help you
Everyday Health outlines self-care as anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. As a result, you may experience better physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress.
Examples of self-care practices
Incorporating self-care practices are as important to your health as remembering to eat breakfast. Modeling this value to your children will help them learn boundaries, self-respect, time-management, and other basic life skills. Here are a few self-care examples:
- 1. Maintaining a regular sleeping routine. In practice. Explaining to your child that you can’t read a fifth book, because mommy is tired and needs sleep, too.
- 2. Eating healthy. In practice. Taking five extra minutes in the morning to sit down and eat something nourishing. Even if your kids are yelling for help to find their homework or their other favorite yellow sock. You deserve more than those two leftover bites of breakfast pizza that you scarf down while getting your kids into the car.
- 3. Spending time in nature. In practice. Committing to a daily walk around the block for ten minutes or so can give you the nature boost you need to feel just a little more grounded. Not in a place where you can pop out for a stroll? Consider taking a few minutes to sit quietly on your porch, in a park, or on a patio. Just stepping outside for a small, uninterrupted period of time can help you feel more relaxed.
- 4. Do a hobby you enjoy. In practice. Making a point of pulling out that knitting project from last winter while your child is busy with their own activity. Demonstrating that you have interests, too, and invest time in those interests is a very important practice to model.
- 5. Expressing gratitude. In practice. Committing to showing thanks to those around you. It can be difficult to both feel and express gratitude when you’re managing a high-maintenance home, but there are big benefits to expressing gratitude. For starters, it can actually start to make you feel more grateful. Beyond that, it’s another great behavior to model for your kids. You never know, they may even start showing you gratitude from time to time!
Prioritizing your personal needs and interests will show your children (and the rest of your family) that you are more than a mommy machine. You are a person who has needs and goals outside of the immediate needs of all the people around you. Implementing a self-care practice can be a little awkward, or even stressful, at first. In time, though, it becomes second nature.
As for Mother’s Day, we want to give you permission to make plans …. alone if you want to. After your traditional Mother’s Day breakfast at home with the fam, feel free to leave! If your idea of feeling cared for and honored involves going to a spa alone or taking yourself out for a solo hike or shopping trip, do it.
Your kids or partner may not understand or appreciate this new self-care priority in the beginning. They may be confused by your sudden need for “alone time.” But try to remember: the happier and healthier you are, the better mom and partner you will be. Now, start relaxing!
We’re Here to Help
You don’t have to do this alone. Schedule a FREE 20-minute discovery session for help sorting through the complexities of your individual child. Start getting support for your family’s unique path and learn more about our coaching and consultation options.
If you’re the single mom of a unique child and self-care feels out of reach, dating probably does, too. Check out our recent post, Dating While Parenting Special Needs Children, for tips.