As a mom, it’s very easy to ignore our self needs, simply because we often choose to put our family and their needs first. While there’s nothing wrong with caring for our families, as a top priority, mothers need to practice self care.
Self care is; taking time out from your busy life, to take care of YOU. Sometimes life can get a little hectic and cause us to forget how important it is to take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically.
Ironically, practicing self care could actually feel like another daily chore on your to-do list. Many mothers would love to treat themselves to a day of relaxation, but can’t find time to fit it into their schedule and would rather sleep in on an off-day.
While getting sleep is just as important, as any self care practice, it just simply isn’t enough. There’s more to life outside the walls of our bedrooms and I encourage all mothers to get up and experience it. Experience life again.
Why is self care important for mothers?
Having a baby brings on a range of a new changes, feeling and emotions. From the moment you learn you’re expecting, your body and hormones begin to shift. You experience weight gain, skin changes, tiredness and [involuntarily], aboard an emotional roller-coaster. Therefore, it’s easy not to feel like yourself in this time.
After giving birth, we experience more change, along with even more responsibility. Naturally, we feel that we must put all things aside, so we can step into our new role of motherhood.
Becoming a mother doesn’t mean we have to set aside our own needs and choosing not to, doesn’t make us selfish. As a matter of fact, a great part of being a great mother, is taking care of ourselves.
Furthermore, ignoring self needs can have more negative affects on us and our family, than benefits and can lead to anxiety or depression.
Depression and Self-loss
Falling into depression while pregnant or after birth, is more common than people discuss. It’s never planned, no one expects to experience depression and it’s very easy to encounter. Depression can look or feel different on each individual and is often associated with feelings of self loss.
This is something even I myself experienced. I put many things in life on hold, my career, hobbies, my social life, even my marriage felt different. Eventually I began to feel as if, everything I was used to, was changing and I became unrecognizable.
So, I discussed this with my husband and we decided it was time for me to dedicate more of my time to self care and things I loved. Once doing so, my mood was brighter, I complained less, I accomplished more tasks around the home and everyone benefited from it. I honestly believe it made me a better wife and mom to my son.
Babies can sense our feelings and emotions.
Although babies can’t talk yet, one way they’ve learned to communicate with us, is through our emotions. The same way we use baby cues to determine our babies wants and needs, our babies do the same.
They can tell from our display of facial expressions or tone in voice, if we are happy, sad, serious, angry or excited. Whether or not we chose to accept it, our mood affects our babies more than we know.
That’s why, it’s important for mothers to maintain their emotional and mental health. So that we can display happiness and joy around our children and share that joy with them.
The more laughs and smiles you give to your baby, the more you’ll receive in return. Seeing your baby happy and smiling, is enough to brighten an entire day.
A Better You
Aside from having a better mood, you’ll also, most likely be capable of completing more tasks at hand. The more you take care of yourself, the better you’ll feel. The better you feel, the more motivated you are.
Being able to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself or complete the check list you’ve created for the day, will make you feel less overwhelmed and give you the encouragement you need, to keep on going.
Furthermore, you’ll feel refreshed, rejuvenated and have more energy to invest in your family.
How to make time for self care.
The first step towards finding time for self care, is to make it a priority. Add it to your list of very important things to do, because it is just that important. In order to effectively take care of your baby, your husband, home and work, you must first take care of you.
Of course that’s easier said than done. Just like flight procedures; you’re told to put your oxygen mask on, before your children. Though, how many people believe they would actually do that?
Here are 5 tips on how to find time, as a mom, to practice self care.
Create a Schedule
With a daily schedule, it’ll be easier for you to pre-determine the times you have available, such as; when your baby is asleep. That will also help you to create a sleep routine for your baby. Then you can try to sleep when they sleep at night and use their daytime naps for self care.
Ask your husband/partner to help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Even if only for 1 hour, ask your husband or partner for some uninterrupted time to yourself. Within an hour, you can put on a face mask, pour a glass of wine or tea and run a bubble bath with your favorite essential oils or bath bomb.
If you can get 2 hours that would be even better, that way you won’t feel rushed. Most breastfed babies will go a full 2 hours before needing to nurse again. 1-2 hours of self care a day will make a noticeable difference.
Encourage independent play
Even when your baby isn’t asleep, and your husband isn’t available, there’s a away to find time to practice self care. It’s understandable that our partners work long hours and sometimes naps aren’t as predictable as we would like them to be. Encouraging independent play for your baby can be useful.
Babies can benefit from some alone time just as much as any human. Take advantage of that time. Although you’ll want to monitor your baby while they play in a safe area, try to do something that doesn’t require you being alone. For example; a 15 minute workout.
Include your baby
Who says you can’t practice self care with your little one. Its possible and can also be fun, allowing some extra, special time for bonding. Examples of self care activities you can do with your little one are; yoga, taking a walk, aromatherapy, face/skin masks and making a nutritional smoothie.
Attend a mommy and me yoga class. Put your baby in the stroller and take a walk around the neighborhood for exercise. Purchase an essential oil diffuser and use mood boosting essential oils like lavender or orange, for a relaxing aromatherapy session. Depending on the ingredients you choose, your baby over 6 months old, can enjoy a skin mask and smoothie along with you!
Maybe your baby just wants to be near you most of the day. That’s common in a healthy mother and baby relationship and STILL doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in self care practice.
Baby wearing is very convenient and allows you to carry your baby hands free, while getting important things done around the home. Use it! Place your baby in a baby-carrier or baby-wrap, while you do your hair or make up, read a book, meditate and more.
More Self Care Tips and Ideas
While those are just a few ways, you can find time to practice self care, right at home. Here are more self care practices that you may enjoy.
Schedule a 60-90 minute massage session
Who doesn’t love a massage? Choose a day that works for you and book a session. Carrying a baby/toddler, cleaning and moving around all day, can eventually put a physical strain on your body muscles. That alone can cause you to feel stress. Getting regular massages and taking care of our body, keeps us looking, feeling and behaving youthful. Furthermore, massages are great, just because and provide a relaxing experience.
Eat and Sleep
Although this one seems obvious, there are actually days that I’ve been so overwhelmed that I just couldn’t sleep or some days I wanted so bad to sleep, that I would skip out on meals to do so. Eventually, the lack of nutrition just made me feel, even more tired. After a night’s sleep, I would still wake up tired.
Our bodies need an adequate amount of nutrition and food to stay energized and well functioning. While I understand how easy it is to forget meals and how difficult sleep may come about, it’s most essential for self care. Next time you’re out at the grocery store, shopping for baby items, add some healthy meals to the list just for YOU.
Self grooming is another basic necessity that we easily ignore. When you have an eventful day and full task list waiting for you in the morning, getting pretty is probably last on your list. Though, I believe looking great, can help you to feel great and is the perfect start of any day.
Spending the entire day in pajamas is very tempting, but I like to think that “how you look, is how you feel”. So, try to put some extra effort into your appearance, the better you look, the better you’ll feel. Time to say good-bye to messy buns and get your groove back! Checkout 10 Beauty Hacks for Busy Moms, Quick and Easy!
Whether therapeutic or just for fun, finding a hobby or revisiting one you used to love, can surely be a self care practice. Maybe you love to paint, play music, dance or write. Whatever it is you enjoy doing in your spare time, doing so can boost your overall mood and happiness.
Our hobbies, talents and skills are apart of who we are. Therefore, don’t let it go to waste. When given or taking the chance, get lost in doing something that makes you feel great and purposeful.
You don’t have to be a body builder or out of shape to workout. Exercise is a recommendation for EVERYONE and contributes to our overall health. Working out is fundamental in self care practice for the physical, mental and emotional benefits it will provide. Even if only for 15 minutes, doing a light exercise such as; jogging, walking, jumping jacks, stretching, squatting or bicycling can have a long lasting effect on you.
If we barely have time for ourselves, how could we possibly have time for others? I know that’s probably what you are thinking, but you owe it to yourself to get out from under that rock! Catch up with an old friends or spend time with family. They’ll be happy to see and hear from you and you can indulge in some great conversation and laughter.
Sometimes as mothers, we dedicate all of our time to our children and partner and leave no time for social interaction. Having a social life is important so that you can keep good relationships with the people who love and care about you. You may also miss spending time with your old friends, so why not call them up from brunch or dinner.
Aside from social interaction with your friends and family, finding time to spend alone with your partner, husband or significant other can have a great affect on your overall mood as well. Even if you live in the same house, having a new baby around or having multiple children can seemingly, take away from the time you used to spend with each other.
While your partner is very aware and understanding of the circumstances, you could both really benefit from a date night. Whether it’s at home or away. A good idea would be to prepare a candle light dinner, with soft music and couple massages, at the home while the baby/children are asleep. Although we appear to be super mom, we are still human and humans need love and affection.
When you’re with child, your body goes through a ton of changes and your weight will be up and down. Chances are, you’ve packed away most of your pre-pregnancy clothing, to make space for your maternity clothes. Then, after giving birth you packed away your maternity clothes, to make room for after-pregnancy clothing.
After birth, it takes a while for our bodies to get back to our pre-pregnancy size and there’s a chance that it will not be the exact same. Therefore, a shopping trip may be appropriate. Plan a day, even if for a couple hours, to go out and find clothing that you like and fits you well.
Doing so can give you a chance to enjoy some self care and you’ll feel better knowing you have a fresh, new wardrobe of clothes that actually fit comfortably.
Meditate, Pray, Motivate
This is one of my favorite self care tips. Whenever I feel less like myself or discouraged, I can usually reset my mindset with a prayer or motivational passage. Motivational books that have quotes, and passages that inspire positivity are great. Prayer and motivation are great as well. Whatever helps you to feel motivated and brings out the better parts of you, are a great start towards self care practice.
Plan a get away
A get away may seem like a far stretch when you are a mother, because we either do not want to leave our family or we consider it, to be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes there are some considerations to take, but none that aren’t worth it.
Plan to go somewhere close. If your baby is used to a family member or sitter, you may benefit from a weekend get away. If you’re a new mom or anything like me and couldn’t bring yourself to leave your little one, planning a family trip could be beneficial as well.
A nearby resort that has many, on-site activities are great so that you don’t have to travel too far or often. A cruise could also be great. Finding one that has a nearby departure would be best, so that you could travel by car and pull over when needed. Check out this article on how to travel with a baby.
Be kind to yourself
It’s okay, to take care of YOU, self care is healthy and there’s nothing wrong, with craving a little “you time”. Understandably, It can be hard as a mother, to want to do things for ourselves, without feeling guilty or selfish, but we have to get out of that negative mind frame.
Motherhood is a great experience and one that we should be proud of and enjoy. Many mothers don’t get a chance to enjoy motherhood, because they’re just too tired and overwhelmed.
Once we stop being so hard on ourselves and allow ourselves to be human, we can be more accepting to self love. That means indulging in some well deserved self-care from time to time.
So, even if only for a short period of time, and just a few times per week, I encourage EVERY mother to find time to practice self care. You deserve it and you NEED it.
It’s important for avoiding depression/ anxiety and your mind, body and family will thank you for it. The improvement of your health and mood will show and have a positive affect on the people around you. They love you and want to see you happy and healthy.
Overall, practicing self care will give you focus, stability, comfort and confidence in your role, as a mother. It will help you to feel at peace and ease throughout this wonderful journey of motherhood. Making you even better at what you do.
Try to keep in mind, a great part of being a great mother, is taking care of ourselves.Babes N’ Beauty
I hope you found this article helpful, if so, you may also enjoy Are Mom’s Allowed to Feel Tired?