Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love my son. They will also tell you that he is my #1 priority in this world. He and my husband share a seat at the top of my precedence pyramid. Our extended family, my very best friends, and my job are all close seconds. But guess what? Self-care is also one of my top priorities, and it should be one of yours as well.
I get that you may feel as though taking a little time to yourself is “selfish” parenting. Or maybe you can’t fathom where you would even fit self-care into your already chaotic day. Let me tell you, it’s possible. I work a full time job, I have a child with a physical disability, and I have duties outside of my normal workday. I am the type of mom who could easily lose herself in motherhood.
You know exactly who I’m talking about. She’s a “superwoman” who is an awesome wife and a Grade A mother, but she takes no time out of her busy schedule for herself. As a matter of fact, I tried this route when my son was an infant. And though it may be great for some moms, it did NOT work for me (nor do I think it’s a lifestyle that works for most).
I completely burned myself out and started resenting others who did take time for themselves. I soon realized that pouring from an empty cup was hurting our family dynamic rather than helping it. And I hope that if you feel like I’m speaking directly to you, you’ll realize it, too.
Self-care is not selfish because we moms NEED it to thrive. I actually schedule it into my weeks just like I do my son’s appointments and my household and work related responsibilities. I know that at least one of you out there is saying to herself, “Good for you, but I don’t have time to be so selfish.” But let me tell you, girlfriend, you have the time if you make it, and it’s all about self-preservation, not selfishness!
Here are my top 3 tips for making a self-care routine work for you.
1. Schedule your self-care in advance:
Whether it be a morning yoga session, time to read a book after the kids are in bed, a nail appointment or brunch with your girlfriends, PENCIL IT IN. Then follow through with it. Take your own mental health and physical well-being as seriously as you take the needs and wants of your family. YOU are worth it.
2. Communicate your need for “me time” to those around you:
Your family probably isn’t going to recognize that you need time to yourself unless you verbalize that need to them. Don’t be afraid to tell your significant other or those who share your household/child-rearing responsibilities that you also need some time to work on you. It may feel awkward and even a little selfish to say this out loud, but it will be well worth it in the long haul.
3. Do NOT feel guilty before, during, or after self-care:
Nothing ruins a pedicure, shopping trip, or a date night like mommy guilt. And mama, you have NOTHING to feel guilty about. So when you are doing whatever it is that puts you in your best frame of mental, emotional, and physical health, enjoy the moment. Soak it in. You work hard for everyone else 90% of the time. Know in your heart that you DESERVE this 10%.
So go ahead and schedule that coffee date, solo shopping trip to Target, workout, or Netflix binge. Heck, schedule a girls weekend for the fall while you’re at it. Because you, Mama, truly are worth it, and those who love you deserve you at your best.