Self Care Ideas
As mothers or mothers-to-be, we instinctively put the needs our children and partners ahead of our own. Maybe we eat healthy foods we might not be accustomed to, or we put away the computer to play “trains” with our toddler, or possibly never get to that book we so badly want to read because the dishes are stacking high.
It’s hard to find a healthy balance between all the roles that pull us – our careers, hobbies, ambitions, our family, our spouse, and being a mother. And let me just say, I don’t think that tension will ever disappear. However, I do think as moms we tend to travel in the direction of neglecting ourselves more often than not.
Our Oxygen Mask
You know when you are about to fly in an airplane and the flight attendant instructs us in case of an emergency to put OUR oxygen mask on before assisting others?
Well, I think that can be a metaphor for mothering. I think we need to make caring for ourselves as human beings a priority if for no other reason that we will be of no help to those around us if we do not.
In the past few months I have noticed that I have not been taking time to care for myself. I’ve felt worn out, disheveled, unkempt and have I mentioned tired?
I’m so glad I realized this, because I have since been more aware of little opportunities where I can mother myself. It’s these little opportunities I found to be healing… because honestly the big opportunities are far and few between.
I mean, how often does a mama get to go on a retreat in the mountains to medicate? Ooops, I meant meditate! (I didn’t make that typo on purpose but left it because I thought it was so funny!)
Self Care Ideas for Mothers
The following are some small things I have done or seen that has mothered the mother:
- While Gabriel is taking a bath, I have been soaking my feet (in the same tub) and sometimes I have even read a magazine! I like to use a little soap and clean any dirt off, and then if I am really feeling risky I’ll put some lotion on those babies. It almost feels like I had a pedicure. Almost.
- I was at Chick-fil-A a few weeks ago and a mom came in with her three boys. One was a baby in a carseat and the other two preschoolers had a lot of energy. All four of them went to the play place after they ate dinner, she opened her book and read while her kids played. She was right there to sort out their 1,000 concerns during the play time, but she took a moment here and there to read her book. I was impressed.
- Another thing to try is to eat as well as our children. I often find myself giving my kids the best vegetables, or the better food and then giving myself the scraps or the unhealthy leftovers. If I aspired to eat as healthy as my kids, I would be doing myself a solid. I’m not sure why this is even a thing, or how it even began, but by feeding our bodies fresh, healthy food (especially vegetables) our bodies will get the vitamins, minerals and energy to take care of our families. We are worth it!
- One thing that has really helped me is to do chores like cooking, laundry, cleaning and dishes while Gabriel is awake so that during nap time and at night I have time to do the things that can’t be done while he is awake (like blogging, responding to emails, conference calls, paying bills, reading a book, watching a movie, etc). Lately, Gabriel has started “helping” me fold laundry and we make a game of it, so I think there’s a double benefit to this strategy. I think it’s important for kids to grow up learning how to do chores and to be an involved part of the family. This, I guess, is where it starts!
- (Warning! My geeky-ness is about to be revealed) My husband and I are plowing our way through the Merlin series on Netflix. This has been so much fun! We are so dorkily excited to put Gabriel to bed every evening so we can plop ourselves in front of the tv and have some “us” time. Having something fun to look forward to that both you and your partner enjoy is wonderful. If Merlin/Netflix isn’t your thing, find something else! Anything!
- Accept help when offered. Oh boy, this is a huge problem for me. I have the hardest time accepting help when offered it’s ridiculous. This is probably another blog post in itself, so I’ll just say that accepting help is good and healthy to do.
- Another small, but extremely impactful thing I have done is to take the time to read my bible, pray, attend church, sing hymns and other praise songs, go to MOPS, and listen to encouraging things while driving in the car. And pray with my son. It is so precious to hear my son “pray” and thank God for pizza. ♥ I believe this has been my true medicine and what keeps me going.
- One thing that I haven’t done, but would like to do is to go for a walk or run by myself. I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind doing this for me 1-2 times a week, so I’m not sure why I haven’t done it yet. I think I’ll try it out this week.
How About You?
So, I’d love to hear what is working in your lives. What are your self care ideas? How are you mothering yourselves?
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Monday 10th of October 2011
Yay Christi! What a good idea to do those exercises. I bet your kiddos thought it was funny to see mommy doing that. And fabulous for getting out of the house... ALONE!
Thursday 6th of October 2011
Great Post! I have been trying to think of ways to sneak in things for myself throughout the day. Today I did some exercises outside while Samuel played: squats, lunges, etc. I also did my physical therapy exercises on the floor while the babies crawled on me and played with blocks. Another thing I did this week, which I have never done before, was get a baby-sitter on a night that Jason was working so I could go to an event at FSU. I am still in a rut of crashing at the end of Jason's three night time shifts though, and I am not sure how to get out of that.