You take care of everyone else in your house and the house itself. But what about you? Do you do anything to take care of yourself? Or are you surviving on coffee and leftover bits of your kids’ lunches, running around in ill-fitting maternity yoga pants, even though your “baby” is almost two?
Yes, that is a very specific (if not slightly sad) example from my life, but I know it is the truth for a lot of other moms too!
After trying to do this mom thing on nothing but fumes for the first several years, I was totally depleted in every way. I knew something had to change. It’s one thing to put your needs aside for a couple of months when you have a new baby. Our mommy instincts sustain us in that season. It’s a completely different thing to be living in survival mode for years.
Here are some of the things that have helped me to move out of survival mode and into a place of thriving as a mom. Everyone’s list will look different, but I hope my personal experience inspires you to take care of yourself! You are worthy of that, mama!
1) Get out of mommy mode and just be a grown-up sometimes.
It can’t always be about the kids. Read books that aren’t about kids or parenting. Take classes and pursue your interests. (I love Clickin’ Moms and The Influence Network. They offer great classes and you don’t even have to leave the house)! Or, just have a glass of wine and stay up late watching Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. It’s good to be your own person and just feel like an adult once in awhile!
2) Take a bubble bath.
Sometimes the promise of a relaxing soak in the tub is the carrot that gets me through to the end of the day. Get some fancy bath products or steal some bubble bath from your kids. Either way, you will emerge refreshed and relaxed!
I know no one wants to hear this, but it’s true. Exercise itself helps you feel happy and energetic- not to mention how you feel when your clothes fit better! Luckily, it only takes a little bit here and there to make a difference. Hop on the treadmill for a few minutes during naptime or go for a family walk after dinner. Squeeze in (haha!) squats and other simple strength exercises while you are waiting for your coffee to brew. Every little bit counts.
4) Go on, primp a little!
I know this isn’t for everyone and I am certainly not saying you need to look picture perfect every day, but a quick shower and a dash of makeup can change your whole attitude. If you like a nice manicure, try using long-wearing nail products so you can keep it up easily. Make (and keep!) hair appointments for yourself. It is all too easy to brush these things off as being frivolous, but its true that when you look good, you feel good!
5) Invest in some “work clothes”.
For full-time moms in particular, it is easy to ignore what we are wearing to our 24-7 jobs. Many days, no one but our family sees us and whatever we are wearing will usually have other people’s food on it by, oh, 9:02AM.
But what we wear affects how we feel about ourselves! I am hardly a fashionista, but I know the difference between the “exhausted, haven’t been shopping in two years mom” look (been there) and the “pulled-together mom” look (working toward it).
Try using Pinterest or other moms whose style you admire to figure out what your “work look” is, and build a capsule wardrobe. For me, this means I am usually in some variation of skinnies and a tee shirt- with layers and length varying by season. Add in some decent shoes, a few necklaces or a scarf, and you have yourself a super simple and practical mom wardrobe. (Bonus: this really simplifies shopping too)!
6) Find some encouragement.
Whether it’s a “real life” mom friend or an online resource, having someone to relate to your struggles and encourage you as a mother is huge. I have yet to have an honest conversation with another mom and come away feeling discouraged. Every mom confession or kid problem I have ever shared or heard has always been met with an empathetic me too. It is so refreshing to realize you are not the only one who has struggles in motherhood! (Looking for online community? Thrive Moms is wonderful)!
If nothing else, I hope this post helps you to realize its okay (and necessary!) to take care of yourself. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your family! A balanced, well cared for mom makes for a happy, peaceful home!
Do you struggle with taking care of yourself? Or do you have a great tip? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on this topic.
We need to take of ourselves, and our homes too! Click here to see some of the strategies that help me keep my house together.