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Self-care for moms is the key to survival during the early years. But how do we do it with littles ones in the house?
When I first started my blog, I wanted to dedicate a portion of it to what I call “Taking care of me.” Taking care of me, or self-care, at it’s most simplistic level is what is it that will help you keep your sanity. What is it that makes you feel less stressed at the end of a long day. Self-care will be different for every mom and it looks different as your kids grow up and goes through different stages. Self-care for moms is probably the hardest when their kids are little. How do you set aside time for yourself when you have little kids that require so much attention?
I look back on the fact that I had a newborn baby and 19 month toddler and I wonder to myself how on Earth did I ever do that?! After I thought about it, I realized I had self-care planned into my day. At the time, it didn’t feel like it. I felt like I never got any time to myself. It wasn’t anything big or exciting, but I had little pockets of time that I looked forward to each day. “Taking care of me” isn’t just about pedicures and girls night. It’s the life in the margins. It’s those daily decisions you make that help you function better.
Self-Care in the Margins
I had tv shows I watched during the nighttime feedings, at naptime, or at bedtime. Something about having a series to binge on makes nighttime feedings a little more bearable.
My husband was working nights at the time so we had our nightly phone calls which were a life saver! I looked forward to these calls every night. Being able to talk to another grown-up uninterrupted felt like such a luxury.
I took the kids for an evening walk almost every day. We all got out of the house and I enjoyed some music or a podcast while we walked. Fresh air does wonders for the soul.
And speaking of podcasts, they were a God send when my kids were little! The amount of podcasts have exploded since then, but back in the day, it was mostly comedians doing podcasts. Which meant, for me, I was listening to something light hearted and fun. I can’t tell you how many times I would be walking along and just start burst out laughing. It is true what they say. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.
I always planned all our trips around nap time so the kids would sleep in the car, and I would get “me” time while driving. And by me time, I mean a quiet car and podcasts.
I love to cook, so I always used dinner time as a time to recharge. When supper time came, the headphones went on, the kids were in front of the tv, and I had space to make dinner. I could have had my oldest in the kitchen with me. Mixing and measuring and soaking in the culinary experience but that wasn’t going to work for me. After caring for them all day, I needed some space.
Self-Care for Moms
Parenthood is taking advice and knowing where to place it in your life. Practicing self-care is a factor in that decision. Here are some other ideas on how you can practice self-care in the margins of your life with littles.
Hiring a cleaning lady once or twice a month to help ease your stress level.
Going to a gym with childcare. Physical activity or just using the wifi while someone else takes care of your kids 😉
Weekly play dates. Contact with other moms is essential to self-care. Socialization should never be viewed as selfish.
Self-care for moms are the simple things that compliment your personality and personality type so you are reaching your full potential. Remember we are creating and shaping lives and we need to be at our best. “Taking care of me” with littles in the house is very, very hard. The days are extremely long and extremely hard but finding those little pockets of me time to look forward to will only increase your happiness and productivity. Not every day is going to be a 10 and there’s no reason why you expect that it should be. Sometimes giving yourself Grace is the best taking care of me you can do.