Practical advice on how to practice self-care when you have little kids in the house.
Raise your hand if you have ever felt this way since becoming a mom: overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, or lonely? Of course you have! Motherhood is hard. It’s amazing, rewarding, and so much fun, but it’s also challenging. That’s why it’s so important we practice self-care as moms.
Self-care leaves you feeling calm, restored and recharged. It lifts your spirits, energizes you, and leaves you feeling positive. And when we neglect ourselves, we feel the domino affect from lack of self-care.
I believe self-care means doing ONE thing that makes you feel less stressed. One simple thing so at the end of a long day you don’t feel so stressed. What is it that you need to do to help you keep your sanity?
It’s important to note that self-care looks different for every mom. What works for one person isn’t going to work for the next. Most of all self-care shouldn’t feel like work.
Abundant Mama wrote an excellent article titled “Self-Care Shouldn’t Feel Like More Work.” And, amen!!! It’s why I don’t consider working out self-care. Because I hate exercise. I know it’s good for me and it needs to be done, but it is certainly not “me time.” For some mothers, exercise is something they enjoy and it fits the category of self-care. And that is awesome!!
What you need to do is figure out is what works best for you, because then self-care will be much easier to fit into your life.
But how do you fit self-care into your life when you have little kids and your life is being pulled in a million different directions?
Once upon a time, I had a newborn baby and 19 month toddler and I wonder to myself how on Earth did I ever do that?! I came to realize I had self-care planned into my day. At the time, it didn’t feel like it. I felt like I never had any time to myself.
It wasn’t anything big or exciting, like a girls night out or a spa day, but the little pockets of time that I looked forward to each day. Self-care 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
The key to self-care for moms is making sure we schedule it into our busy days. I know that sounds hard with the unpredictability of little kids. But I promise you can do this. It’s not hard to find those little pockets of time in your day. Think about your day as a series of manageable blocks. Morning, nap time, afternoon, evening. Which of these blocks will allow you a few minutes of something you enjoy or a few minutes all to yourself?
For me, my self-care was fit into the afternoon and evening. Morning was for playing with the kids, running errands, and doing mom stuffs.
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.
If we were home during nap time, I would, for lack of a better term, decompress. Relax, breath, and enjoy the silence. I would either enjoy a quick tv show or listen to a podcast.
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 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, but after caring for them all day, I needed some space.
After supper,I took the kids for an evening walk almost every day. We all got out of the house, fresh air does wonders for the soul. Because I had one kid in the stroller and another running down the sidewalk, I enjoyed some music or a podcast while we walked.
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.
After the kids were asleep, I would catch up on some dvr’ed tv shows which I also enjoyed during the nighttime feedings. Something about having a series to binge on makes nighttime feedings a little more bearable.
Self-Care for Moms
Here are some other ideas on how you can practice self-care in the margins of your life with littles.
- Reading for pleasure or personal growth.
- Take a bath.
- Nap while your kids are napping.
- Go to bed early.
- Listen to music. Here are some of my favorite songs!
- Email a friend.
- Go 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 mothers create and shape lives and we need to be at our best. Self-care 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 contentment.
What does your self-care routine look like? How to you carve time out for yourself during the day?