Self care is a topic that I always thought was a little “woo-woo”. A little too indulgent for a mother of three boys.
I didn’t have time to go to the spa or away for a girls weekend. Maybe one day. . .
Fast forward 10 years and now I am the mother of three teenage boys (17, 15, 13) and I am looking at the future with tear filled eyes. Soon they will be out of our house and on with their own lives.
I often look back and wonder if I could have been a better mother if I had taken the time to take care of myself.
Those first years (with 3 boys under 4) were really hard. Sleepless nights, constant activity during the day and all that noise! It was crazy.
So I am writing this as a person that is starting to make self care a priority. I should have done it much sooner.
How do I define self care?
Self care is simply taking care of your own needs without guilt. It doesn’t mean you don’t take care of others.
It just means that you realize your health and wellbeing is just as important as others in your life.
Why is self care important?
Women (and mothers especially) tend to always put others first in their priorities and time management.
This is a great quality and should not be diminished.
But taking time to make self care a part of your routine can allow you to stay healthy and sane so that you can take care of others around you.
For so long, I didn’t take care of my health because I felt dieting or working out was taking away from my kids and family. I knew that wasn’t true, but I always put things off to “some day” when the kids were grown.
I would always feel guilty for taking a day for me, even when I was a stay at home mom that was with my kids 24/7 on most days. Mom guilt (for those that work inside or outside of the home) is real and can keep you from taking time for yourself.
How do I make time for self care?
Making time for self care doesn’t mean you abandon your family. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about them.
Making time for self care means you realize that you are your best when you feel good and healthy. You feel and act more patient and understanding with your family when you take care of yourself too.
If you have little ones around, time for self care is limited. But that doesn’t mean it is gone all together. A little break can go along way (and I’m not talking about hiding in the bathroom!).
10 Ideas for healthy self care that don’t take much time:
- Taking a shower uninterrupted.
- Painting your toenails.
- Eating healthy.
- Watching your favorite tv show after the kids go to bed.
- Relax in your garden and enjoy what you have accomplished.
- Listening to music you love (and maybe have a dance party).
- Go for a walk.
- Getting dressed and ready for the day.
- Reading a new book.
- Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
10 Ideas for healthy self care that might take extra planning (but are necessary):
- Date night with your husband.
- Yearly physical.
- Going to the dentist (atleast once a year, twice is better).
- Girls night out with your mom friends.
- Shopping (by yourself or with a friend).
- A weekend getaway or anniversary trip.
- Lunch with a friend.
- Learn a new skill (photography, painting, gardening, etc).
- Go to a museum or movie with a friend.
Self care may seem indulgent and unnecessary. But it isn’t, believe me.
If you are a mother of young children, your kids take everything you’ve got. That is natural and normal.
But one day they will grow up and you might just wonder what happened to you.
Maybe you’re overweight because you ate your feelings and frustrations.
Maybe you and your husband are strangers because all you ever did was worry and fuss over the kids.
Maybe you don’t have any friends because you never took time to talk or spend time with them.
You can be a good mother and still take a few minutes a day for yourself (see the first idea list).
You can be a good mother and leave your children or family for a few hours or days (see the second idea list).
The things on both of these idea lists can recharge your batteries so that you can be a better version of you; the mom, wife and friend you want to be.
I’m not saying that you need to go to the spa or travel Europe to practice self care. In this case, a little goes a long way.
So if you don’t have much time, make it count. I’ve been there. I understand. And I wish I had done this sooner in my life. It can make all the difference.
How do you practice healthy self care in your life? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!