Moms: Take care of yourself.
The younger the kids, the harder mom has to work!
Moms of young children don’t seem to be able to get a break, they have far more demands than any other job in the world, yet no breaks, no time off, and usually no assistant.
I remember when my daughter was very young, for about 2 years, I wasn’t even able to go pee and have those few minutes to myself. I would only be able to sneak off for private time in the bathroom, or anywhere else in the evening when my husband was home, or on the off chance that there was someone visiting, then I could close the door and take care of my business alone, quietly, like an adult human. What a luxury that was!
I know every mom in the world knows what I'm talking about, and most did not mind it in the moment because it is what you do for those tiny little lives that you love so much. It has been many years since I was in that situation, my daughter is now an adult with a child of her own. I still remember the days though when I was so tired I couldn't give another ounce of energy, yet somehow, from somewhere, I had the energy I needed when I needed it, always.
Even though I was not aware of the need for self-care during that stage of my life, I was certainly well aware of the personal need for it. During much of my daughter's young life my husband traveled for his job, and he was gone for weeks at a time. It was exhausting to have no one coming home in the afternoon to give me some relief, if only a few minutes to myself.
I learned during those days how important it is to plan ahead, to have a list of things to do that will not only entertain the kids, but also give you a break too. I so enjoyed going to the zoo or the children's museum or anything young child related that was different. It broke up the daily routine, make my day so much more fun and allowed for such joy that it was play, not work at all. That is mom self-care with kids.
Self-care with kids is a great way to have fun together and enjoy the day. It helps you to get away from normal and make a special day our of whatever you are doing. It can be as simple as having a picnic in the back yard and pretending that you are camping, to something much more elaborate like going to an attraction like the zoo, aquarium, park or museum. The whole point is about doing something special, and it needs to be done regularly, like once a month or more. It will help every family member have a better attitude, and give mom the breaks she needs from her normal routine.
One of my daughter's favorite things to do was to bake, cookies, cakes anything that involved stirring and sprinkles. One of my fond memories is of her sitting on the kitchen counter stirring a bowl full of cookie dough, she was very small, not yet walking. By the end of the cookie making day she was head to toe in dough, but she loved it. I do have to admit that sometimes the aftermath of our fun days lead to more cleaning for me, but it was well worth the mess for the enjoyment and now memories that were created.
While being able to get self-care with the kids is great for all involved, it is also very important that mom makes plans to get private time for just herself. This can be inviting a friend to come visit or going to someone's home to visit them, it can be having a sitter come watch the child while mom takes a bath and reads a book, or she can go out and do something. Anything that takes mom out of her routine and gets her to relax is self-care.
The times that self-care happens need to be planned for, it's not one of those things that you can just wait to see when there is time for it. You will be waiting til after the child's high school graduation party if you do it that way. Motherhood takes planning, and planning to make time to take care of mom needs to be at the top of that list.
What Is Mom Self-Care?
Time Away from Routine
Anything that is out of the normal. Even if it leads to additional work it can be fun and relaxing in the moment, and well worth the extra clean-up or set-up work.
Relaxation for Mom
Relaxation means different things to different people, so whatever makes you feel rested, and relaxed could be considered self-care for you. When deciding if something fits into the category of self-care make sure it is something you enjoy doing and that it makes you truly relax while you are doing it.
Fun is especially important when it also includes the kids. If it is just mom alone time though the fun factor is not quite as important. Anything that mom enjoys doing that she gets joy from doing can be considered self-care.
This element can be as short as 10 or 15 minutes, as long as they are meaningful and truly relaxing minutes that are greatly enjoyed. Relaxing with a favorite beverage, some nice music and nothing but peace on the mind can make for a wonderful escape. It doesn't need to take very long to gain the benefit from the experience.
I think this is the most tricky element, because many moms will say they don't have time in their day for self-care. However, if they forced themself to take a break when the child had a nap, or was being entertained by something it would positive energy to their day. As described above, it only takes a few minutes per day to relax and enjoy yourself.
I would suggest that every mom plan for a 20 - 30 minute time in each day that is their own time to read, relax, do yoga, whatever makes them happy.
Then, if possible do something bigger more elaborate once per week, or more if possible. This could be a trip out of the house to a place as simple as the grocery store, depending on the child and the age of course. Anything that is fun for everyone and that mom enjoys is going to be mom self-care.
Write two lists, the first would be for everyday things that you can do that don't take much time, or effort but that add positive value and relaxation to a busy day. The second list would be for things that you can do that are bigger more elaborate things, places to go, things that will take planning and preparation at home.
Use a weekly planner to make sure that you don't forget important things. Plan your self-care. If you need to get a sitter, make sure to arrange that well in advance.
It is vital that every mom take time for herself each and every day. For some moms, depending on their unique situation it might be only a few minutes a couple times per day. While for others it can be longer periods of time, usually depending on the age of their children, and availability of another adult.
Most busy moms will choose to forgo a relaxing cup of tea, or a short nap and instead will go clean the kitchen when the baby goes to sleep. It's true that the kitchen needs to be cleaned up, but if the young mom could just realize how much benefit both she and her baby would get from her also taking a rest, she would change her opinion.
Below is a great article on the importance of mom resting while the children nap it comes from Power of Moms.com from October 2008.
Click here to go to that post, where you can read it or listen to it.
by: Wendy Mae, Ph.D.
Academy of Spirit
The author of all blog posts on this page is Wendy Mae, Ph.D.
Academy of Spirit
PO Box 82854
Kenmore, WA 98028 USA
AcademyofSpirit (at) gmail.com
must remove (at) and replace it with @