Here’s why we self care to make ourselves better mamas
‘Self care‘ may be the hot phrase right now, but it’s a concept that’s been around for a while. ‘Me’ time. Emotional Hygiene. Treat yo’ self! Whatever you want to call it, it’s all about taking some time to maintain your own well-being. As Kristin Wong explains in this excellent primer:
“[Self care] is just a few basic habits that are crucial to your functioning…It’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves because when we’re busy and overwhelmed, even a small reprieve feels like a luxury.” But!
“Self care prevents overload burnout, reduces the negative effects of stress, and helps you refocus.”
As mamas, we often bear the brunt of the mental load in our families; it can feel like our time (and our bodies!) belong to everyone but ourselves. And we feel SO guilty if we take a minute, or an hour, away from our kids. Drop the guilt, mama! It’s a challenge, but you’ll eventually realize that putting in the work to self care makes you a more mindful, focused mama the rest of the time when you’re with your kids, or at work, or interacting with your partner.
“I like to carve out one hour a day where I’m moving, whether it’s going to the gym, walking my dog, or chasing my daughter around on her scooter (does it make me a bad mom that I prefer the former two options to the latter?). I put my phone away and really try to be present in the moment; this is my time to clear my head and really helps me focus on everything else the rest of the time. Despite the craziness of juggling a new baby with returning to work and the demands of an energetic 3-year-old, it’s exercise that keeps me sane (along with the support of our amazing helper, of course).”
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“Since I am always on my computer and social media for work I love taking digital time off and have a cup of coffee or tea and read a good book. That usually helps me relax and refocus. If I don’t have a book, a nice long shower and some pampering like a mask does the trick. I used to feel guilty about taking time off and felt bad about making myself a priority, but I realised that I am a better mom, wife and friend when I allow myself a little break here and there. Recently I have also tried to include a weekend away just on my own, just for me, to do what I like when I want to and those have all been amazing, not just for me but for everyone around me, as I come back a better person. Taking time away allows me to have some perspective. I always come back immensely grateful for all the blessings in my life.”
“‘Self care’ is something I’m really bad at but also know that I need to get better at. I’m always in a rush to get out the door, I get so carried away with making myself busy, or wanting to pack too much into my day that I forget to stop, breathe and have some ME time. When I do get around to it I realise that I should do it more often. I am so much better for it. To me, going for a nice massage, curling up on the sofa with a good book or magazine, or an hour of yoga gets me back into the rhythm of life. Note to self – do something for ME once a week!”
“Self care is extremely important to me. I’m a firm believer in the fact that I can take care of my family a lot better if I take care of myself first. So the following self-care routines are an absolute must for me: see a friend at least once a week, exercise at least 3x per week, do a pedicure once a month, do a facial once a month, and buy flowers for the home once a week. I also like to make sure I go to bed on time every night (especially school nights!) no matter how many people call me grandma for it! My sleep is extremely important and makes for a less cranky and much more patient mom the next day 😉 ”
Read More: How a Mama’s Self-Esteem Impacts Her Kids
“I’m seated at my desk for much longer than I should be every weekday, so my mornings and evenings away from my laptop are what I treasure most! In the morning I make sure to squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga to get the blood pumping. It always puts me in a good mood and does a great job of clearing away any laziness/fatigue. At night, I love to sit down and take my time going through a thorough skincare routine right before bedtime – luxurious face massage included. It’s super relaxing, and knowing that I’ll wake up the next day to a supple, well-moisturised face doesn’t hurt!”
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“I feel like I’m taking care of myself when I’m learning something new. If I go too long without taking a class or trying something different, I get this frustrated feeling that I’m only taking care of everyone else and not working on myself. I might take a kimchi-making or Indian cooking class and never repeat a recipe at home (that’s okay!), or take a sewing class just long enough to make a single tote bag (love that one bag!).I love to try new fitness classes and my current obsession is learning the guitar. I usually play at night after the kids go to sleep and it keeps me off Netflix and social media for a change. The freedom of learning without pressure or expectations is really wonderful so I’m perfectly happy being a lifelong dabbler. It’s what makes me feel like i’m doing something for me. ps- I also like mani/pedis :)”
“My F45 addiction fuels me after a long day of sitting behind my laptop. I love challenging my body while my mind is in a happy and focused state of being. The loud music is invigorating and when I close my eyes hard enough, I feel as though I am almost slaying it like Beyoncé! Yoga and Pilates literally straighten me out and help me to focus and relax. Finger licking good Swiss or Belgian chocolate is the yin to my yang. The occasional (foot) massage, facial and lounging by the pool – preferably with chilled wine in hand – make for a very happy and recharged mama!”
For more on self care, we highly recommend checking out this series of TED talks. Be good to yourselves, mamas, because you deserve it.