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I remember sitting on the bathroom floor, my back against the locked door sobbing as my newborn cried in his bassinet and my four year old pounded on the door begging me to just let her in . My husband had flown halfway across the country to start his new job, leaving me alone with the two children, one just a week old, for two weeks. We had just sold our home and I was needing to pack. We had been in a car accident and I needed to work out the details of our new vehicle. My life was a mess.
All I wanted was a minute to myself or I was sure I was going to lose my mind. When did I last eat? When did I last shower? What day is it again? It was more chaos than I’m equipped to deal with.
So I was extremely thankful for a weekend spent at my mom’s house so that I could just. shower. I’m not sure how long I spent in her bathroom that first night, but I ran the shower until the hot water ran out. I walked out of that bathroom feeling like a whole new woman.
Whether you are a brand new mom or your kids are grown, self care is important. It keeps you at your optimal well being while giving you more patience and mindfulness to be with your kids. But it can be hard to prioritize time for yourself. Even now that my son is six months old, I still feel guilty taking a half hour for myself. But I always feel so refreshed after I’ve done something for me, and it helps me give the best of myself to my kids.
5 Self Care Tips
1. Take a bath or shower.
Now, this may sound like a no-brainer, but I assure you this is one of the simplest things you can do to recharge and refresh. A hot shower with a great playlist on Spotify has always been my favorite way to de-stress. I find it even more relaxing now that I have kids. Whenever I have had a particularly frustrating day with the kids, I feel like that hot shower is the easiest form of self care for me. I usually wait until my husband is home to keep the kids occupied, but admittedly there have been plenty of times when I’ve given the five year old her tablet while the baby sleeps, just so I can slip in for a quick five minute shower to feel refreshed.
2. Take a trip to the salon.
This is something I have yet to do since the birth of my son, but there’s nothing like the feeling of someone else washing your hair. Even going in for a simple trim can be so relaxing. It doesn’t matter what I’m having done to my hair, I almost always fall asleep in the chair! If you’re anything like me, you may have a hard time spending the extra money on yourself, but sometimes it’s just worth it if it means you get to keep your sanity. That one hour without the kids and having someone take care of you for once can be just what you need to be ready to tackle motherhood again.
Again, this may be another no-brainer. I recently started walking on the track at our local YMCA and I have made it my goal to get in two miles each time I go. I simply drop the older child off at their Child Watch, turn on my favorite playlist or podcast and push the baby in the stroller. I highly recommend starting some form of exercise once given the ‘ok’ by your care provider, and walking is definitely a great start, especially if you weren’t that active prior to having your baby, like me. Once the weather turns, I can’t wait to start getting my walks in the fresh air outside!
4. Eat well and drink water.
When I’m not eating the best or when I’m avoiding water, I can tell in how I generally feel. And if I’m not feeling great, my patience is spread thin with my kids. Who wants a mom like that? I also want to set a good foundation of wellness for my children, so it’s important to me for them to see me eating well and drinking plenty of water. Sometimes, when the kids are screaming or fighting or pushing your buttons, just taking a minute to drink a glass of fresh water can give you the jumpstart you need.
5. Spend time doing something you love.
Whether it’s reading a book, working on a craft or project, or writing in a journal – whatever it is that brings you joy – make it a priority to do that every day. I have a few things I enjoy doing; sometimes it’s knitting, sometimes it’s writing, sometimes it’s just spending a little extra time in God’s word. But whenever I take the time to engage in that which brings me joy, I always come out feeling refreshed. Find something that makes you feel more you, and invest in that. You are worth it!
Ultimately, we as moms tend to give and give so much of ourselves to our family that we forget to make time for us. But whether your goal is to be a positive role model for your kids, regain patience with your children, or have energy to stay up after the kids go down to spend time with your partner, finding a few extra minutes each day to care for yourself will give you the fuel and motivation you need to move through your day.