All mothers out there know how difficult it can be to perform at their best in all of the roles that we occupy each day. Between chaotic morning routines, schedule cramming, grocery shopping, work, school, and general running-the-household duties- it is common for self-care to fall at the bottom of the priority list. You have heard the phrase ‘being a mother is a thankless job’ and on some days the stress of this responsibility is crippling. As you can imagine, it is easy to get ‘down in the dumps’ while being a mom and I personally think that neglecting self care is the root cause of it.
Think about it, you go all day usually doing tasks for other people, the to-do lists are endless, and you rarely have time to take a load off. Then once you go without for awhile, it really starts to wear on you and for me personally, I began developing a pessimistic outlook on life which was strange for me as I have always been extremely optimistic. I rarely left the house, I dwelled on my seemingly never-ending problems, and I wasn’t taking very good care of myself. I finally had the realization that I was my own problem because I wasn’t carving out the time I required to keep my stamina at a higher performing level.
I wasn’t owning my energy and what I mean by that is I wasn’t doing anything to combat this from happening, I kept making more excuses.
Once I became aware and responsible for my energy, things started to change. I thought to myself ‘how can I improve my daily energy levels, what makes me happy, creates a pep in my step?’. So I started working out about 4-6 times per week. I know this can be difficult to squeeze in each week, but this is what worked for me. On top of working out, I started taking better care of myself each day in the area of beauty routines and style. I have always liked to dress nice and have at least a splash of makeup on, and I walked a little taller when I felt pretty so why not implement this in everyday?
Even if it is some BB cream, mascara, filling in the eyebrows, and some lipgloss- swap the baggy t-shirt and yoga pants for some jeans and a cute top. You will be surprised at how little effort this actually takes and the benefits are well worth it. I know for me personally, I feel much better when I have clean hair and look somewhat cute. However, don’t get the impression that I do this 100% of the time. The other day I spent the day in my pajamas and bathrobe (it was Sunday in my defense), and currently I am wearing a hoodie and yoga pants. My point in all of this is to switch this routine up when you do have errands to run that day. Again, you will be surprised how little effort it takes and you will have a pep in your step that day because when you look good, you feel good. There should be no shame in your makeup and style game.
Now that was just one example of a way that by nurturing the self can have positive impacts on mood and perspective. There are many ways you can create time for yourself each day and in turn, start living a more positive and fulfilling life.
This will look different from everyone, but here are the ways I personally practice Self-Care….
I start each day with a grateful heart
I make the bed
I do my simple makeup routine that takes about 5 mins
I do a night-time skin care routine
I celebrate life’s little wins daily
I try to roll with life’s punches and try not to dwell on any stressors
I work out at between 3-5 times per week
I never deny myself a tasty treat…..
Try to laugh as much as possible
I stopped giving time to energy-suckers
I had to start living in the moment and stop ‘future tripping’
I spend at least a little bit of money on myself each month (getting my hair done, buy a new outfit/makeup, etc)
I constantly read self-help material and things that interest me
I practice things that I suck at (example: the snatch olympic barbell movement)
I compliment everyone because it genuinely makes me feel good to uplift others
I communicate honestly about my problems and reach out when I need a friend
I create weekly lists and goals to stay organized
I try my best to be a bright light for others by being a good friend
I give myself a break when I have had a hard day
I take ‘time outs’ when I need them, even if only for a moment
I changed my internal dialogue.
You know that inner dialogue that we have all experienced at some point that makes you feel insecure, that feeds on your physical insecurities and pollutes the mind with negative perspectives on the self. I shut that voice down and replaced it with a self-actualized approached. The truth is, I am so very thankful to be alive, to have healthy children and all of my needs met. I love my body, stretch marks and all (yes even that extra 10lbs). I feel confident in my looks because I love myself. I feel confident in social settings because I never come from a place of lack. I never look at others and compare, we all have such vastly different lives and backgrounds that comparing is simply a waste of time. So my advice to you is to stop yourself when you want to dwell on the lack. Don’t look at another person and compare yourself. Don’t say ‘Well she is tall and skinny and has it all and I’m short and fat and my kids are rotten’, no no no. Stop!!!
Turn those ‘why can’t I / I don’t have’ into ‘how can I?’. Focus on your strengths. What are your strengths? How can you become the best version of yourself? Never focus on your weaknesses—save those for your hobbies. Find your strengths and capitalize on those! This will start to shift the inner dialogue that you tell yourself each day. When you love yourself, your mental health, stability, and mood are all going to change for the better I promise.
At the end of the day, taking time out for self-care, whatever that looks like to you, is crucial for maintaining the stamina that being a super mom requires!