If you haven’t had time for self-care since becoming a mom, chances are you feel rundown. You might say you ‘don’t feel like yourself’. Or, you’re even a little resentful that everyone else in your house gets time to do things important to them. And it’s not your fault for feeling this way.
Today we are going to look at why most moms buy into the lie that they don’t have time for self-care + how you can start breaking down that barrier in your own life so that you can regain your momentum as an individual.
Your entire life, you’ve been told self-care is a luxury. Spa days, massages, manicures, pedicures, leisurely lunches, girls nights, etc. are objects of affection by magazines, websites, + movies alike. And before having kids, these were probably many of the things that you enjoyed doing for a little extra fun when you wanted to treat yourself.
But let’s face it, what moms do you know that have time for luxury? In America, when you become a mom, you lose your right to luxury.
If you do any self-care, as you defined it before motherhood, it is indulgent, rare + you owe someone for covering you at home while you do it. It might even feel selfish + leave you feeling guilty, so you don’t even want to bother because you don’t even feel good afterward.
Here’s why this happens to us: In all of the years leading up to motherhood, no one ever pointed out to us that the most important forms of self-care were already inherent in our everyday lives.
Need to go for your annual checkup? Scheduled.
It’s about time for a haircut? On the calendar.
Have to make sure you workout a few times a week? Booked the classes a few weeks out.
When we did all of these things as a part of our daily, weekly, or monthly routines, we made sure that a certain level of care for ourselves was happening on a routine basis without ever having it register on a conscious level that these were all a part of self-care.
When you become a mom, with all of your newfound demands–from the baby’s inborn needs to familial + societal expectations for mothers to be selfless–you sacrifice your time to care for yourself.
When we as moms are ingrained with the messages that ‘self-care is a luxury’ + ‘family comes first’ we begin to confuse all forms of self-care with indulgence.
We start associating it with selfishness + guilt to the point where it doesn’t even appeal to us or seem worthwhile. In turn, we allow it to fall so far down the priority list that we lose our connection to ourselves as individuals.
All too often, we as moms innocently allow ourselves to fall prey to the expectations of everyone else because we are told that good moms put their family first. Slowly + subtly we allow this to mean that even the most basic forms of self-care that were a part of our daily routine become less important + seemingly less important in the big picture of family.
But in turn, this begins to erode our sense of self, confidence + worth because we are not taking care of ourselves. And when we don’t have the North Star of who we are, we lose sight of why we are doing it all in the first place.
In order to begin to feel yourself again, there has to be a redefinition of self-care so that you can reconnect with yourself as an individual. Self-care is any action, big or small, that allows you to care for your mental, spiritual, physical, + social wellbeing.
Let’s look at four types of self-care that you’ll want to be aware of so that you have a greater sense of all that self-care really entails. (And I promise, spa days are fun, but we are looking at practical self-care today!)
As humans, we identify with others, we are a social breed. This is why people talk about the importance of community, their tribe, or their BFFs. Even as an introvert, I can attest that without my closest friends + my family, I would not be doing as well today without them.
If you are not making time to connect with others in meaningful ways, you are going to feel disconnected, isolated, + lonely. One of the simplest ways to overcome these feelings is to make the intentional effort to connect in meaningful ways with others we can about. And honestly, it can even include making it a point to chat with someone at the cash register or compliment a stranger. Connecting with others can take mere moments + have a profound impact on the sense of importance we have when it comes to our individual role + identity in the world around us.
It is so easy as moms to get inside our own heads. If we aren’t careful, we send ourselves into a spiral of self-doubt, insecurity, + frustration. It is imperative that to keep the mind in a healthy state. Choosing to practice mindfulness in a range of modalities will allow you the mental flexibility to begin thinking differently about your life, self-worth, + confidence.
We all know how important it is to maintain our physical health but in the rush of the day-to-day it is so easy to grab convenient food or skip your workouts. And let’s be honest, doctor’s appointments don’t happen with the frequency they should. But when we aren’t taking care of the bodies that are responsible for our ability to keep up with the day-to-day we are setting ourselves up for failure. If not now in the form of exhaustion, it certainly can later with even longer-lasting effects that will only bring you down more. Making small, intentional changes to prioritizing your physical wellbeing will help you build momentum in this area.
In the sense of spirituality, you can consider this separate from religious wellbeing or one in the same, it really is a personal choice. But you need to care for your spirit no matter how it is meaningful to you. Think of this as the time you take to connect with the energy of your spirit, to be comfortable in the silence, + to tune in to the energy of the world or spirit of your god around you. There is true healing in this practice, but this is also admittedly one of the hardest because it is so foreign to many of us. If you have learning to do, enjoy this exploration + have fun with it! When your spirit is renewed, it is a powerful thing that is very worth your while!
Now that we can all agree that self-care is not a luxury, let’s also be realistic that a true change in practice takes time, intentionality, + persistence. Don’t be hard on yourself if you struggle to embrace self-care. There are a lot of old beliefs that you may have to overcome in order to feel more comfortable with practicing self-care with more frequency. I encourage you to have honest conversations with others in your life about the importance this has for you now + how you can make self-care a bigger part of your life once more.
In addition, I want to share with you ideas for ways you can make self-care accessible + practical no matter where you are in your journey to prioritizing self-care. I’ve created a simple Self-Care for Moms reference list that’s full of ideas + a customizable checklist so that you can get started or to further your own practices in new ways.
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