Self-care is a trendy new term for a once forgotten concept, you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others. I think we all have different limits and tolerances but whatever those are it’s important that we give ourselves permission to have some downtime, do what you do to recharge and refresh. I have a hard time going for so long with no one to talk to that doesn’t want to argue with me (why did I think having a teenager and toddler at the same time would be fun?!) I need adult conversation, I need to have at least a few minutes in the day that I don’t have someone climbing on me, licking my face, or running spaghetti-sauce-covered fingers through my hair. I need something that gives me a challenge or is developing a new skill. I don’t do well sitting still in life, I need to be moving forward. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my kids, it doesn’t mean I don’t take good care of them, it just means that while I am a mom, I’m not *just* a mom. I need to fuel my soul so I can keep sparking the little souls around me to grow into who they are meant to become.
We are putting so much pressure on moms to be it all, to have it all, to do it all. Run 3 miles before sunrise, serve your family paleo meals from your homegrown organic garden and backyard livestock, donate a bag of clothes to a fundraiser, throw an epicly pinterest-worthy birthday party for your two year old, attend mommy-and-me music class with your five year old, get in a little afternoon yoga while waiting on your 4th load of laundry, send your hubby a sultry text so he doesn’t forget about you while you peel a ham and cheese off your kitchen ceiling after untangling a jump-rope from your daughter’s hair, call the insurance agent about that claim, and whip up a couple dozen cookies for the boy scouts activity, all while keeping your yard perfectly manicured and your house looking like it could be on the cover of BH&G Magazine. Knock it off with the pressure ya’ll! If throwing an awesome party feeds your soul then do it but don’t feel like you have to in order to be a “good enough mom.” You already ARE good enough, you are enough, you have to take care of you so you can take care of them and it doesn’t have to be without flaw or failure. Those things add variety to your day!
So how do you cope with the mundane, repetitive wash, rinse, repeat of life? I used to have a weekly bubble bath on Wednesday nights. That was my “do not come in here, do not ask me questions, do not try to steal my plate of Nutella and strawberries, do not stick stuff under the bathroom door” night where dad knew it was all on him for that few hours. That slowly turned into a several-times-a-week thing toward the end of a very painful pregnancy which then turned into a not-at-all thing while regaining my footing after that pregnancy, with something else “more important” always needing to get done.
No more excuses, it’s Wednesday night and I’m reclaiming my bath hour. I also have a monthly massage and chiropractic adjustment to keep my body going, a short walk in the mornings before the kids are up, and the occasional lunch with girlfriends, and I sneak in moments to feed my brain throughout the day. I also love to decorate, to make things pretty, even if it will just get covered in peanut butter finger prints. Every now and then I need to just take off for a little drive on my own so I have just a few minutes of not listening to sibling squabbles. And then I get home and look at my little sleeping angels and all the frustration melts away and I decide maybe they can still live here another day. And then I step on a Lego and catch my balance on a jam-covered wall and start really looking forward to Wednesdays.
I firmly believe that mom’s mental health and physical well-being are the most deciding factors in how well the whole family functions so take good care of you! What are the things you do that feeds your needs, your soul, what sparks you, what gives you rest and enables you to be a well-functioning powerhouse of a mother!?