09 May Getting Ready for Mother’s Day: Self-care for Moms
With Mother’s Day fast approaching it is important for us moms to practice self-care. At Bliss we believe that self-care is important for everybody, but it is super important for moms for several reasons. Reason number 1: we need to maintain our sanity SOMEHOW. And reason number 2: we need to model for our children that they matter. Yes, you read that right – you teach your children that they matter by showing them that you matter. Kids don’t respond to what you tell them, they respond to what you show them. If you live your life as a martyr to the needs of others, you are not teaching them to honour and cultivate their self worth, a skill they will need in the years to come.
Now, I know that it can be difficult to find the time to take care of yourself, especially when children are small and they depend on you for…everything. But it is absolutely essential, and completely doable if you start with the little things and build to a self-care ritual that works for you and your family.
Here are some suggestions for practicing self-care as a mom:
Alone time – take a bath, read a book, go for a walk, meditate, go to the gym, journal. These can all be quick 15-30 minute practices or afternoon-long relaxation events, depending on what you need/have time for!
Forgive yourself – we all make mistakes, there isn’t a mom alive who doesn’t have flaws. In fact, there isn’t a human alive who doesn’t have flaws. Instead of beating yourself up, practice forgiveness. Show your kids that it is ok to make mistakes and that it’s important to own them, apologize for them, and then move on.
Build a support network – have friends who don’t claim to know what is best for you but who support you, who listen and don’t judge. Those are the best kinds of people, and you deserve them. Make time for them, laugh with them, and explore common or new interests with them.
Take a nap – if you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted give yourself the rest your body and mind need, even if only for 15 minutes. You deserve to rest.
Say “NO” – it’s ok to say no to things. You would never justify a yes, so don’t feel like you need to justify a no. No is a good enough answer. It can be difficult at first, but once you start practicing saying no it gets easier – I promise.
Try a new recipe – only if you like to cook. If you don’t it’s perfectly ok – order from or visit a new restaurant! In fact, it’s probably a good rule to just try something new once in a while.
Write a gratitude list – regularly remind yourself of all of the wonderful things in your life. Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed we forget to acknowledge the things that are working well. Trust me, you will have more than you realize.
Get outside – take your kids for a walk in nature, play basketball, have a picnic, kick a ball, read a book. It’s also ok if you do this alone! If you enjoy being outside make it a part of your self-care routine either way.
Allow yourself to have your feelings – crying is ok, feeling angry is ok. It’s how you handle your emotions that matters most. In fact, it teaches your kids that it is ok to have emotions, and that feeling them isn’t a bad thing. Again your job is to model for your children, not to hide what you are experiencing. No one ever says we need to hide our happiness, why should we hide anything else?
Order dinner in – it’s ok if you are too tired to cook! Even if that ends up being most nights…been there!
Hire a cleaning lady – it doesn’t mean you are a failure, it means you have different priorities. That’s ok, and you should not feel ashamed to make that decision for yourself.
Most importantly do what works for you! This list isn’t exhaustive; there are so many other ways to care for yourself. Don’t gage yourself based on what other moms are doing, do what works for you. And remember – you matter. Your kids want a mom who is available and you can’t be present if you are exhausted and emotionally depleted. Take care of yourself and everyone will benefit from it, I promise.
I’ll say it once more in case you really need it today: You matter.
“Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right…in her own way…and she happens to be honest.” Glennon Doyle Melton
Tammy Benwell, MSW, RSW