As moms, it’s easy to fall into the habit of taking care of everyone else except yourself because that’s just what moms do. But in my two short years of mamahood, I have grown to understand the importance of self-care and its effects on me as a mama. You’ve heard it before, “you’ll be a better mom if you take care of yourself first,” but its SO TRUE!
Whenever I hear the words “self-care,” I tend to think of things beauty related like facials, massages and a fresh blow out. And all of those things are definitely self-care, but when you’re a mom, self-care goes beyond beauty and relaxation. A mama’s self-care can be as simple as using the bathroom alone! It’s all of things that make you feel like YOU that you probably took for granted before having a little one.
I have found that whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted and out of patience, that means it’s probably been awhile since I did something for myself. And doing something as simple as taking a trip to Target ALONE can give me the fresh start I need to be a good mama.
So I am going to share some of the things I consider “self-care” and how they help me refill my mama tank (if you’re an O.C. Housewives fan, I’m channeling my inner Vicki’s “love tank” lol), so I have the patience and strength it takes to be a good mama.
1. Go for a run- I’m starting with this one because it’s probably the hardest one to do but it is the most beneficial. I have a love/hate relationship with running as I’m sure most people do. I LOVE the way I feel afterwards but I hate the idea of getting my butt off the couch and into my running shoes. But running has helped me so much with my mental health. It helps me alleviate anxiety and the endorphins are like a natural high.
Before having my son, I started running almost daily. I swore I would keep running even into my pregnancy, but at 9 weeks I had some bleeding that sent us immediately to the hospital for an emergency ultrasound. The baby was fine and the bleeding wasn’t caused by running but it scared me so much that I wasn’t going to do anything that could possibly cause harm to the baby.
After that, I would dream about running. I would count the day’s until I could fit my swollen feet back into my running shoes and just go. But after having my son, finding the time, energy and motivation to actually go for a run was extremely hard. I still struggle to find all of these things, but I feel so amazing when I find a way to fit it in.
2. Wine- Right now, I am a SAHM so my day revolves around a two year old. I spend all day watching cartoons, singing, dancing, playing, chasing, potty-training, and picking up after a messy little guy. When he finally goes down for nap, I do all of the household chores and finish just in time for him to wake up refreshed and ready for some more fun with mama. We go to the store and the park and walks around the block. Anything to keep him happy and busy. By the time my husband gets home, it’s time to cook dinner before heading up for bath time, story time, and bed time. At this point, mama is exhausted and ready for a glass of wine.
Before having a kid, I didn’t understand what all the buzz about “mommy juice” was but now I GET IT! I mom-ed my little booty off all day long and I have earned a delicious glass of wine! And let me tell you, there is no tastier glass of wine than the one you drink right after your energetic toddler finally goes to bed! It’s just my way of winding down and relaxing and it’s a nice little treat to look forward to when you’ve had a long day of mommin.
3. Garbage Television- When I say “garbage,” I mean it in the most endearing way possible. I LOVE some trash T.V. and I’m not ashamed to admit it. There is nothing more relaxing than plopping down on the couch and catching up on all my ridiculous reality shows (which include but are not limited to: all seasons of Housewives, Vanderpump Rules and Teen Mom). I know it’s terrible T.V. but it’s like a car crash, you just can’t look away! And nothing pairs better with a glass of wine than some old ladies yelling at each other about a dog named Lucy, Lucy, Apple Juicey.
4. Podcasts- A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the magic of podcasts and it was love at first listen. And remember all that garbage television I was just talking about? Well get ready to judge because I actually listen to podcasts that recap those trashy reality shows. They’re funny and light hearted, and I can listen while doing a million other things.
One of my favorite podcasts right now (not reality T.V. related) is Mama Saidby Jamie Lynn Sigler and Jenna Parris. It’s two moms talking about their mom wins and mom fails and all of the stuff in between. It’s a place where moms can be honest about how hard it is to be a mama and it’s really become a support system to know that I’m not alone when I’m feeling some type of way.
5. Reading- Between being a mom all day, a wife in the evening and making time to squeeze in my T.V. shows, finding time to read is almost impossible. I’ve always taken pride in my large collection of books on our bookshelf and the fact that I can say I’ve read every single one of them. But I just don’t have as much time as I used to to sit around and read. So, I broke down and purchased my first audiobook and let me tell you, I love it!! Now I can read and multitask at the same time.
Currently I am reading (listening to) Mom Truths by Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are very popular on YouTube for their Mom Truth videos which feature two mamas sitting in a car talking about the good, the bad and the ugly of being a mama. They’re hilarious and they take all of the ugly truths about being a mom and make them light hearted and fun. I actually recommend the audio version because they take turns reading each chapter and it’s even funnier to hear them tell their story.
These are just a few of the things that help me feel more like myself.
So, what does your self-care look like? Is it solo trips to the grocery story? Mani/pedis? Buying new clothes? Whatever it is, make sure you make the time to do it. Not just for you, but for your family! I feel like a whole new person when I get a little “me time” in and my husband usually notices the difference.
J A M I E L Y N N E