Adulating is hard. Parenting is harder. Parenting as a mom can be even harder since so many women inherently try to fix, please, serve, help, and be super-mom all the time. While the rewards of motherhood are too many to list, it can nevertheless be very taxing physically, mentally and spiritually. I myself completely “lost” myself once I became a mother; I lived for my children and was running full force 24/7. I erroneously believed that self-sacrifice was necessary to be a “good mom.” The problem, of course, is that if you are not well, you cannot help those you love. Wellness flows from you; as a mother – you are a conduit of the goodness that flows into your family (or not).
Below are five easy tips to help you take care of you, so you can continue being the best mom you can be for your family.
Tip #1: The bathroom is your sanctuary
This is the one place you should train your children not to come in after you. Simply usher them out and explain that mommy needs to use the potty. Assuming you have someone watching the children (or safely in a crib without anything in there), close the door and take 15 minutes for yourself. Take a hot shower, put on a mask, check email or social media accounts, etc. It’s your time for a quick break.
Tip #2: Get the kids to bed early and enjoy your time.
Aim to get your children to bed at a decent hour and then enjoy your free time. Do not feel guilty for just sitting on the couch with popcorn, wine, and smutty TV. You will get up early (you always do of course) and tidy the house up. If your child refuses to go to sleep or wakes up after being put to bed, assuming that they are old enough, explain to them that they need to go back to sleep because this is “mommy’s time” to do stuff and relax. I’ve had this very conversation with my 3-year-old numerous times and surprisingly, she understands and gets back into bed. Your children are strong, smarter and more aware than you probably realize.
Tip #3 Carve out alone time
Assuming you have the help of a partner, parents, or others – leave the children in their care and go do anything you need to do for yourself, including facials, mani / pedi, lunch, shopping, errands, etc. I used to have the worst guilt going to get a pedicure and thinking I could be using this hour to be with my children. No! You need this time to recuperate and recharge yourself to then go back and be a happy, alert and involved parent. When you do have time away from the family, relish it as an amazing opportunity to reconnect with yourself. Make sure your mind is in the present with your physical self, and not back at the ranch. Disconnect!
Tip #4 Get yourself to bed…early!
Follow your children’s lead and get yourself to bed ridiculously early (hello 7 pm). Your errands and messy kitchen will be there in the morning for you to deal with when you wake up. At least you will be recharged and ready to get what you need to do early in the day. It’s amazing what 8 – 10 hours of sleep can do for a person.
Tip #5 Find one thing that you “need” to do for yourself, and go for it.
Whether it’s a hobby, losing weight, getting fit, learning a new skill, continuing education, etc – just find ONE thing and commit to it as you commit to your family. You cannot stop evolving as a person after becoming a mother, but you also cannot take on too much. Just find one thing that’s important to you outside of your children, and go for it.