Happy Sunday friends!!
Hope y’all have had a wonderful week. Things are being changed up this week! I have been fortunate to work with one of my amazing fellow mommy bloggers the talented Amy from themultitaskingmomlife.com. I absolutely loved reading her post on Self Care for Moms and thought y’all would enjoy as well. Stop by Themultitaskingmomlife.com show Amy some love and check out her other great posts!
SELF CARE FOR MOMS: ONE SMALL CHANGE CAN HELP YOU FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF EVERY DAY!
The struggle is REAL when it comes to self care for moms! I know this because I live it and hear from MANY moms I know who are on that same struggle bus with me. If I’m speaking to you right now, please hear me say: you are NOT alone.
I also know many moms who’ve just given up the fight and resigned themselves to having their “me time” someday in the far distant future. I know this because I lived it too. Self care had dropped WAY down on my priority list. I decided that I was “too busy” to take time for myself and felt guilty about taking that time away from my kids, especially during the school year when I’m at work all day.
WHAT CONVINCED ME THAT I NEEDED A CHANGE?
One day this past spring, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook that stuck with me. It was a simple quote by Mandy Hale, but so powerful for me that day.
“Hmmm,” I thought, “guess that’s true. I make time for my family, they’re important to me. My friends, also important. My job, yep, that matters. Housework, not fun but gotta do it. Yeah, I guess that’s true.” The post popped up again in my feed later that day, as plenty of people had commented on it in the meantime. As I read it again and read through the comments, it clicked. “I’m not on that list I made in my head earlier today. I’m too busy for ME. Not me the mom, or me the educator, the daughter, the granddaughter, the sister, the friend…just ME.” Ever heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? Well, I realized in that moment that my “Amy the person” cup was pretty empty.
Now don’t get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY find a tremendous amount of joy and fulfillment in the activities I do with and for others in my life. I LOVE being a mom. My career is rewarding. I’m blessed with the most amazing family anyone could ask for. I have true and genuine friends. However, I realized that in order to continue to cultivate those relationships and be the very BEST me, I have to cultivate my relationship with myself too. I have to stop saying I’m “too busy.” I decided it was time to give up that excuse. So I took a long hard look at what I was doing with my time and made some changes.
SO WHAT DID I DO?
I started setting my alarm earlier on weekdays.
How much earlier? On days when I’m headed to work, I need to be out of bed around 6:00. I know I need 5-10 minutes of wake up time before I’m anywhere near functional, so I set my alarm for 5:04. (Why 5:04? Weird, I know…I have a thing about the number 4. It’ s my favorite number, so I figure it’s a good start to the day to have it in my alarm time. I know, weird…but we all have our quirks, right? I choose to embrace the weird! 🙂 )
Once I take that few minutes to wake up, I’m left with about 45 minutes of time that I devote to personal development. EVERY. DAY. Not once every few months when I become so overwhelmed that I just HAVE to take a break or I’ll snap. Every. Single. Day.
Self care…”me time”….personal development…different people have different words for it, but to me, what they all really boil down to is time to do what I want and need to do in that moment. We all may want and need to do something different with our time, and that’s OK. The point is that it’s YOUR time. I have typically used this time to read or work out, and now I also use some of it for activities related to my blog.
I know what you’re thinking…you’re crazy, lady, I need my sleep! Of course you do! So do I. Before you go thinking I’ve lost my marbles, I haven’t cut back on my sleep. Since I’m getting up earlier, I’m naturally tired earlier and get to bed earlier…makes sense, right? I’m OK with that because the benefits of this habit have been so valuable to me. Here are the big ones…
BENEFIT #1: INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY!
I’m more productive during the day and I don’t need that time after my kids go to bed to get things done.
Why am I more productive? It’s certainly not because there’s less to do! I really think it’s because I’m better equipped to embrace the chaos. When I start my day in a more positive and productive frame of mind, I’m able to continue that throughout the day and ultimately feel better and get more accomplished. Are there days where the chaos wins and I get bogged down and start feeling sorry for myself? Yep. But now, I find it easier not to get stuck there. I can more easily make the choice to just keep swimming. (Anyone else hearing Dory’s song in their head right now?)
BENEFIT #2: FILLING MY CUPS!
Now that my “me” cup isn’t so empty, I have the energy & desire to fill the other cups in my life even more than before. I’m a more energetic & engaged mom. I’m much better at managing household stuff and keeping it all organized. My grandmother is a tremendously huge inspiration to me and I have made much more time to visit with her and help to take care of her over these last several months. The joy that brings to both of us (and my kids too) has been beyond measure. I’m someone who has struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve even noticed that I’m better able to manage my anxiety in times of stress.
These are just a few of the most important ways that filling my “me” cup has overflowed into other areas of my life. I am confident that as time goes on, that effect will continue to grow, and for that alone, I feel so blessed.
BENEFIT #3: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT!
And of course the obvious benefit: more time for personal development! I’ve read more books in the 4 months since I started this than I had in the previous 2 years combined. I’ve stuck to a fitness/nutrition program for the first time ever and am seeing real results. I started this blog, which was a long-standing goal of mine that I hadn’t found time for before.
WARNING: MINDSET SHIFT REQUIRED
I hope I’ve shown you that the benefits of self care for moms like me are real and meaningful. Truly taking this to heart and making it stick in your life requires a shift in your mindset…at least if you’re where I was a few months ago. I thought that self care for moms just wasn’t realistic most of the time.
Before adopting this habit, I thought of time for myself as a treat, something that happened once in a while rather than on a regular basis. That message seems to come from all over in society today: the idea that being “too busy” for self care, especially as a mom, is expected. Self care for moms is not treated as something we should expect now, while we’re in the thick of raising tiny humans. Too many messages from society & the media treat self care for moms as something we should all dream of having one day in the future, maybe when our tiny humans aren’t so tiny anymore. Here’s the problem with that: we NEED to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take the best care possible of those kiddos of ours.
Engaging in personal development and taking that time for myself EVERY. SINGLE. DAY guides me to a much healthier mindset. I’m not waiting until I feel like I’m going to go crazy if I don’t get a minute to myself. I’m not becoming so frustrated that I’m snapping and yelling at my kids and then feeling awful about it for days after. Are there still moments of frustration? Of course. Are there days I want to hide under the bed? Yes. Thankfully, those days are much less frequent now and I really believe it’s been my dedication to self-care that has made all the difference.
Moms of newborns or kids who wake you up multiple times at night: come back to this post later! 🙂 You’re struggling just to get ANY measurable sleep, so this might not be the time to take on this challenge. As the saying goes, there’s a season for everything, and this might be your season to just make sure that you can function. Self care is still absolutely VITAL for you too, but the timing might be a little different right now than what I’m describing here.
MY STARTING POINT
Pause right now and think of a self care/personal development activity that is really motivating to you. If you had an extra hour right this minute to do whatever you wanted (besides sleep 😉 ), what would you choose? Make that the thing you look forward to waking up early for. For me, that’s generally reading a book I’m really into, working out, or blog stuff. Those are the activities that will get me up and moving because I gain so much personal satisfaction from doing them. If an episode of Orange is the New Black, scrolling mindlessly through pics on Instagram, or taking a long shower and painting your nails is more your jam, go for it!
I’ve reached the point now where this has truly become a part of my routine. I think at night about what I want to do with my morning personal development time. Maybe I’m really into a novel I’m reading but too sleepy to keep going, so I tell myself that’s what I’m going to do in the morning. Or I know it’s a workout day (and I HAVE to work out first thing or else it isn’t happening), so I get my head in the right space to get up and get it done. Maybe I’m *this close* to finishing a new blog post and just need some quiet time to polish it – that’s my morning activity that day.
JUST TRY IT! 🙂
Before you write me off and decide I’m totally cuckoo, give it a try…tell yourself you’ll try it for a week or even a month and see what happens. I’d love to hear from you if you do – or if you’ve tried this before and ran into a roadblock. I’d also love to hear from you if this is part of your routine or hear what your general thoughts are about the importance of self care for moms. What benefits have you personally experienced from a change in your self care routine?
PS – if you need an idea for a motivating activity and you like to read (or listen to audiobooks), check out Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis if you haven’t already. I LOVE this book – so much that I wrote a blog post around some of my favorite quotes for moms! Check it out here I spent much of my morning time for a week or two reading and reflecting on 1-2 chapters per day.