Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Self-care has become a huge buzz-word in the last few years. If you are like me, you probably think of bubble baths with a glass of wine, or a slow Sunday doing yoga and having coffee on the patio.
As a busy mom with a toddler, the idea of taking an hour (!) a day, like I saw recommended recently, for self care seems not only frivolous, but pretty much impossible. I kept reading all of these posts with #selfcaresunday and having my therapist ask me every week what I was doing for self care, and I blew up.
I had actually gotten anxious with myself, and angry with my my partner, because I wasn't getting "enough" self care. I was constantly exhausted, and irritable because of it.
As a mom, I think sometimes we expect ourselves to be everything to everyone, and don't take time for ourselves. Or, we expect our partners to be mind readers and meet all of our unspoken needs. We imagine that we should be super women with perfect children, a clean house, perfect hair and nails, kicking back with our girls in a bad-ass pair of heels on a Vegas weekend.
I can't do all of that, and odds are pretty good that you can't either.
But then, my therapist told me something that has stuck with me, and gotten me rethinking what self care should mean to me, and how it can actually be achievable on a daily basis.
Setting boundaries with people is self care.
Now, that was something I hadn't heard before. And something I badly needed. I am terrible at telling people no. So I decided to embrace it, and it has helped me to be a happier momma.
My problem wasn't my lack of self care, it was having unrealistic expectations about what self care 'should' look like.
Here are some things I think of as self care now:
Going to the bathroom alone
Drinking my coffee when it is still warm
Going to bed when I feel tired
Eating healthy food
Managing my anxiety
Going to the dentist
Paying bills on time
All of those are things I can do every day. That, in addition to my morning yoga, has not only made me feel better about the idea of self care, but better about my life in general.
Do I still have a bubble bath with a glass of wine once in a while? Sure. But that isn't how I define self care any more. So I can stop feeling angry and irritated when I can't do it for an hour every day.
Managing my own expectations is actually a form of self care too. When we allow ourselves to expect things that just aren't realistic, it can allow resentment to form. And, I don't know about you, but I don't really like to feel resentful toward my partner or my kids.
In a lot of ways, society expects us to be superwomen. We are 'supposed' to have a clean house, perfect kids, great jobs, and do it all in killer shoes, with perfect nails. We see hilight reels on Social Media, which consist of edited photos, and expect ourselves to measure up.
When we change our expectations, so that we aren't striving for an impossible ideal of perfection, we can appreciate the good in our lives already.
We can also manage our expectations by minimizing our to-do list, and only scheduling as much for each day as we can reasonably do. You can do this by spreading your cleaning over the week, having groceries delivered, or limiting the number of after school activities for your kids.
Taking Care of Your Health.
Caring for our mental and physical health is the key aspect of self care. It is important to make sure that we are eating healthy, exercising, and coping with our stress level. Stress is one of the biggest causes of poor health, and taking time to mitigate it is key to taking care of ourselves.
Learn how to Manage Stress using these easy tips.
Check out this video for more ideas! Then let me know in the comments how you think about self care, and what works or doesn't work for you.
Self Care is important for your mental health, and sets you up for success to be a calmer momma with your kids.
For More on Self Care and Mental Health, check out these related blog posts.