The idea of self care for moms can be a loaded topic these days. There seems to be some controversy about what constitutes as self care for moms.
Is taking a shower self care? What about grocery shopping alone? Or is self care getting a massage and spending a night out with your girlfriends? Or is it something completely different?
The answer is, it can be any and all of those things. It really just depends on what YOU need in order to feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and is something that put’s you in a better overall mental state.
There has been a theme that I have been seeing lately where moms are being scrutinized, and told that certain things aren’t self care “they are simply basic needs”. While this may be true, they may be in a different season of life than you.
Don’t let someone tell YOU what fills up your cup.
Sometimes as moms, we get bogged down with the day-to-day tasks and filling needs for other people that it can be hard to find time to meet the most basic needs, which is where self care should start!
This is where the unconventional part comes in, so keep reading!
The self care needs of a mom with young children (and extremely limited time) is going to be different than someone without kids, thats just a fact.
Self care for moms should start with what you are doing daily
Self care ideas for moms is so often thought of as the mental rather than the physical. But in order to really take care of yourself mentally, you need to take a hard look at how you are taking care of your body physically.
Are you feeding it? hydrating it? Getting physical activity? These are the questions you should be asking yourself daily.
I (and a lot of others) can probably admit that life before kids was simpler.
You didn’t think about how late you were staying out the night before because you didn’t have kids that will be waking with the sun, You didn’t wonder when the next five minutes you will get alone will be, or the next time you will use the bathroom without someone sitting on your lap.
Moms are physically and mentally depleted by the constant stimulation.
So where do I begin taking care of myself?
It’s a given that parents need a break from their kids at times, but sometimes thats not always possible, and it’s often forgotten that self care can be practiced WITH kids around. It may not always be ideal, but it is something that should be practiced routinely in order to make a difference.
If you have the time and budget to allow for manicures, facials, massages, and shopping trips regularly, awesome! This is one form of self care.
This shouldn’t be the expectation because it’s not practical financially and doesn’t fit most young families lifestyle. These things are nice, but they are not going to set you up for better overall health, which should be the end goal!
I do also want to add that when we are spending money on expensive “self care” outings thinking we deserve it; this may actually be doing more harm than good.
You may feel like you deserve it (which i’m sure you absolutely do), but the financial strain this may cause when you are doing this regularly is only going to cause you to be more stressed out, and add more weight to your mental load. .
The form of self care that I am focusing on today (some may think is unconventional); one that is arguably more important, or as I consider the “first step” when you have been in constant survival mode.
These should include the things we are doing on a daily basis to show up for ourselves, and fuel our body for the long haul. Kids present or not. Lets make time for us.
No matter what kind of budget you are on or time constraints you have; If you aren’t fueling your body regularly, no amount of shopping or pedicures appointments is going to help your mental and physical health in the long run.
Moms, let’s start putting our needs first
As moms, we often put our family first. We make sure they have been fed 3 meals a day, stay hydrated, manage schedules such as naps, school, activities, sports etc…not to mention the mental load us mothers carry which can take a toll on oneself over time.
But the question remains; are we taking care of ourselves the way we take care of everyone else? And no, i’m not referring to pouring that fourth iced coffee of the day. I’m definitely guilty of that!
It may take some time to realize, but it is extremely hard to show up for others when you’re not even showing up for yourself. If you are finding yourself in a constant state of distress, or having a hard time pulling yourself out of survival mode, it’s time to make some changes.
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Simple self care ideas for moms to help fuel the body
1| Eat 3 meals a day
It seems like such a simple thing to remember to eat, right? It can be quite the opposite for some that are living a constant state of survival due to wrangling kids all day long. If sitting down to eat sometimes takes up too much time to justify. It’s time to change that!
Breakfast and lunch are more often than not the meals that are skipped more often than dinner, but may just be the more important meals.
Eat some dang breakfast, preferably within a few hours of waking up. So many people skip breakfast when it is actually one of the most important meal of the day. And moms, let’s pack in the protein.
Eating first this in the morning should consist of some protein, fat, & carbs to help give you those nutrients you need first thing in the morning after fasting for 8+ hours. This will help balance hormones, fight brain fog, and provide energy until your next meal.
Lunch should be made a priority as well, it shouldn’t consist of that protein bar you threw in your pocket this morning (your kids will probably take it anyway).
This should be a good sized meal consisting of plenty of protein and fat, this will provide that energy you need to make it to bedtime (if you have kids, you know that can be a struggle).
Dinner doesn’t need to be a buffet. In fact, in a lot of cultures dinner is one of the smallest meals of the day, while the mid day meal being the largest.
My kids often eat the most when we have a late lunch/early dinner. They are hungry after playing all day but not too tired to eat. I have found that when we eat dinner closer to bedtime they pick at their meals because they are tired.
Most people (kids and adults) are tired by the end of the day, and your digestion is much slower in the evening/night. Getting in a majority of your carbohydrates is better left for those mid day meals to provide that energy you need for the rest of the day.
Try focusing on adding in protein and fat during dinner to sustain you until breakfast.
If possible, these meals shouldn’t be rushed. Sit down and actually enjoy your food. Try not to scarf it down as fast as you can. This will help optimize your digestion when you start eating more thoughtfully.
But if you you are just starting out, get a meal in when you can, even if it means being hunched over the kitchen counter.
If you aren’t feeling hungry before meal times; run to your local health food store and invest in some digestive bitters. They seriously do wonders for digestion.
By consuming bitters roughly 10-15 minutes before a meal, it will not only help you feel hungry, but it will help aid in the production of stomach acid and the breakdown of food in the digestive system. These may take some time to get used to taste wise, but I promise they are worth it!
It’s been studied that nearly 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (source). I know, that number shocked me too. Start by drinking a glass of lemon water (this will help digestion further) upon waking, and before coffee on an empty stomach.
By hydrating first thing in the morning, you are more likely to keep it going all day long! Always make sure to add electrolytes and minerals to your water while drinking throughout the day. This allows the water to actually get into those cells to properly hydrate you.
If you drink reverse osmosis water (like me), this is even more important as it takes out all of the minerals. You can do something as simple as adding a pinch of fine sea salt (this is an awesome brand that I have repurchased over and over) to provide naturally occurring minerals to your water.
Or use an electrolyte powder like Redmonds relyte to incorporate throughout the day if you have a hard time drinking plain water.
But seriously, don’t spend money on expensive electrolyte powders, some simple sea salt will do the trick.
In addition to adding minerals, please make sure you are drinking filtered water, this is so important for your health! Investing in a water filter is one of the best things you can do for your entire families overall health.
We have purchased both of these water filters and they are both on the budget friendly side.
There are other filters you can purchase, but these are two that I personally own and love so I won’t include the others.
Clearly filtered: Water pitcher ($) Removes 99.9% of contaminants without removing minerals. Great for smaller families, or to have in addition to a counter top system like the aqua tru.
Aqua Tru: Counter top Water filtration system ($$) This filters through reverse osmosis, which will remove all contaminants and minerals. You will need to make sure you are adding minerals back into your drinking water if you have or are planning to purchase this filter.
3| Prioritize sleep
Now I know it’s not always possible to get great sleep depending on the season of life that you are in; BUT, do what you can to make it a priority.
I know that I am notorious for trying to pack as many things in as I can while my kids are napping to satisfy my constant need to be productive (an issue for another day), but some days napping while they nap is productive!
While i’m not saying you need to nap every day, do it when it is needed. If you are anything like me, you may be a night owl due to being “on” all day keeping little humans alive. Night time is when I get to relax and enjoy being kid free for a while.
Some simple things you can start implementing tonight: Shut off the TV just 10 minutes earlier each night to get into a new habit, or reading before bed instead of watching TV (My new guilty pleasure) .
dStart making small steps each day to promote more restful sleep.
4|Move your body:
Whether this is a walk around the block, trip to the gym, some stretching in the morning etc… just move your body! It doesn’t have to be more than 10 minutes if you can’t find the time, but moving your body in some way during the day has so many benefits!
5| Prioritize your health
Confession: Until recently, I hadn’t been to the dentils for six years.
When I say prioritize your health; i’m talking about scheduling those doctors appointments, dentist visits, etc… We make it a priority to schedule these things for out kids, but parents often don’t do the same for themselves.
Yes, it may be expensive, but you don’t want to mess around with your health. Schedule the appointments!
6| Take care of your body physically
This doesn’t need to be lavish (unless you want it to be) but showering regularly, taking the time to do your morning and evening skincare, getting out of pajamas in the morning if you are a stay at home parent, brushing your hair and teeth etc…
These may be basic needs to others, but for us moms without a lot of time, these simple things can make us feel like a million bucks. Make sure you are making yourself a priority.
Stop asking for permission to shower and just go and do it!
7| Detach from social media and outside influence
It’s so hard to not want to look at our phones during the day, especially if you are a SAHM; sometimes we are just looking for that “escape”.
If you can get into the habit of putting the phone away at certain times of the day it will do your mental health so much good.
This will allow your brain a break from constantly retaining information, allows you to not be constantly comparing yourself to others, it allows you to be more present with your kids, and I have found that it is so much easier to enjoy those little moments throughout the day.
Instead of scrolling your phone while you enjoy your morning coffee, go outside and sit in the sunshine and listen to the birds chirp, or watch your kids play. Seriously, it’s good for the soul.
8| Find moments that bring you joy
No, this doesn’t include scrolling instagram or Tik Tok (unless that truly brings you joy).
Although instagram and tik tok are great time fillers, try to find an escape outside of phones or computers.
Something like reading a book, doing a puzzle, making a scrapbook of all the baby pictures you have laying around, purchase some adult coloring books and really indulge that inner child, or maybe making a recipe you have been wanting to try.
Something that you haven’t found time to do but would like to start.
Whatever helps you relax and centers you when you are feeling overwhelmed will help bring more peace into your life, especially with young kids running around.
These things shouldn’t be expensive or cost any money at all really, It could be as simple as cracking open that book you bought two years ago that you were so excited to read but never found the time.
Start with carving out just 10 minutes to to do something that fuels your mind.
9| Prioritize the moments that being you joy
Like I stated above, find things that bring you joy and actually PRIORITIZE them! That seems to be the hard part.
Im sure there are things you used to enjoy doing that have been put on the back burner since having kids. It’s time to start incorporating some of those things into your daily life!
- Read a book for 10 minutes
- Make a fancy coffee in the morning and actually enjoy it
- Throw your kids in the stroller and go for a walk
- Put some headphones in while you are doing the dishes and listen to something you enjoy
- Bake something you have been wanting to make but haven’t made the time yet
- Sit down with your kids and color with them (this is so fun once you get into it)
10| Talk to a therapist
This could be either in person or online. Taking time for your mental health is going to effect your everyday life for the better.
When I was younger I thought therapy was only for people who had problems, but turns out I was wrong. I have come to realize that everyone can benefit from talking through things with someone.
The list could go on and on….
Tailor it to things that YOU enjoy, are not expensive, can be done daily, and are things that you can realistically make a priority. Because nobody is going to do this for you, it’s up to you!
By making things that you enjoy a priority, you are bringing more presence in your life which will help with the constant need to be moving forward. Sometimes the moment we are in is right where we need to be.
Self care ideas for moms should start with the basics
Some may consider these basic needs and I would tend to agree, thats exactly what these are. But until you can get yourself out of survival mode and are tending to your most basic needs, this is the form of self care we should be practicing
By investing time and money into your long term health, rather quick fixes that may boost you mental health temporarily, this is when you will truly start feeling like yourself again.
Self care doesn’t need to be expensive; in fact, I don’t think it should be. Taking care of you, and making the things you love and fueling your body on a daily basis IS self care.
What is something that you do for yourself daily that helps fill up your cup? I’d love to hear thoughts from other moms!
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