Self-care is a lovely concept. Taking the time to care solely for yourself? Sounds sublime.
And imaginary- that is, for really tired, busy moms.
Moms do it all. Life-giver, personal assistant, provider, chef, cleaning lady, shopper, dresser, toy locater, hygiene supervisor, emotional support system, teacher, mentor, moral compass, sleep advisor, sibling referee, event planner, holiday card director, social life coordinator- it’s an endless list. Taking care of yourself is usually at the end of that endless list. Doing the bare minimum to maintain any sanity to conquer family chores? That is usually the degree of self-care that actually happens for moms.
Thus, why moms are so tired. Moms are busy. There is literally more to do than what can be done in a day. It’s a losing battle every day, but a war we signed up for that can’t be lost. The smiles, the thank you’s, and the small moments when we think, “Nailed it!” make it worth it and then some, but still; it leaves little time for actual self-care.
Self-care makes moms happier, less stressed people, and happier, less stressed people make better moms. And as any mom knows, you have to prioritize, or it’s not going to happen. You’re busy. But, if a mom can make a pumpkin patch trip happen in 85 degree weather in Louisiana during a pandemic, then a mom can carve out some time for self-care.
Self-care for moms may not look like a spa retreat in Sedona… yet. That is a dream for when the kids are much, much older. But some self-care can be incorporated into your real life.
So, can your husband or neighbor watch the kids while you take a bubble bath- with candles?
And a beach read book?
And a glass of wine or a hot cup of tea?
With old school Sia playing on Spotify?
What are some other ideas? Take a walk, without the kids. Or take a walk with just the baby (if said baby is smiley and cooperative in the moment). Have a dance party with the kids- but listen to YOUR favorite music when you were in high school. Make a list of things that YOU would like to do. Have a conversation with your best friend for no other purpose than to talk about YOUR hobbies. Take a virtual yoga class after the kids go to bed. Sit outside and listen to a favorite podcast. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths with undivided attention.
Like, right now. If you can Facebook, you can take a minute to breathe.
So, deep breaths. And dream up your own list of realistic self-care, while momming it and all. Who knows? Maybe at some point soon you’ll be able to upgrade to the higher level of self-care, like a patio lunch with friends, or a trip to a brewery one day.
A mom can dream. Until then, breathe in those moments of self-care.
About the Author
Melissa Fleming lives in Prairieville, Louisiana with her husband, Blake, and their three beautiful daughters: Evelyn (3), Clara (1), and baby Chloe (2 months). She graduated from LA Tech with a B.A. in journalism in 2008 and then earned her M.Ed. in counselor education from UNO in 2011. She recently completed her Ph.D. in counselor education from UNO this summer. She is the owner of MWF Counseling, LLC. In between seeing clients, chasing toddlers, and holding babies, she enjoys watching Real Housewives and drinking as much caffeinated tea as possible.