raising kids,  self-care for moms

Self Care for Moms: A Few Ideas

I don’t know about you, but when I think about doing something for myself, I tend to push that thought away and focus on what I can do for my family.

I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be focused on my family. I want to take care of my husband and my kids. I want to be that Supermom that never gets tired or frustrated or mad. I want to be the mom version of the Energizer Bunny. Always going and always happy.

Large family

But that is just a fantasy. The fact is, even though we’re moms, we’re also women. We need to get recharged. We need to develop our own talents and strengths. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can be the very best moms we can be.

I wanted to share my thoughts about self care for moms.

Being a Mom is Hard

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. Being a mom is extremely hard work. And, pretty much, it’s 24/7. We are always on call. We don’t get paid vacations or even sick leave (it’s impossible to be ever be sick when you have a toddler).

Nothing irritates me more than when I hear the job of being a mother being dissed. When I was in college, I wanted to get my degree. My father died when I was four years old and my mother was left a young widow with two small chidren. She had no skills and no schooling to get a job to take care of us. She hadn’t attended college or received any training, so she was only qualified for lowing-paying jobs.

I didn’t want that to happen to me. If I experienced the same thing, I wanted to be prepared to take care of my children. Graduating with a degree was very important to me. I’m also very goal-oriented so this was something I wanted to accomplish.

One day, after I had a few kids, my grandfather who raised me said, “I didn’t know you were going to waste your life raising kids or I wouldn’t have ever encouraged you to go to college.”

I was stunned. And deeply hurt. Waste my time raising kids? How could he think that?

I’ve learned, over the years, that his sentiment was not his alone. In fact, I’ve seen and experienced attitudes like his too many times to count.

As if being a mom isn’t hard enough with late night feedings, little sleep, and no adult conversation for hours a day. Or trying to help kids with homework (when that homework is the new way of doing math that you never learned), teaching them the value of doing chores (while they whine and moan that child labor is against the law), or showing them how to be patient (when you want to scream out because you’ve had to tell them fifteen times to put away their shoes).

Searching for the mates to the socks that went into the washer as a pair, picking boogers off the wall because getting a tissue was just too hard, trying to come up with a creative answer to, “What’s for dinner?,” comforting a child who’s been bullied at school, or being there to listen when a daughter has her first heartbreak proves every single day that being a mom is hard work. Every. Single. Day.

There is no amount of money that could properly compensate me for being a taxi driver, nurse, laundress, cook, maid, psychologist, psychic, or juggler. What moms do is nothing less than amazing.

I was thinking the other day that I really have no skills. Then I held a baby granddaughter and balanced her on my hip with one hand while I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher with the other. And I remembered: I got skills.

Recognizing that being a mom is hard helps me to realize that some days are just going to be sucky. I’m going to make mistakes and maybe even have a good cry, and that’s okay.

mom-comforting-child

Stop Running Faster Than We Should

I am often guilty of running too fast. I try to get a million things done every day. I have a To-Do list and once something is on that list, I must do it. I’m weird that way.

Because I run faster than I should, I can become too tired to enjoy the fun parts of being a mom.

One day, many, many days ago, I was giving my two oldest kids a bubble bath. They were both shrieking with delight in the bubble-filled tub. I watched them giggle as they squeezed the bubbles through their fingers. I remember sitting back and thinking how much I loved being a mom. I marveled at how happy this simple bubble bath made my kids and how much I enjoyed watching them have fun.

Sometimes, we try to do too much. And while we’re focused on that big To-Do List, real life passes us by. We lose those moments of bliss because we have to “get everything done.” I wish I wasn’t guilty of this.

We need to slow down. We need to revel in the simple moments with our kids. We don’t have to get everything done. Slwoing down and taking a breath isn’t just good for us as moms, it’s good for our kids. They desperately want us to play with them and be part of their now.

I want to slow down and swim with my kids, take a walk with them, or just hang out and talk. Slowing down is important self-care.

Take Time for Self

As a mom, I feel like I’m being pulled in a dozen directions all at the same time. If I’m not careful, I can spend day after day attending to the needs of everyone else but myself.

I’ve learned through the years that if I take some time for myself each day, I’m a better mom and a better wife.

For me, I like to take an hour or so to go walking and/or exercising after my youngest goes to school. During this time, I also like to listen to books, inspiring talks, and uplifting music. I take this time to ponder and just enjoy some time to myself.

This helps me to improve myself. I love being a mom and I love spending time with my kids and grandkids, but I’m also a woman who needs to grow and improve as a human.

Taking time for yourself may include reading a good book, taking a bath, going on a walk, watching a favorite TV show, sewing, making a craft, or calling a friend.

I think it’s important to take some time each day to regenerate and recharge.

woman-reading-a-book

Develop Talents

I think it’s also important to develop our own talents and interests. I love to knit and crochet and I’ve spent time learning how to do that and making projects. I’ve learned to do crafts and play the piano. I even took piano lessons for a time.

The talent I’ve devoted the most time to is writing fiction. I love to create stories. I’ve written and published several novels and novellas over the years. You can see more about that on My Books page. I try to not let writing take too much time away from my family, but I love to study and learn how to be a better writer.

Take some time each day to develop your talents and interests. Learn to cook a new dish, plant a garden, take care of a rose bush, paint, take a dance class, write some poetry, or learn to play the guitar. Developing a talent not only blesses our lives, but blesses the lives of those around us.

woman-painting

My Three Things

For me to be the best mom I can be, I like to do three self-improvement things each day. My Three Things are:

  • Reading Scriptures/Inspiring Talks
  • Exercising
  • Writing

When I can get these three things done, then I feel like I’m at my best and can fully devote myself to my kids and husband as well as get the other mundane things done, like doing the dishes, laundry, and cleaning the house.

Why don’t you take a few minutes and think about your Three Things. What would they be? Try doing those three things each day for a week and see how you feel.

It’s important that we take care of ourselves so we can be the best moms we can be. Recognizing that being a mom is hard, trying to slow down and not run faster than I can, taking some time for myself, and doing my Three Things helps me to be a better mom.

What about you? What helps you to be the best mom you can be?

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