Moms are notorious for putting themselves last. We serve ourselves meals last, go to bed last, we don’t like to spend money on ourselves, and we’ll make sure that everyone else is taken care of before we take care of ourselves. But here’s the thing. We need to prioritize our well being and take time for self-care. You see taking time for self-care doesn’t mean you’re being selfish, it means you’re being your best for your family.
I remember years ago my step-mom gave me some new clothes for Christmas. There was a sweater, some nice cozy socks, a couple of shirts. She said, “Your dad was going to get you a gift card but I knew that would get spent on the kids instead of you.” I wanted to object to argue with and say, “Oh no, I’d spend it on myself” but I knew that just wasn’t true.
My step-mom knew because she knows what’s it like to be the mom of young kids. She remembered making sure their needs are met, spending money buying them cute clothes while wearing 10-year-old jeans.
Often you’ll see things that ask what you would tell yourself if you could go back in time. If I could go back to when my boys were itty bitty and tell myself a few things, one of them would be, take care of yourself. You’re not being selfish, you’re not putting yourself before your kids, you are allowing yourself to be the best you possible.
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Taking care of yourself lets you be a better mom- I know you’ve probably heard this before. But it is true, so, so true. Think about how much better you feel if you’ve had a nice hot shower, taken some time to put on lotion and a little makeup afterward. You feel good, you look good, and you can’t help but be in a better mood. That trickles down to your family, your kids, your home. Think about how you feel when you catch a look in the mirror and your hair is a hot mess, you have smeared mascara under your eyes, and you’re wearing the shirt you slept in (that you may or may not have worn the day before). You catch a look at that zombie-mom and feel a little shitty when you realize that that is in fact you. Not only when it comes to our appearance but taking time for things like exercise or meditation, eating healthy foods, having time out with friends or date nights with our husbands. That time that rejuvenates us and gives us time to enjoy and breathe without other little people’s needs pressing on us. Those things make us feel our best, and in return, we can give our best to our families.
Self-care doesn’t mean you’re neglecting anything else- Life isn’t an either/or endeavor. We have the time and the ability to take care of ourselves without that taking away from something else. You can balance time and money in a way that everything gets taken care of. Often we don’t want to spend money on ourselves if our kids need something and that is totally understandable. But is there a way to compromise? Maybe you don’t have the money to get your nails done at a salon, but could go to the drug store and buy a new nail color you love and set aside a little time to polish your nails. Maybe you don’t have the time or funds to join a gym but you could find a free exercise channel on YouTube that you love. Finding the balance may be a little tricky at first, especially if you’re not used to it but you can find it!
Why aren’t you taking care of yourself? – this question can be a little tricky. If balancing time and money isn’t a problem that what is holding you back? Do you feel like you’re not worth it? Do you feel like that somehow by taking care of yourself you’re not being a good mom? I remember when I had my first son I suddenly questioned everything I did. I somehow thought there were “mom things” that I should do and things that moms don’t do. Being a mom doesn’t mean being a martyr. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you’re selfish. You may have some preconceived notions or are holding on to something that you heard someone say or even how you’ve seen other women behave. Pave your own way, know your worth and address what might be holding you back from taking care of yourself!
Maybe there is something deeper keeping you from taking care of yourself. Are you feeling depressed or unsupported by others in your life? Seeking help for deeper issues can be the first step in self-care. Taking care of your mental health is the best thing you can do for your family and your self so if you need to reach out then take that step and start on your way to a healthier happier you!
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When your life revolves around taking care of others and meeting their needs it is important to take some time to care for yourself. Take some time to figure out what you need. Is it time to curl up and read a good book, is it a walk in a local park, or maybe a lunch out with girlfriends. Whatever it is, carve out that time, take time for self-care. You are not being selfish, you are allowing yourself to be your best!