Last week I wrote a post that details the stressful season of life I am in with my kids. They are all in a phase where they need mommy so much. While I love them to pieces and do enjoy being needed, the constant whining has been wearing me down. When I am worn down, I have less patience and snap easier, which isn’t good for anyone! I decided that for the month of March, I would choose a different theme to dedicate time to each week, allllllllllll for me. Last week my focus was exercise and this week I want to focus on mama self-care.
The post, Mama Care Monday’s in March has received by far the most comments out of any of my blog posts. They were all along the same lines. “I never take time for myself! I should do this!’ or ‘This is such a good idea. It’s so hard to carve out time for myself, but I feel so much better when I do.’ On and on and on… I got the picture that I am certainly not the only mom starving for some exercise or some self-care. Ladies…Whyyyyy??
Why I Neglect Myself
- I like feeding my family healthy, home-cooked meals, and so I cook instead of resting.
- I don’t like when my house is messy, and so I clean instead of relaxing.
- Spending time with my kids is so important, and so I choose that over time to myself.
- Spending time with my husband is also important, and so I choose that over time to myself.
- I had this crazy idea to start a blog and I want it to succeed, so I work on it constantly instead of unwinding.
- There are bills to pay, appointments to make… there is ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO.
I could keep going forever, but you get the point. If you are a mom reading this, I’m sure you can relate to most of these points, plus a few of your own. Well mama, let me tell you what I learned from spending a week to dedicating time to ME.
Why I Need to Start Adding Some Self-Care to My Routine
My husband usually gets home right as my twin girls are done eating dinner. By this point, I have prepared three meals for them. I have wiped their hands and faces down three times (they scream absolute bloody murder every time a wipe touches them), wiped down high-chairs three times, and swept the floor three times (I have to sweep the floor every time they eat because they make such a mess it will track food all over the house if I don’t). By the time he comes home, I have spent approximately 11 hours by myself, exclusively taking care of 3 small children and doing housework. Don’t get me wrong- I feel very fortunate that I can stay home with them- BUT STILL. Something had to give, and I decided to make a conscience effort to make time for myself.
I searched on Pinterest for ways moms can relax. Everything was very generic. “Prepare a cup of tea and curl up with a book” or “take a bubble bath with a glass of wine.” YES, THAT SOUNDS MAGICAL AND I WANT TO DO IT ALL, BUT TELL ME HOW I CAN DO IT AND STILL CLEAN THE KITCHEN. So I decided to make my own stuff up, do it for a week, and report back to all my mama friends on how it went.
What Do I Consider to be ‘Me’ Time?
OK, let’s clear something up. The kids naptime DOES NOT count as ‘me time.’ The kid’s naptime is my: lunch break, bathroom break, work on my blog time, laundry time, or recovery time. Recovery time is when I collapse on the couch for an hour to recover from the train (kids) that hit me. I know this recovery time is justified, because of the shape my husband is in every time I leave him alone with the kids. He looks like he’s been hit by a semi-truck, needs a nap, and makes comments like “I don’t know how you do this every day.”
I know that he has long days at work too, and isn’t exactly sipping margarita’s poolside, so when he gets home I don’t feel like I can abandon him.
Tips for Establishing Time for Self-Care
- Put it in your calendar. Discuss it with your spouse, and between the two of you, decide when you can have time to yourself. It may vary by day, but aim for at least a few days a week.
- Figure out the best time that works for your family. For us, it’s immediately after dinner. Ben hasn’t seen the kids all day and it’s best if I take time then and then put the kids to bed together. Maybe if you only have 1 kid, skipping the bedtime routine is a good time for you.
- Set SMALL GOALS, friends. I obviously missed the mark on that one. If you never take time for yourself, aiming for 7 days a week probably isn’t going to happen.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for time if you really need it and it isn’t in your calendar. Also, be willing to be flexible. If hubby had a long day himself and the kids are sick, maybe consider helping out instead of just ditching him for a bubble bath.
- Plan it for days that you don’t have any deadlines or responsibilities. Since I publish new blog posts on Monday and Wednesday morning, Sunday and Tuesday are bad nights for me. I’m not one of those organized bloggers who has everything edited and ready weeks before.
Here was what was on my schedule for ‘me’ time:
- Monday: exercise (win). This was almost a fail. My husband got home late, and I had told Theo he could wait and eat dinner with him. Since the girls had already eaten dinner, I had to watch them while the boys had their dinner. As SOON as they were snoozing in the cribs, I ran down to the basement. I listened to an awesome Facebook live session by one of my fave bloggers, Kristie, and completed my workout. I list the details of my workout here if you’re interested.
- Tuesday: 30 minutes of reading (fail). Since I knew I was going out the following night, I was a little panicked about making sure I was caught up on blog stuff.
- Wednesday: Dinner with a girlfriend (win). This was on my calendar in advance, and I was really looking forward to it!
- Thursday: Shopping trip (win). My in-laws came over in the afternoon and I went shopping for some summer clothes for our upcoming vacation! I ended up being at the mall for a really long time since it had been so long since I’d actually been to one! It was amazing!
- Friday: 30 minutes of reading (fail). Yes, my books are sitting there still untouched.
- Saturday: Sephora trip to get new skincare products (fail/win). We had a fairly busy weekend, and I didn’t feel like going to the mall again. I did, however, make sure I got time to myself by blasting music and cooking dinner alone. I don’t usually take the time to enjoy myself while I’m cooking, and it was really fun.
- Sunday: Meditate (win). I spent 15 minutes with the meditation app headspace.
I really wanted to try to get a little bit of time to myself each day, but I definitely set my expectations too high. Since I had two pretty long outings, I didn’t feel that I had even 20 minutes to spare the rest of the week. Skincare is my goal for this week, and on days that I’m feeling stressed I might go upstairs and put on a facemask and listen to music.
Even just adding some self-care a few days a week had a huge impact on my overall mood. My husband completely understands that being a stay at home mom is incredibly challenging and is 100% supportive of giving me breaks. I just have a hard time letting things go. But you know what I’ve decided? The dishes will eventually get washed and the floors will eventually get vacuumed. My patience will only dwindle if I don’t dedicate time to relaxing.
Will you take one day this week and spend 20 minutes doing something for yourself? Let me know what you do!