I see you, Mama. I see you, getting up at 6am, pouring a cup of coffee as the morning noise hits you. I see you, dressing your mini me and dressing yourself and grabbing all the bags and your keys and oh! forgot the phone on the bathroom counter. I see you, making appointments for everyone and trying to keep their schedules straight, driving here and there and back. I see you, taking bites of your meals between fixing plates and cleaning faces and trying to sneak in this chore while you can get to it. I see you, laying awake in bed at night wondering if you should have reacted that way, wondering if you did “enough” today. I see you.
Moms need self care.
“But I don’t have time!” I understand. I’ve been there. I’m still there sometimes. Everybody demands your time and attention, especially if you’re the mom of young kids. It’s exhausting. It’s fulfilling and beautiful, but it’s exhausting. There is not enough coffee in the world sometimes. It seems like some days you’re going, going, going from the moment your eyes open. Or when the kids eyes open. So when somebody tells you to take a minute, it’s like “where? Where do I have a single free minute in my day?”
That’s a HUGE factor in why you’re stressed. Why you’re worn down, wound tight, and overwhelmed. It’s a lot. Being a mom is an important job, and it’s HARD sometimes. I know it’s hard to take a minute for yourself, but it is crucial. As moms, we often give and give without stopping to fill our tanks. We run on empty far too long and too often.
You will be better equipped to care for your family if you first take some time to care for yourself.
It’s going to be a bit different for everyone, but try to find at least a few minutes every day. I’m not a morning person, but some people like to wake up before their kids in the morning to enjoy the quiet and prepare for the day. If your kids nap, maybe you take some time to rediscover a favorite hobby or find a new one. If they’re older, even better! Have an hour or two of quiet every afternoon so that everyone can go to their own personal space and spend some time alone. When your husband gets home from work, have him watch the kids so you can take a long bath (or shower; I prefer showers). Leave the kids home with Dad on a Saturday and go get coffee and shop by yourself. If you’re a night owl like me, sometimes staying up that one extra hour at night to relax will make all the difference. The important thing is that you make time for YOU.
“But my family needs me to _________.”
You cannot fill others up if your own tank is empty. Taking time for yourself, to calm your mind and rest your body, will allow you to be a better parent. Our bodies are not made to always be on the go. Our minds do not do well if we are wearing ourselves out without recharging.
When you are calm and rested, you will be more patient and kind. It will be easier to respond in love rather than a sharp remark. Your kids will still test your patience, but you will have more of it. You will be able to keep track of things more easily, and have the energy to do more. Self care is not a magic pill, but you will be amazed at how far just a little will go.