We've all heard people say that self care is important. But, as busy mom, especially with young kids, it can be really difficult to find time for it.
You have to dress, feed, and care for yourself and 1 or more tiny humans on top of work and housework and other relationships with friends and family. It's hard.
The experts tell us that you can't fill from an empty cup, and that you have to take care of yourself first. The whole put on your air mask first scenario. But even with that, we feel selfish when we do something just for ourselves.
We think about all the things we have to get done and our priorities always seem to be the to dos for others instead of the to dos for ourselves. There is a pressure to make sure everyone else is OK.
I feel it too!
Right now on my to do list, besides work and the blog and the general household management are making Belle's baby book, getting Tyler's school supplies, contacting the dance school about fall classes, going to see my husband's play, etc.. If these things don't seem to have made it to the top of the list so far, how do I expect self care to get there?
Changing Your Mindset
I think the key to changing our relationship with self care is to stop thinking of it as being selfish. It's one thing to say caring for yourself makes you a better wife, mom, person. But in the end, your mind is still telling you that this is something you are doing for yourself and when you do this for yourself, it means you are not doing something for others.
I am a big proponent of valuing ourselves and believing that we are worthy of taking the time and effort to take care of ourselves. But as moms it's not that easy.
I can value myself a whole heck of a lot, but those tiny people I made need care and there are so many things they can't do for themselves. Their care becomes the priority because they can't do it for themselves and we will feel guilty if they lack something we think we should or could have provided for them.
Now the change I am proposing is subtle, but I think it will make a world of difference.
Instead of thinking of self care as something we do for ourselves so we can be better for others, we can think of it as something we are actually doing for the other people.
So in the first way of thinking we see that going out for a pedicure will give us some pampering so that we can be a better mom and wife. This is still very centered on us. We are trying to make ourselves better which like I said is great and important, but also hard to rationalize the time for it.
With this change we think of getting the pedicure so that our kids have a calmer mom who won't irrationally fly off the handle. While it is still us getting the pedicure, it is our kids that are getting the benefit. When we think of the action directly giving something to our kids instead of indirectly through making us better, it can help us rationalize making the time to actually get it done.
So it's not self care so that I can be calmer, it's self care so that they can have a calmer wife and mom. It's not a massage to relieve my back pain, it's a massage so that my kids don't get yelled at when the real cause of my anger is back pain.
Like I said, knowing that you are worth being cared for is so so important. Mama, you deserve it all! You are the best wife and mama your family could ask for. But I know even when we believe it, it can be hard to actually take that time when there is so much else we have to do.
If your priority is doing things for others, then frame your self care as something that you do for others.
Give yourself some love! The kids will thank you for it. (Well, probably not directly, but they will sense the difference, lol.)