I have a love-hate relationship with self-care. I love the idea of it, but I hate the actual act of it. This is solely because my reality of self-care looks nothing like what I expect it to be like.
Self-care has been a big buzz word recently in the mom-world. The thought behind self care is that we, as parents, must take care of ourselves first. A happy and relaxed mom is a better mom.
The fact that this strong sisterhood of moms are taking an active interest in their own sanity speaks volumes to me.
It tells me that I am not alone over here, swimming through an ocean of laundry while my chicken is burning and my kids are late for soccer practice. I am not the only one who feels like I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
Like I said, I love the idea of self-care
Expectation vs. Reality
When I first heard the term “self care”, I pictured myself soaking in a lavender-infused bubble bath while eating bon-bons. I saw many posts on Pinterest labeled “Self Care for Moms” which featured pictures of moms doing yoga with non-sweaty hair, reading novels with bright red lipstick, or taking naps on clean white sheets. Naturally, I was all on in on this new idea.
When I took a shot at it, it looked more like this:
Attempt #1: Luxurious Bubble Bath
Attempt #2: Rejuvenating Yoga
Attempt #3: Treating Myself to a Special Snack
Attempt #4: Mom Movie Night
Attempt #5: Enjoying a Nap
Self-Care Felt Like Hard Work
Every single one of my self-care attempts were blatant failures.
This lead to a sharp and downward spiral of frustration, anger, and extra exhaustion. I didn’t have the luxury to send my kids away to indulge myself. Also, if I tried to sneak away for a mere minute, they found me.
Even thinking about self-care made me feel exhausted.
Then, one day, as I was trying to take a bubble bath, while my kids were launching toys at my head, I had a mompiphany (mom-epiphany).
I really started to look at these moments, and I noticed something. My kids had smiles on their faces.
Hear me out. Maybe I was just doing this self-care thing all wrong.
I realized that I had one major detail missing. I was trying to define “self care” only as acts without my children. Since that was rarely reality, I decided to redefine “self care” into things I could do with my kids around.
Some ways to relax and recharge with your children include:
1) Enjoy an activity with your child
My daughter and I love to bake together. We don’t make anything fancy- usually simply cake from a store bought box; but we enjoy making things together.
2) Include your child in your hobby
I passionately love photography. It is a win-win for me to share that hobby with my children, whether taking pictures of them or teaching them about the camera. What is your hobby? How can you incorporate your kids into it?
3) Cuddle and relax together
It doesn’t matter if you are late for work or have a long to-do list hanging over your head; if your little one wants to cuddle, never pass up the chance to relax and soak it in.
4) Enjoy time outdoors together
Nothing reduces stress and makes you feel better than getting outside. Go on a hike or mini-adventure with your little one. You will enjoy each other’s company while you are recharging.
5) What were you going to do?
Were you going to take paint your nails, read a book, exercise? You can always find creative ways to include your children.
For now, my self care routine may not consist of relaxing naps or spa days; however, it will, for sure, consist of reminding myself that I am doing a good job.
I will be less judgmental of myself. I will not obsess over a messy kitchen. And I will not beat myself up over giving my child a tablet to encourage some rest time.
For now, I will enjoy this beautiful mess and let go of some of this mom guilt. And sometimes, if that doesn’t help, I will just hide from my kids in the laundry room and eat their leftover Halloween candy.
Maybe this “self care” thing isn’t so hard after-all.
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