The average day of a mom likely includes dressing, bathing, feeding, changing, and entertaining kids. Rinse and repeat. But how many moms do you know that wear their lack of daily showers as a badge of honor? Or joke about how they forget to eat breakfast most days? I get it, trust me. We have all been in the thick of it and had those days where we can’t remember to brush our teeth. This is where we have to stop and remind ourselves that our kids need more than our care; they need our example.
So where do we start?
If your kids are tiny and you’re running on no sleep, start small:
- Feed yourself! Buy foods that are easy to microwave or come pre-packaged ready to eat. You would never let your baby skip a bottle, so don’t let yourself skip a meal.
- Rest when you can. We all know “sleep when the baby sleeps” is a fantasy, but you can most certainly relax! Catch up on Netflix or spend an hour scrolling your phone.
- Find little things that make the mundane tasks more enjoyable. I found a love of podcasts and audiobooks this past year, and now I always have 2-3 in rotation. Turn one on when folding laundry, feeding the baby, or prepping dinner. You’ll be amazed how quickly you start looking forward to the next time you can listen.
- Accept help. Our babies are only small for a short time, so I wholeheartedly understand how hard it is to let others steal a bit of that time. But if someone you love and trust is offering to watch that baby while you shower, or nap, or eat a meal with two hands – let them! And if no one is offering, ASK. You don’t have to do this alone.
As your kids get older, start setting an example of the self-care you hope they’ll show themselves:
- Have a morning routine. Wash your face, put on a little makeup, dress yourself in some clean leggings; whatever makes you feel human. Drink your cup of coffee before you make everyone breakfast, I promise they won’t starve!
- Find movement you enjoy. This can be a youtube workout video your kids join in on, a walk around the block (bonus points if you pop in an earbud and listen to what YOU want), or a trip to the gym (all local YMCA locations have childcare)!
- Show your body love. Eat a variety of foods! We encourage our kids to eat fruits and veggies but they also have gummies every day (right?!) so we absolutely deserve a daily treat too! Hydrate properly, apply sunscreen, wear clothes you feel comfortable in, and mostly importantly speak kindly to yourself. You would never tell your child they look *insert negative statement here,* so don’t say it to yourself.
- Schedule time away from your kids. Let dad, grandma, or a babysitter watch them for a couple hours. Get brunch with the girls, browse Target solo, go out with your husband. It can be so intimidating to take off the mom-hat sometimes, but I promise it will leave you feeling refreshed and excited to see your babies again.
- Have boundaries and share them with your kids. It is absolutely ok to say “mommy doesn’t want to be touched right now” or “mom needs 5 minutes of alone time then we can play together.” I’ll keep saying it – they learn what we model; teach them about healthy boundaries and how to respect them!
We spend day in and day out taking care of these little humans; loving them with every ounce of our being. But ask yourself this: are you remembering to love yourself? Are you caring for yourself the way you care for your children? When your kids are grown and gone, will you be content knowing that the love they show themselves will be modeled after you? It’s never too late to start loving yourself a little better.