I have briefly talked in some of my posts about how important it is to take care of yourself so you are able to take care of your children. This is an area that I need to get better at, especially with everything that has been going on lately. I know that usually I would be posting about my weight loss for the month today, but I am scheduling a lot of posts ahead of time, and this one is scheduled not even 2 weeks into June, so it wouldn’t be a fair update if I weighed myself today. Anyway, when we get moved into the new house and have internet again, I will post my update.
Since I needed a post to fill in today, Kristen was nice enough to offer up this great guest post about self-care for busy moms, and I feel it is a great replacement for my weight loss post because losing weight is about taking better care of yourself, but there are so many more aspects as well. Kristen is a mom and a psychologist, so she not only knows all about the importance of taking care of yourself as a mom, she knows how hard it can be at times! Take it away Kristen!
Whether you are a stay-at-home or a working mom, an all-natural or a fast food mom, a cry-it-out or get-up-all-night mom, there are a few things I’m pretty sure to be true of you. First, you love your kids. Second, you are busy. Third, you have to take care of yourself.
I had you until the last one, right? We love talking about how much we care about our kids, and it’s easy to admit that we are busy. It’s harder to prioritize ourselves. There is simply so much vying for our attention—feeding kids, driving kids, taking care of our homes, etc., etc.. How on earth are we supposed to find time for ourselves in there?!
I know it sounds insane, but as a mom of 3 as well as a clinical psychologist, I’m telling you that the need to take care of yourself is just as true as these other things we take for granted. In fact, we actually need to take care of ourselves more than everyone else in our family.
Why? Well, first of all, no one else is going to do it for us. Second, we can only give out of the resources we possess; this means that all that snapping at our families often comes out of an empty tank. And, third, we can’t afford to break down; like it or not, we’re just too integral to our families. Just think about what “a sick day” entails for a mom versus dad or one of the kids, and you’ll see what I mean. So today is the day to work on your self-care.
Here’s how you do it in 3 simple steps:
Pick one area of self-care in your life that needs some improvement. It can be physical, emotional, relational, or even spiritual. You just can’t successfully change everything at once. Start with one that’s really important to you, and that actually feeds your soul, like maybe friendships or laughter. Don’t pick something that you think you “should” do more of but actually hate, like exercise or eating lots of vegetables; you can work on those things later. For now, start with a type of self-care that actually invigorates you when you do it. Feel free to try something entirely new, like perhaps gratitude or meditation.
2) Chunk it
Break your area into small, preferably daily chunks. So, yes, you’d love to take that trip to Paris or the girls weekend to Vegas; feel free to plan it. But don’t’ wait. Start with a coffee, phone call, or a text message. Similarly, I’ve had daily goals of drinking 4 tumblers of water a day, meditating for 10 minutes, walking (at minimum) around the block, or just putting on a YouTube video and laughing for a few minutes. It’s important to break the area you choose down into small, specific, attainable chunks.
3) Schedule it daily
Now, take your goal seriously. What would you do if this was an important goal for your child or partner? Stop now and set yourself a reminder, write yourself a note, or do whatever it is you normally do to remember things that are important to you. Remember, you are an integral member of this family team!!
Alright, busy moms: It’s time. No matter how busy we are, we can all find at least a few minutes a day for self-care; in fact, they don’t even have to be extra times during the day! Call a friend during the time you already spend in the car. Talk about what you are grateful for at meals with your kids. Pray or listen to music while you are taking a shower. Whatever it is, pick an area, break it down, and schedule it on a daily basis. You can do it, mama!
Post your daily goals below, along with any questions you have, so we can walk this journey together!!
Bio: Kristen M. White, Psy.D. is a licensed, clinical psychologist who resides in Southern California with her husband and three, crazy yet irreplacable children. She is just crazy enough herself to run her own private practice (www.kristenmwhite.com), teach full-time at the graduate level, and vlog via “The MOM Degree,” where she provides free support and tools to help women feel less crazy and be more effective as moms (https://www.youtube.com/user/drkristenmwhite).