We want the best for our kids, but oftentimes this comes at our own expense. They'll be dressed in the best clothes while we wear the same yoga pants for a week, or they get a wholesome meal prepared for them while we eat their leftover scraps.
What does self-care look like? It’s hard to do and even think about when you’re in survival mode, especially with a newborn. When the baby takes a nap we have to decide between taking a shower, napping, and finishing our half eaten meal. But once things are a settled a bit and you’re into a routine, you may actually take a few minutes or hours to do something for yourself. It is important to invest in self-care, whatever it looks like for you, in order to keep your sanity. So throw that mom guilt out the window, because a happy mom leads to happy kids. Here are a few suggestions:
Prioritize a simple thing that helps refresh you. Whether it is drinking your whole coffee in one sitting, taking a shower, or catching up on your favorite blog, forget the mom guilt and just put on a TV show or allow limited screen time to occupy your kids long enough so you can do it. If non-technology things work for them like painting or play dough, even better. At least you'll have that one thing that can make you feel ready to tackle your day.
Get dressed. Whether that means wearing something other than pajamas or putting on real pants, getting dressed helps me feel more put together and like I accomplished something. I enjoy sundresses in warmer weather because it's just one article of clothing and an instant outfit. But, I also hate pants. Nursing can provide some wardrobe challenges, but lots of dresses have buttons down the front and jersey maxi dresses are stretchy. You can also layer a nursing tank under a button down. Invest in a few core pieces that you'll want to wear all the time that are comfortable, flattering, and nursing friendly, if applicable. Don’t forget functional, stylish accessories too--our diaper bag automatically pulls your outfit together!
Indulge in your favorite show or movie that is not appropriate for kids. If you’re lucky enough to have kids who sleep through the night or at least for a few hours straight, forget the dishes and picking up for once. Grab a glass of wine, put your feet up, and just enjoy escaping into a TV show or movie. It’s also a great time for parents to have alone time together, and have a standing mini-date watching your favorite show (hello, Game of Thrones fans!) or a recent release that you missed in the theater.
Get a sitter and go out to dinner/get some alone time. While this would probably be more of an occasional thing, it’s healthy to step away from your kids from time to time and get out of the house without them. If you have a partner, this is a great way to reconnect away from the everyday chaos. Plus, sometimes it’s just nice to get a break from baby/toddler meal time and clean up! It’s also worthwhile to grab a sitter or put your spouse on solo parenting duty to get that massage, haircut, mani/pedi, workout, or time to just sit in a coffee shop and read.
Catch up with a friend. Having an adult conversation is a great way to escape the whining and crying and bring you back to adulthood. Try to make it more personal by actually seeing someone face to face or at least hear their voice on the phone (or FaceTime!), versus text or Facebook.
What are other things you do for some much needed self-care?