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Why have we decided that everything we are takes the backseat after having kids?

I’m not sure where it originated…movies…media…our own moms…

The origin may be unclear, but one thing I know for sure is that I want to change that narrative.

All moms should know this: Allowing your wants and needs to be real and valid IS NOT an act of selfishness. It is an act of self-compassion.

We need to spread the word that loving and nourishing ourselves means that we can better care for those who depend on us.

We have started a love YOU more revolution…

That means learning to love YOU more…

It means making sure that your cup is full so you aren’t empty when they need you most.

Now, I could stop right there…I mean, that alone is enough of a message, right?

Well, yes, I guess it is.

But since I’m not a big fan of “fluff,” I want to give you more than just a few feel-good minutes.  I want to give you some practical self-care tips for moms that you can actually use.

Because, here’s the thing, we can nod in agreement with a self-care “mom rant” all day long, but until we practice it on the daily, we won’t actually experience the benefits.

That’s why I am going to give you these 6 self-care for moms fundamentals today.

Did you know that moms report that they get, on average, less than 30 minutes of alone time each day? 

Who am I kidding?  Of course you do.  You’re a mom.   

Yet, anytime I talk about self-care for moms, I get the same response…It goes a little like this:

Well, first off, you’re right!  Very few of us have surplus hours in the day for pampering and luxury. 

…P.S. If you do, please send me your secrets asap!

But does that mean we are destined for a life absent of self-care until our kids are grown?

No.

It’s a common misconception that self-care takes lots of time or lots of dollars, but I’m going to show you that it doesn’t have to take either.

But first…WHAT IS SELF-CARE???

Let’s define self-care for moms as the act of caring for your basic needs so you don’t go crazy.

You have to remember that you are your own person…

Sounds simple enough, am I right?    

So why is it so hard?

Well, the problem is that we’ve collectively defined being “mom” as putting our kids at the very top of the list and putting ourselves at the very bottom.

And that sounds like a good idea at first, doesn’t it?  I mean, we should take care of our families…and we should put our kids first, right?

Weeeelllllllll…here’s the thing, a mom’s list never stops growing, so when we run this play, we never actually get to the “Take care of me” bullet point at the bottom.

Am I suggesting that we all start neglecting our babies to travel the world and knock-off items on our bucket list?  

Of course not. (Even if that does sound tempting on especially trying days with my toddler…or preschooler…or kindergartener…or 8-year old.)

I am suggesting, however, that we take a close look at these questions:  

?How have we gotten to this place where we believe that it is necessary (and honorable) to neglect our own well-being in the name of putting our family first?

?And what if, by putting ourselves last, we are unintentionally depriving our family of better care, given by a better-cared-for momma?

Remember this tweetable…

When we better care for ourselves, we can better care for those who need us most. Click To Tweet
Here are 6 Simple Ways we can practice self-care for moms:

1. GET ENOUGH REST.

Pictures of sleeping moms don’t exist…so in order to show you what rest looks like, here is a sleeping cat. 🙂

Now I know, I know…sometimes being the mom means that we don’t get to sleep in (ever) or grab a nap (ever) or get a solid night’s sleep until our kids are 16…actually, scratch that.  It probably won’t be then either…

But think of it this way: The same way you can’t be expected to thrive on 100 calories a day, you also can’t thrive on 3 hours of sleep.  

So often we’re tempted to burn the midnight oil in order to finally get some time to ourselves, but better self-care means giving yourself a bedtime and sticking to it.  Lights out by 11:00, Sister.  Better rest = fuller cup.  

And for you mommas of newborns, well, we’ve been there, and we all feel your pain.  Get as much rest as you can and remember, dishes and dusting can wait.  

2. NOURISH YOUR BODY.

If the fuel tank on your car is empty and you decide to save a trip to the fuel station by filling up with odds and ends from your garbage bin, you won’t get far, huh? 

You’d also face a mountain of repairs to your vehicle…

Well, it turns out that your body is like this, too.  

If you aren’t fueling it with REAL food that gives you energy, you are not going to run optimally.  

So when you fill your plate, fill it with things that will nourish your body.  

P.S. Let’s get real.  Most of us don’t eat organic, all natural, healthy foods 100% of the time, but if you work to make most of your foods real foods, then you will be filling your tank with the kinds of things you were designed to run on.  

My point is, do yourself a favor and don’t try to live on leftover fruit snacks, dino nuggets, and wine.

3. HYDRATE.

We all know our bodies need water.  But it is unreal how many people don’t drink the stuff regularly.  

Remember that if your brain is telling you “But I don’t like water,” it’s because you’re addicted to something else… 

Step one to breaking that addiction?  Buy an adorable water bottle, and carry it with you everywhere you go.  No more drink stops every single day…

Once you get through the first week of withdrawal, you’ll feel so much better…promise.

Hydration makes you a happier (and healthier) person.

***Bonus tip, you won’t be drinking your calories, which will likely lead to a drop on the scale, too. 🙂

4. BREATHE…Just breathe.

It turns out that, just like your body needs water, it also needs oxygen.  🙂  And most of us are breathing very shallowly during the day.  

I bet you just took a deep breath while you read that…

When you breathe deeply, something magical happens inside your body.

Things like your heart rate & blood pressure lowering and your improved ability to manage stress & anxiety!

After learning how much of a game changer deep breathing can be, I added a small chalkboard sign on my desk with one simple reminder…

Breathe.

Want to start your day off right?

Spend the first minute in the morning (before the crazy kicks in…before you grab your phone to check Facebook and email…before you wake the kids)…Spend those first 60 seconds breathing deeply.  

Oxygen is energy. 

While we’re together, let’s try this breathing exercise right now…

  1. Sit up straight and put your hand on your stomach…
  2. Now close your eyes and pretend that inside your stomach there is a balloon…
  3. Slowly breathe in through your nose and gently fill that balloon.
  4. Pause…Hold that breath for just a few seconds…
  5. Now gently deflate the balloon by letting the air back out of your nose.
  6. Repeat this a few times.

Yes, this is super simple, but it is also super powerful.  Don’t neglect the simple habits…things like breathing deeply.

These fundamentals will do big things for your self-care.

***BONUS TIP, you don’t have to save this exclusively for wake-up time…You can do it anytime throughout your day.  

Feel your blood pressure rising?  Take a deep breath.  

Kids driving you bonkers?  Take a deep breath…or 10 or 20.  

Learning to breathe deeply will help get you to a place where you can take care of business successfully and efficiently.

Thank you, Daniel Tiger’s Mom…Sing it with me now…When you feel so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath, and count to 4. 🙂

5. MOVE YOUR BODY.

Sometimes we just need to move our bodies in order to feel a change.  

The good news is that you don’t have to pay for a gym membership or carve out 3 hours for cardio to do this.  

Just move your body with purpose every single day.  

It’s like Tony Robbins always says, “Motion creates emotion.” 

That means that by changing your physiology, you can also change your mental state.

So take the stairs…park far away from the entrance…yoga on Youtube…and watch your overall happiness and well-being climb.

You’ll be surprised at how far that little extra intention will go.

6. COMMUNICATE WELL.

As women, we think other people should be able to read our minds and our tones.  (Did you know that women are more sensitive to tone than men are???)

We especially think our husbands should have this power (read more about this here).

We are typically bad at asking for what we need…and then resentful for not getting help.

But the good news is that a lot of our heartaches can be solved by being clear.

Here is the super-simple 2-step process for communicating clearly:

1. Say what you mean.

2. Say what you need.

A huge part of self-care for moms is setting our pride aside and asking for what we need.

I love the concept of the 5 Love Languages. (P.S. If you don’t know your primary love language, you can read the book or take the short quiz here…this is a great way to learn how you like communicating with others and how you like being communicated to!)

Maybe for you, your cup gets filled…

  • When you talk about what excites you…
  • Or when you’re asked what someone can do for you…  
  • Maybe through physical touch…
  • Or by being told you are appreciated…

Whatever it is, make sure that you’re communicating your needs clearly.

Above all, you should know that it is okay to say what you mean.  Because if you don’t say it, they won’t know it.

.  .  .  .  .

Here’s the bottom line…

Self-care is not selfish.  It is absolutely necessary.  Hopefully, now you see it, not as something that is impossible to attain, but as something that is well within your grasp.  

Now, go fill your cup, Momma. 🙂