You carried your baby inside you for what felt like a full year (possibly struggling through nausea, exhaustion, heartburn, or other unpleasant symptoms), prepared a loving home, and pushed that stroller around like a badge of honor. You worked through the best feeding plan for you and each baby, settled into a routine, and watched that little personality start to blossom. Since then, you’ve taken care of your child(ren)’s every need, likely setting your own needs on the back-burner. You’ve changed diapers, cleaned up every kind of mess imaginable, fixed boo-boos, made countless meals that ended up untouched, scolded, hugged, and loved your little one(s) harder than anyone else could.
You are a mother. And this Mother’s Day, we celebrate you.
You are the glue that keeps your family together, the nurturer who comforts your kid(s) when they’re sick or injured, and the number one cheerleader when good things happen. You’re always there. So we’d like to encourage you to take some time for yourself and your own needs (and not just on Mother’s Day).
Self-care for Mother’s Day (and beyond!)
You’ve probably heard it before: You can’t pour from an empty cup. We would be shocked if you didn’t know self-care is important to feeling your best and being the mom you want to be. We also know that’s often easier said than done. In fact, 78% of moms say they put their loved ones’ needs ahead of their own health. How can you take time for yourself when your kid(s) need you, you have a house to tend to, and you have countless other responsibilities to worry about? Start small. Work in some self-care every day (not just Mother’s Day!), and don’t feel guilty about it! Here are some of our favorite tips:
Sleep! We know you have a lot on your plate, but sleep is essential to feeling your best and being the mom you want to be. Not only are there numerous physical benefits to getting more sleep (both short-term and over time), but there are also emotional benefits, as sleep gives your mind time to process emotions. Have you ever had one of those days where you feel stressed and overwhelmed, and it makes it harder to be a patient mom? Getting more, higher quality sleep – consistently – can help with that. You can improve your quality of sleep by blocking out sounds and light, establishing a routine, and avoiding blue light (emitted by devices like your cell phone or laptop) within a half-hour of bedtime.
Take a break. Whether it’s taking a bubble bath with a scented candle, curling up in your favorite chair with a book and a cup of coffee or tea, or lying down with an eye mask, taking even a short amount of time to relax can be refreshing, especially if you do so on a regular basis. Allow your mind a break from constant worries and to-do lists, and just exist. As this Washington Post article notes, “Being on and at the ready for your children at all times can cause burnout and make things that could be everyday treasures feel like everyday chores.” You owe it to yourself and your family to take occasional breaks.
Get moving. Depending on your schedule, you might not be able to commit to a long, intense workout routine, but getting a little movement into your day on a regular basis is a great way to practice self-care. A few options for making time to move include finding ways to fit in some exercise while at work, exercising with your kids, or combining exercise with our next tip by finding a group fitness class you really enjoy and signing up with friends to make it a fun social activity as well. If nothing else, even taking a short walk can help you clear your head, get some fresh air, and remember your own needs. And getting your blood pumping can help you feel better, too.
Take some time for your hobbies and interests. Motherhood can take over many aspects of your life. Everything from your routines to your thoughts can be overrun by what’s required of you and what your kid(s) need. Try to carve out some time for your own hobbies, books, or activities. Hobbies can build confidence, offer a creative outlet, and give your brain a break in order to think more freely and effectively. They don’t have to take up a lot of time, either. You can listen to books on tape or learn a language during your commute or take an hour to yourself first thing in the morning or right before bed. Not excited by any of your usual go-to’s? Try something new! Learning a new activity can help you maintain your own identity when you feel like you’re being fully consumed by your role as Mom.
Connect with others (who aren’t fully dependent on you). Look for opportunities to get out of the house without your kid(s) and connect with others, if only for an hour. Meet a friend for a walk or a quick lunch to catch up. Plan the occasional date night. Join a group dedicated to a hobby you enjoy. Allow yourself to be someone other than Mom to those around you. Most moms consulted for this USA Today article agreed that friendships are important for bouncing around ideas, venting, bragging, and laughing. Overall, “friends make you feel like you’re not alone.” That’s important self-care! Not only that, but friends can offer support and advice that you can’t get by simply trying to “go it alone.”
Making your life a little easier
Beyond active self-care efforts, you can also make your life as a mom a little easier with solutions to your everyday needs. Whether you need new masks or mask liners, want to keep hand sanitizer at-the-ready when you’re on the go, or want to keep glasses and screens clean, Flents has your back with the little things you don’t want taking up precious mental space.
Good Housekeeping: Putting Your Family First Doesn’t Make You a Better Mom
American Sleep Association: How Important is Sleep?
WebMD: Surprising Reasons to Get More Sleep
Washington Post: Why self-care is an important part of parenting, and how to make time for it
Parents: The Busy Mom’s Exercise Schedule
National Institutes of Health: Exercise for Mental Health
The Savvy Working Mom: Hobbies for Busy Moms
USA Today: Is it really that important to have other parent friends?