Taking Care of Yourself While You Are Taking Care of Others: Tips from Moms Who Know
by Stef Daniel
Each day you start out with the best of intentions! Today will be the day you wake up half an hour before the kids just so you can get in your morning run or partake in the yoga video you bought a year ago that still sits unwrapped! Then…footsteps coming down the stairs, tiny voices saying “mama, I don’t feel so good,” and a sink so full of dishes that you can’t find your coffee cup beckon and succinctly distract you from your best laid plans! After a while, this routine that always occurs in some form or fashion takes a toll on you, and it is easy to lose both your motivation and the jovial smile that makes you so special! Combine that with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and it seems that, as always, on the to-do list that is life…mom comes last! What is a mom to do?
First of all, realize now before its way too late, that if you don’t take care of yourself physically and emotionally, you will have little if anything to offer your children. You will turn into a robot with wrinkles who has forgotten about all the things that used to make you passionate. Rid yourself of the thinking that by doing more and more for others and sacrificing yourself constantly, you are not just Supermom, but also doing your duty in life. Throw silent expectations that only you hold yourself to, as well as guilt, out the window! In order to be a great parent and person you have to be happy, and nurturing yourself physically and emotionally is the only way to accomplish this. Here are a few more tips:
- Your mother-in-law may not be your favorite choice in babysitter, BUT for you to take a class or get away for an hour, it’s worth the kids eating cookies and coke for lunch. When you get back, you will be in such a good mood it won’t matter to you. Certainly, it’s worth ignoring her antics for an hour or two a week.
- Schedule play dates that involve adults. Who says a group of moms can’t get together and walk with their kids or take a cycling class and send the babes to the nursery? This gives your kids socialism and you time to take care of your body.
- No matter how tired you are, don’t go to sleep when the kids do. You would be surprised how much you can get done when no one is tugging at your pant leg or wanting to be fed. If you aren’t a night owl, set the alarm and make early morning your ME TIME.
- Don’t forget to have sex! Make time for it, even if it is just a quickie. It has an amazing way of keeping you and your honey close, making you feel sexy, and helping to keep you motivated throughout the day.
- Never be tempted to stay in your pajamas all day. Get up, take a shower, and do your hair and face. You will feel better about your-self, which has a direct result on how motivated you feel every day. Being sloppy and dirty will make you feel lazy and forgotten.
- While the kiddos are eating cereal and watching cartoons, pop in your favorite exercise video. Sure, they will want to join you, but they are never too young to learn the importance of exercise! Allow them to try, and be firm that this is mommy time. After a few times, they will get the picture.
- Take at least one night a month (that’s not too much to ask) to have either a girls night out or a date night with your hubby. You will feel rejuvenated and renewed when you spend some time with just adults. It will be great for your self-esteem and reminding you that you are a grown-up with passions and needs in life.
- When you find that you are getting easily irritated, take a break or a time out. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to admit when you have had enough. Every mom feels that way whether they admit it or not.
- Make things easier on yourself. Use paper plates, grab dinner that has already been made, etc. This will give you more time to do things you enjoy and will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. The point is you can’t do it all and take care of yourself too!
There is no such thing as Supermom! When you feel good about the things in your life that are outside of your children, you will feel motivated and full of energy. When you take time to consider your goals and reach for them, you will feel proud. When you take time to work out and care for your body, you will have more energy and better health. Often, in lieu of trying to be perfect, mothers forget who they are! You and your family deserve to have a mother that is ever present and full of life, and the only way to do this is to take care of you!
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