*** Dear Supermom is an ongoing series that will answer questions I get from my readers. I compile them and answer them each quarter. Feel free to submit your questions anytime under our “Contact Us” page. ***
Dear Supermom – There’s No Time For Mommy Self-Care
Everyone keeps saying that I must take time for self-care as a mom — and I’m just going to say it… there’s just no time for self-care. I read it everywhere. It’s all you hear! Self-care this and self-care that. Blah… blah… blah. What’s the big deal anyway? I’m doing fine! And besides, I have no time for self-care anyway. My schedule is packed and there is absolutely no place in the day to work in anything else. It’s just not possible. After all, I’m putting my family first… isn’t that what you are supposed to do as a mom?
No Time For Self-Care Mom
Dear “No Time For Self-Care Mom”,
It’s time for some tough love, friend. I’m a fellow mom. I get it. Taking care of your family can be an all-consuming thing. Life and schedules get busy, and sometimes even downright chaotic. But taking care of yourself HAS to be a top priority.
It’s hard. I get it. I really do. Taking care of yourself requires energy and time that you just don’t think you have. You’re tired and frazzled and burnt out. I understand. I’m right there with you. So is every other mom out there. It’s not easy to stop and take time for self-care when your to-do list is a mile long. Yet, you MUST. It’s really not an optional activity that you can take or leave. You MUST take care of yourself so you can be the best mommy and wife or partner that you can be.
Be an Example
Something you probably aren’t thinking of is that you must be the example for your children for self-care. How will they learn to stop and take care of themselves if you don’t lead by example? Do you want your kids thinking it’s cool to never take a break and run themselves into the ground? That there’s no time for fun and rest? That if you are sick you should just keep on going and never stop to recuperate?
Or… do you want them to wisely learn to assess when they need a break and to learn to do the things they need to do to fill their buckets back up when they are running low? Don’t you want to be an example to teach your kids how to be their best selves? We don’t want to teach our kids to be little wound up balls of stress, do we? NO!
Re-Define What You Consider Self Care
One of the first things we need to do as moms is change the narrative on what self-care is and what it’s not. It doesn’t have to be an entire spa day filled with pampering and luxury. Sure, that’s nice, and if possible, you should do that whenever you want to and can afford to. But good quality self-care doesn’t have to be anything nearly as complex as that.
Small Time Counts Too…
Lots of moms assume you need big blocks of time to be able to take a little time for caring for yourself. But that’s wrong! You can work your self-care into five- or ten-minute openings all during the day with ease. And I think lots of small increments of self-care can really go a long way to help keep your mental attitude positive and help your body feel good. And short spurts of self-care are a LOT easier to work into your daily life. For sure!
So first things first, make sure you understand that self-care can be a lot of little things that add up through your days. Showing up for yourself doesn’t have to be a big and dramatic event. It can be as simple as a five-minute stretch break. Or a ten-minute walk.
Finding The Time
But Supermom, I just don’t have the time…
Yes, you do. We just have to help you find it. And I’m here to tell you, there are pockets of time everywhere during your day. You just have to know where to look!
Become a Planner
Sometimes working in self-care time will involve planning a little. Plan out your days so that you know what openings you do have, when those openings are, and where you will be for them. I’m not saying you have to plan every second of your days. That sounds awful. But get a general structure of your day in your mind so you know where the opportunities are and where they are not. You have to find your margins of time when you can!
Work in the Margins
For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my youngest has speech therapy from 1:30-2:00. And I need to pick up my oldest, just a little few miles away at 2:50. So, that’s not enough time to really get a lot done and the time could easily just be wasted. But it’s enough time for a quick errand if needed. Or it’s time that I can put the stroller in the car and take a quick 20-25-minute walk with my little guy while we wait for big brother at school. Or if it’s a gross day, we can drive through Starbucks and mommy gets a coffee treat and little guy gets an iPad and we just sit and wait for brother and relax for a few minutes.
Don’t look now… but that kind of multitasking… is self-care. There are ALL kinds of ways to help you re-charge your batteries. You just have to look for them.
Have you considered getting up a little earlier than usual? I’m a big fan of waking up early in the mornings to get some quiet time before the kids and husband wake up. It’s the time of day when the house is silent and I can totally relax. I have some coffee, plan my day, read a book, journal, watch a tv show. Whatever I want! It’s my time.
If you think you aren’t an early riser, give it a go. Just get up five or ten minutes earlier to start out. It can make a world of difference in your day. Just try it.
If you are just never going to be a morning person, stay up a little later than everyone in your house and catch some quiet time after everyone is in bed. This doesn’t work for me often because I’m pooped by the time I get the kids in bed. I’m not a night owl, for sure. But for some people, that’s their best time. If it’s yours, work in some self-care time in the later evenings!
How about time in the car? Could you listen to your favorite music? An uplifiting podcast? An audio book? I do a combo of all these things in the car. I’m in the car a LOT every day, so I make sure to take that time to treat myself to self-care time. Make sure you’ve got your favorite coffee or tea with you, and a snack. And your car commute time just turned into some precious self-care time.
Exercise is a huge part of self-care. For me, it’s vital to keep my mental attitude in check. I need to move my body each day, and I can really tell the difference when I don’t. So, even if it’s just for ten minutes, go outdoors if possible, get some sunshine and get moving. It’ll help. I promise.
It can be as simple as moving around outside when your kids are playing. Or taking them for a walk in the stroller after lunch. Or getting everyone out and moving after school.
Double Duty Self-Care
You can do multiple things to take care of yourself at the same time. Did you know that? Maybe multi-tasking will appeal to you as a busy mom. You can super-charge your self car time!
You can jump on the treadmill and walk WHILE you watch your favorite tv show. OR go for a walk and listen to a podcast or audio book. Cook dinner AND stop and read a magazine at the same time. Or cook dinner and put your favorite show on tv at the same time.
Find a Friend!
You could invite a friend out to lunch and then go for a walk together. Or have a friend over for an afternoon of cooking and you both walk away with dinners for a week! And you spent time together! The possibilities are almost endless if you put your mind to it!
Play a Game
Find a game you love on your phone that you can play for a few short minutes. It lets you sit down, rest your mind, and recharge your inner battery. Calling all candy crush lovers!
Instant Pot and Slow Cooker
One of my most favorite things to do is to throw dinner into the slow cooker or even better, the Instant Pot. And walk away. Dinner is cooking but needs no further input from you until it’s done. So you’ve now got extra time to go do whatever you need to do.
My favorite routine is to put dinner in the Instant Pot, and then see how many things I can squeeze in before dinner is ready. I can usually empty and load the dishwasher, prepare backpacks, lunches and outfits for the next day, and give the house a quick all over sparkle and vacuum. All while dinner is cooking.
Make sure you’ve got some great Instant Pot, slow cooker and easy meals in your arsenal to help you get more done in less time. You can sit and read a book or magazine for a few minutes. Or find extra playtime with the kids. Or quiet time for yourself. It’s just all about knowing where to find the extra time.
Here are a few of my favorite Instant Pot Recipes:
- Instant Pot Tomato Chicken Stew
- Pot Roast – Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Goulash
- Chicken Cacciatore – Instant Pot
Don’t be afraid to take some help from the old world wide web. Technology is our friend, folks! Order your groceries online. You can totally have household supplies delivered to your door, shop for clothes online and have them delivered to your door. You name it, you can probably have it done online these days. Use that to your advantage!
You can get an amazing amount of fun stuff in subscription boxes these days! You can do snack boxes, clothing subscriptions, craft boxes, hobby boxes, kid activity boxes, cooking classes, dates in a box, make-up and cosmetic subscriptions… just to name a few! Treat yourself to a few of these subscriptions for some built in fun and self-care each month! Ask for them as a birthday, anniversary or Christmas gift as a way to care for yourself all the year through.
Do you have an hour to go to the grocery store and do your shopping? Take ten minutes and order your groceries online for pick up or even delivery to your house. And then take the rest of that time and go get a manicure or pedicure! Or go take a bubble bath while you wait for your groceries to be delivered. I’m pretty sure the grocery folks can pick out a good banana for you. Relinquish that need for control and take the help from the online pickup grocery world!
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Stuff You Need To Help Save Time:
- Instant Pot IP-DUO60 321 Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-QT
- Essential 8.5×11 Monthly & Weekly 2020 Planner
- Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight Jogging Stroller
- TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds with Wireless Charging Case
Wrap Up – There’s No Time For Mommy Self-Care
I think I have adequately proved that there is PLENTY of time for mommy self-care now. You now have the ideas for how to find time in your day to help yourself and take better care of yourself. And hopefully you see that you can squeeze in some self-care in as little as five minutes. And while little spurts of self-care here and there may seem like small things, they really add up to make a huge difference in your days and in your outlook. Being a mommy is a super important job. Just make sure that you take good care of your kid’s mommy. You are the only mommy they have!
I hope these ideas help you, dear frazzled friend. Try some of them out and as always, just keep shuffling.