In May, we just Mother’s Day, but your baby or toddler may not be yet wise to the holiday. As often happens, your dedication and hard work as a primary caregiver can go under the radar and not overtly celebrated as accomplishments may be in other lines of work. Promotions and reward incentives aren’t motivators for parents and it’s a good thing too because your baby boss isn’t offering!
Self-care for mothers is often ignored and perhaps you’ve even felt guilty for hoping for some, but it’s truly crucial to your flourishing in your role. How self-care looks will certainly differ in each season of life and in each household, but there are many ways, large and small, that moms can give themselves some much-needed rest or well-deserved praise. Here are a few ideas that may work for you!
- Allow Yourself A Break – And Be Creative!
Maybe your partner works long hours or you have no budget for child care – that doesn’t mean you can’t ever take a break. Giving yourself a break may mean saving the laundry for another day, or going to bed really early. It might mean building a quiet time into your child’s schedule once they’ve dropped their naps. Simply explain that for a certain hour of the day (I love doing this after lunch once my children drop their naps); it’s quiet room time where your little one can play quietly in their room (or another safe environment). As my children are now all school-aged, we still practice this on weekends and daily during the summer. That hour of solitude is crucial! The pressure to be ‘On’ with our children can be overwhelming. If your child is happily playing blocks or trains, let them be instead of hovering over their playtime. Pick up a book and grab a cup of tea when those little moments arrive instead of feeling that you need to be present for every minute.
- Feed Your Mind, Soul, and Body
Mothering requires a significant donation of our bodies, our minds, and our hearts. The demands on our bodies and ‘Mom Brain’ can feel like our forever normal, but don’t forget to nurture those aspects of yourself. For Mother’s Day, it might mean asking for enrolment in an interesting new exercise class (try Spinning or Barre!) and the needed child care to attend. If you want to get back into reading, organize a book club with some other adults to stimulate your mind and keep you accountable. There is more to life than Dora the Explorer and Paw Patrol! Lastly, if you’ve noticed some changes in yourself since giving birth that gives you cause for concern, don’t be afraid to contact a mental health professional. Postpartum Depression is incredibly common and there is no shame in getting the help you need to be your best self!
- Treat Yourself to a Month of Help
If your budget allows, there are many ways you can treat yourself in the domestic realm. Meal planning, food preparation and delivery services are all the rage right now and often have great deals for new clients. Each company varies slightly, but the basic idea is that you choose recipes from a set list and receive a box of all the ingredients you’ll need to make several terrific meals. Or maybe this looks like hiring a maid service for one or two deep cleans when you’re in a particularly difficult season of parenting. Most of us will never be able to afford these things on a weekly basis, but there are often deals to be found for using these services on an occasional basis when you need them the most.
Moms make the world better every day, so at least this month it will be acknowledged! When you’re offered help, shake off self-sufficiency and pride and accept it! It truly takes a village to raise a child. And if you’re having a specifically challenging time, don’t be afraid to seek out the resources you need to get better and thrive in Motherhood. Communicate clearly to your partner or community and take those little moments of rest and recompense when you can find them. Especially in the little years, it can seem impossible to care for yourself but these are the years you need it the most, so don’t forget yourself in this crazy journey of Motherhood.