They say in case of emergency, you should put your oxygen mask on first, and then your child’s. But that bit of advice you hear every time you board a plane goes totally against our instincts. Still, it’s terribly important to take this simple advice to heart (whether you’re on a plane or not).
You need to take care of you, so that you have the strength, patience, and energy to be the best mom (and woman) you can be. (Read that again, just in case it didn’t sink in!). If you give yourself away all the time, you’ll end up with nothing left to give.
Not only that, but the more you run yourself down and let stress and exhaustion take over, the more your whole family suffers. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!,“ as they say. So why not try incorporating a little self-care into your life every day.
1. Cross a couple of things off the to-do list. Trust us, life will go on!
2. Make time for yourself – you are important. Block out 30 minutes a day or a larger chunk of time once a week for some “mom-me-time.” If there’s no one to watch the kids for you, set a timer (for a reasonable amount of time based on their ages) and let them know they need to entertain themselves while you take a time-out. (And, during those moments, do something relaxing or enjoyable. “Mom-me-time” is not time to catch up on laundry).
3. Let go – it’s okay to be less than perfect.
4. Accept yourself. “Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” ~Christopher Germer.
5. Empower your children. Start working yourself out of your job when your children are young. Give them responsibilities and clear direction. The time spent will be well worth it as they become more adept.
6. Ask for help. There is no weakness or shame in asking for help – it’s human.
7. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re wonderful. It sounds corny, but it works.
8. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Even moments of mindfulness are beneficial.
9. Make plans to meet with a friend in the coming week (without kids!).
10. Take a walk. Even if it’s just around the block. It will give you perspective.