When my low fuel indicator lights up on my dashboard I quiver and get myself to the nearest gas station without delay. We maintain our vehicles with oil and transmission changes yet we run ourselves down into the ground with little or no self-maintenance as busy moms. I’d rather maintain something then be forced to fix it once it breaks. It’s probably because maintenance can be planned, anticipated, is generally less stressful and less expensive. Emergency repairs on the other hand are unexpected, overwhelming, super stressful and very pricey.
We maintain machines that we want to last. Why do we resist self-maintenance and self-care as a mom?
Someone should dream up a gizmo for moms like our car dashboard indicators. Something that dings and lights up when we need maintenance in one of the 8 dimensions of wellness. I can see it now, “Ding — Dirty bathroom. Time to clean. Ding — Low on Sleep. Go to bed early. Ding — Phone a friend. You need moral support.” Shark Tank here we come! Seriously though, if we treated our bodies with regular self-maintenance and self-care the same way we treat our vehicles then we would all be much better off. Too often moms let their personal well-being slide in order to accommodate others (i.e. children, boss, husband), or circumstances (i.e. school events, birthdays, family gatherings). Mom’s that operate exhausted, frustrated, empty, and unfulfilled because of self-neglect are no good for anyone, especially themselves. Moms that make self-maintenance a priority operate with calmness and joy that is deep and nurturing. I don’t know about you, but the outcome from self-maintenance for mom's sounds like the winner to me. A healthy body and mind connection is a result from healthy self-care for moms. Self-care gives moms the ability to enjoy the finer things life has to offer so that we can live a dynamic self-actualized life.
What is Self-Care for Moms?
Self-care for moms is an intentional act to improve her own mental, emotional and physical health. It includes all the things a mom might do to take care of herself. Yes, this can include things such as brushing teeth, but it’s so much more than just basic hygiene. Self-care is meant to refresh and restore. It is made up of daily habits that unite our minds to our bodies. Self-care is not meant to be used to improve yourself so that you can become something better or different. I’ve got news for you, there is nothing better than being the authentic version of yourself. You are enough just as you are and you deserve to be happy. Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you don't get to feel rested, loved and fulfilled. The emotional benefit is happiness and it is not a luxury or privilege, it is a priority.
Why Is Self-Care For Moms Important?
Self-care is important for moms because it helps us restore balance to the 8 dimensions on the Wheel of Life. The World Health Organization defines self-care even more broadly as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” (1) Focusing on physical health (nutrition, exercise, sleep) is a great start for a mom, but there are 7 other dimensions of our well-being that need self care too. If the goal is to reach self-actualization, then using self-care to find balance among the 8 dimensions of the Wheel of Life is a priority. Self-care for moms comes into play when we notice that one of our dimensions is out of balance. For example, when a mom wants to get back in shape yet overeats because she is overwhelmed with finances. There a several dimensions that need to be addressed. When we are off balance we need to take a closer look to find ways to grow within that sector of our life. When you are willing to acknowledge there’s room for growth you are on the road to better self awareness. (2)
Here are some examples of ways moms can practice self care in each of the 8 dimensions of wellness. Some of these are inspired by my favorite introverted mom, Jamie Martin.
Go to a quiet, dark room with your favorite blanket and just rest. You don’t have to fall asleep, just close your eyes.
Take a walk and don’t take your phone or use your earbuds. Just enjoy the outdoor sounds.
Take a long, hot, uninterrupted shower.
De-clutter one space in your house.
After the kids go to bed, spend 15 minutes cleaning and then stop, even if it's not done.
Practice humility and reach out to a friend or family member for help.
Text a friend and offer your prayers
Next time you go to the library for the kids, borrow at least one book for yourself and read it while your kids look at their picture books for 15 minutes each day.
Get a fresh box of crayons or markers and color in a picture. Grab an adult coloring book if you are able.
Start every morning off with a 2 minute long intention. Prayer or bible verses can anchor your intention. No need to write anything down.
Turn on your favorite music and rock out to it. Maybe even make an entire “happy” playlist
Do 3 rounds of belly breathing. Put your hand on your belly and breathe in through your nose for a count of 6 and breathe out through your lips pushing your belly on your hand for a count of 6. Belly breathing helps us cope with anxious feelings from stress.
Make a pledge to have a complaint free day and honor all that you have instead of all that you don’t have. Relish in the joy of optimism and positivity.
Set time and location boundaries for your work phone so emails and phone calls don’t bleed into everything facet of your life.
Schedule at least a ½ days worth of “mental health time” every month. Take that time and spend 100% of it on yourself for SAHM and working moms.
Self-care for moms needs to be considered sacred. Sacred self-care is giving yourself intimate, unrestricted and unconditional love. Fears are acknowledged and brought out of the shadows so that you can feel them in your physical body and they no longer dictate your identity or your limits. In sacred self-care you choose to be your own best friend. In doing so you allow yourself freedom to feel joy, love, silliness, honesty, truth, and yes, you even allow yourself to feel pain, sorrow and disappointment. When self care is sacred you not only think these feelings in your mind, you also feel these feelings in your physical body and in your soul.
Make Self-Care A Habit
Women are the target of many self-care marketing campaigns that lure us to products or services that can give us that fleeting fuzzy feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. Sadly, this paints a picture that self-care is a luxury and in order to practice self-care we have to spend money. I hate to burst your bubble, but self-care habits do not have to cost anything. No money for self-care. No problem. The less barriers we have to self-care the more likely we are to make self-care a habit. Self-care for moms has to be a habit, a part of the daily routine. In order for self-care to be a habit, moms need motivation, ability and a support system. Any attempt to practice self-care must be done with humility. Tell everyone you know and solicit help. No doubt you’ll get positive feedback.
Self-Care Tips For Moms
Start small. Even just 15 minutes can fill up your self love tank.
Give yourself permission to be happy. You are the producer of your life. You can make the choice to do something for yourself. Choose to give yourself the same time and space you give everyone else in your life.
Forgive yourself for feeling like you failed to make every single person around you happy. You did not fail, you just have to realize that you can’t save the world. Let the mom guilt go.
Find someone to champion your self care efforts. It’s okay to ask for help. Get the word out about your mission and let people love you. It’s your turn to be on the receiving end.
Be intentional about how to practice self care. Find ways that bring balance to your 8 dimensions of wellness.
Mom can't go very far when they have an empty tank. Be a mom that chooses to care about herself. Fill up your mom tank with self-love so you don’t have to run on empty anymore.
About the Author
Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. As a mom of two she gets it. Get your E-Book Mom, Open Your Eyes to Self-Awareness.
You can work one on one with Kelly!!! What are you waiting for?
World Health Organization. Accessed 5 May 2021. What do we mean by self care? Website: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/self-care-interventions/definitions/en/
Hater, Kelly. Mom: Open your eyes to self-awareness. E-book. Accessed on 15 Feb 2021. www.mamabeardomain.com