Your job as Mom can be stressful! Whether your kids are teens or tots. Whether you have 10 kids or an only. No matter how much money you have. Motherhood is fast-paced (although the hours seem to drag at times, eh?). It involves bodily fluids. It involves teaching the common sense things and also the book things (for us homeschoolers, anyway). We worry at every stage of our children’s lives. We play chauffeur, chef, housekeeper, nurse, coach…I’m sure you’ve heard the list before.
This is not to say that dads aren’t stressed, busy, or in need of some TLC. But we moms are on call 24/7, and the majority of the childcare duties, if not all of them, are placed on our shoulders. There is no substitute for Mom, even if you do have help with childcare.
Even the busiest moms can and SHOULD find time for a quick pick-me-up each day. We have to refuel our tanks at some point ’cause a person can only run on fumes for so long. And that is not a pretty sight when it comes to parenting.
You can avoid busy mom burnout with these tips for self-care. You owe it to yourself and to your kids (and heck, even to hubby). Try to do at least one self-care strategy each day.
Take a bath or shower.
Yeah, yeah, we all need to bathe. But I know I’m not the only mom who at times isn’t getting a shower in daily. I really prefer baths (and looong ones at that) but that’s not so easy with a nursing 6-month old and a toddler who cries at a locked door. If I can make the time for it, I will feed and get the baby to sleep, then put the toddler safely in his high chair with a snack or book, and ask the older children to keep an eye on the baby if she wakes up before I’m out. It makes my day run smoother if I can just get 20 minutes, uninterrupted, in a hot bath with a book. The dishes can wait.
Decide how dressed and ready you like to get.
A lot of homeschoolers stay in pajamas all day (that’s us!). Others prefer to get dressed in street clothes each morning. I know some moms who like to put on some makeup and do their hair before the kids get up. If this is you, get to it! If staying in PJs is not good for your own productivity, by all means, get as dressed as you would like. Taking care of your appearance, even if you’re not going anywhere, can be just what you need to give your mental health a boost.
You can speed this process by picking out clothes the night before (even if just in your head, no need to lay it all out) and keeping your bathroom uncluttered so you can readily access the beauty items you need.
Rekindle your passions.
What are your hobbies that you say you never have time for anymore? This could be crafts, sewing, soaping, playing an instrument, exercise, baking, reading, writing, ANYTHING. Is there a way to involve the kids or do it alongside them? Or stay up late once or twice a week and do something for yourself. We can always make time for the things that matter to us. Get a game plan for how you can still do your favorite things.
You might have to take things on in chunks. For example, if I am wanting to sew something, I’ll print and tape a few patterns one night. The next night I’ll cut my fabric and the following day or night I can start the actual sewing. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’m done and usually it means I have made something special for one of my kids, which is always a fulfilling feeling. More importantly, though, it helps me keep my own sense of self and I enjoy the process of creating. It’s a win for everyone.
Take care of your health.
This will look different for each of us, but could include everything from eating a certain diet to exercising to taking your supplements each morning with a smoothie. Often, moms of many suffer from adrenal fatigue, low energy, and overall depletion of necessary vitamins and minerals. For me, taking a fistful of pills each day isn’t something I necessarily look forward to, BUT the alternative is a life that is miserable! The adrenal cocktail is number 1 on my list and it only takes 60 seconds to make. In addition, each night I place my supplements for the next day in a small bowl so they are ready to go in the morning when I’m only half awake. If there was only one self-care thing I could do each day, it would be this.
You might not need supplements or special drinks, but maybe a run before breakfast with your now-cobwebbed jogging stroller is ideal for you. Or maybe you enjoy cooking and eating a paleo diet. Or going out to your garden and feeling the warm sun on your face and the earth in your hands (both of which have proven health benefits!). I would strongly encourage you to do something with the aim of good health most days each week.
It’s so basic that it’s easily overlooked. But laughter really can be the best medicine. It alters your brain chemistry! It makes the mood lighter and relieves some of the stress resting on you from daily life.
In particular, laughing with your kids is a mood booster that cannot be downplayed! Laughter improves relationships and gives a sense of closeness. It’s free and it takes no extra time out of your day to find something funny in the mundane, like giving your kids instructions in a funny voice.
So, even if you’re a busy mom, you need to find a few minutes to care for your body and mental health each day. Do you have any self-care tips you would add?