Working Mom: Habitual Self Care
Moms are busy. Period. The end. If you’re a stay-at-home mom you’re busy. If you’re a working mom you’re busy. It’s go, go, go all day long and sometimes even all night long.
We know self care is important, and even if we don’t actually know it, we hear it over and over again. It all sounds fine and dandy, but when are we going to get the time to book a pedicure? As working moms we spend our lives coordinating who is watching our children when, and the thought of getting another babysitter seems daunting (and pricey). Not to mention the few hours we get with our kids is precious. Just thinking about more time away can kick in that mom guilt.
So we decide to cut luxurious spa days out and take a luxurious uninterrupted shower at 6 a.m. before work or taking our kids to school. That’s wrong too apparently. We hear over and over again that regular hygiene isn’t actually self care. Well I am sorry, sometimes a shower is exactly what the doctor ordered. I get it though. So how can we make these regular routines not so regular? Wouldn’t regular, everyday self care be better than every-once-in-a-while, social-media-perfect self care? Here are five ways to turn self care into habits.
1. Be Intentional
The few moments you have of silence in the morning getting ready or on the car ride home could be the perfect time to turn into self care. Self care is any time you decide to purposefully take care of yourself. It may not look fancy, but it is a time you feel rejuvenated and energized. Sometimes doing a house project or watering the flowers, although it has to be done anyways, fills me with joy and motivation. Not all things that have to be done are things that fill me up. (I’m looking at you laundry). These are things I want to do. Although many would not label mowing the lawn as self care, I would. The sun on my shoulders, the smell of freshly cut grass, the pretty mowed lines--it's a slice of heaven for me. What are some things that you do daily or weekly that have to be done anyway but fills you with energy? During those instances, intentionally tell yourself “this is my time.”
2. Laugh Every Day
A great therapist once told me to intentionally laugh each day. No, this doesn’t mean to force laugh at a lame joke, but to seek out laughter. It could be curling up in bed with a soft blanket and watching a favorite comedic movie (or even just a funny scene) before bed, going through saved posts that you find hilarious, or it could be listening to stand-up on your car ride to work or in your earbuds while you’re doing the dishes. Laughing is known to lift our spirits and ease stress.
3. Listen to Your Music
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard “Welcome to Radiator Springs,” thirty times too many. I smile every time I see my little girl light up when she hears it start, but I also like to teenage-girl-sing Olivia Rodrigo. Maybe you’re not going to pick a fight with your kids over what is played on the radio on the way to school, which means you should intentionally pick my favorites when on lunch break at work or on your way to pick them up. What if you even turned your getting ready for work time into a spa retreat with calming music. Or start your days off right with motivational pick-me-up playlists?
4. Take Care of Your Health
We can practice self care every day by simply taking care of our health. We should be moving our bodies every day. This doesn’t mean we have to run half marathons or hit the weights hard. Even a walk or nice stretch is important. Anything that connects us to our bodies. Those of us with toddlers are running around all the time. Notice your body moving during those times and what strength it has to chase your toddlers. We can even do this with our littles or wake up early for more alone time.
Being mindful of what we eat is also healthy. It’s important to listen to our bodies when we are hungry--remember to pack a lunch for work! (Am I the only one that forgets?)--and when we are full. Are we taking daily vitamins? Drinking enough water? Using sunscreen? Have we been speaking kindly to ourselves, and if not how can we change the narrative in our heads? Maybe we need to jot down some of our pressing thoughts in a journal? These are all simple things that do not seem like a big deal, but when we turn them into daily habits we will be more in-tune with our bodies and minds, which they will thank us for. What is something small you could start today?
5. Be Present
Moms are known multitaskers. Our lives could very well fall apart if we couldn’t talk to our co-worker on the phone, respond to the cashier, and try and calm a check-out line tantrum all at the same time. With this said, we need to take time to slow down. Our minds need care too. Sometimes we need to practice mono-tasking. Doing one task or just thinking about one task as a mom can feel scary at first, but slowing down is like a breath of fresh air. These moments don’t need to be long to be beneficial. When was the last time you turned off your phone or even turned it on do not disturb mode? Tuning out from your phone for even 20 minutes can bring us back into the here and now. Take a few deep five count breaths. Remember this doesn’t have to be in a quiet yoga studio. Mindful breathing could happen sitting in your child’s playroom or waiting in the school pickup zone.