Motherhood is amazing, fun, lonely, stressful, bursting with love and frustration! There are so many competing demands – after school activities, play dates, homework, screen time, diet, friendships, dental hygiene, grades, social skills, sun & water safety, fitness… and the list goes on! How do I take better care of myself when I have so much to do? It is so easy to push our needs to tomorrow, then the day after that, but eventually it is forgotten and we are not taking proper care of ourselves. To be our best selves we need to know how to fill our bucket and take better care of ourselves, in every single way that counts.
If you don’t take care of yourself Mum, it becomes a habit
The biggest worry is when it becomes a habit. I’ve known mums (including myself!) who have put off important doctors appointments, pap smears, dentist appointments, operations, physiotherapy, a course they wanted to do, a weekend away with their partner, eating a meal, drinking water, moisturising their skin, getting their hair done, waxing….I could go on and on.
I’m not talking about times when it is impossible. I’m talking about when we can do it but we don’t do it. We mindlessly watch TV, we forget to schedule that appointment or make the arrangements to make these things happen. You make it happen for your family, so let’s make it happen for YOU. Look after yourself mum by following these top tips!
1. STOP 🛑 MUM GUILT NOW!
Motherhood is full of ups and downs, sometimes multiple times in the same hour! We are on a journey and we are doing our best. Never before has there been so much pressure on parents. It is easy to blame yourself when things go wrong, even when 99.9% of the time, things go right. It’s ok if you forget something! We all make mistakes, no matter how organised we are.
I am a true believer in the mind feeding the body, constantly berating ourselves is not healthy. We need to celebrate our accomplishments- our kids are happy! We survived the school year! I made it to the concert! We had a wonderful birthday party! Hold on to the warm and fuzzy feelings and successes for when we feel crappy or for when things are not going so well.
Lower the bar!
We don’t have to have a show home to be happy. Our kids are happier to have smudges of food on their outfits or dirt from the backyard, rather than having to look pristine all the time. A child doesn’t need an exclusive label on their jumper to look adorable. Every child will not be in the top band academically, be a top athlete, excel in their chosen activity and that is OK! Our job is to help them reach their own potential and to contribute positively to society. Success should not come at the expense of our health or our kid’s mental or physical health. Being part of a family means looking after one another, remember to take better care of yourself.💖
2. Manage unrealistic expectations of yourself
Speak you yourself like you would to a friend
There are only so many hours in one day and only so many things that can be done. If you are the type of person who expects too much of themselves – you are setting yourself up for failure. Be realistic in what you can achieve and be proud of your efforts. Speak to yourself as you would your child or a friend and reduce the voice of your inner critic. You deserve the same respect!
List everything that you would like done and tick them off
Write down all of the things you would like to achieve that day, tick them off as they are completed and give yourself a pat on the back. Any tasks that are not completed, more to tomorrow’s list. As soon as a task pops into your head write it down so that you don’t forget and make sure you tick it off when it is done. You won’t believe just how many tasks you do in one day.
Thirdly, check out your to-do list everyday and prioritise what needs to get done. Sometimes we put off that one task because we don’t want to do it and then bang – it causes us immense stress sorting it out. Tackle the crappy ones first! Lastly, delegate tasks to your partner or anyone that helps out with the kids. Sometimes they just don’t know how to help (sad but true!) and this will help you lighten your load.
3. Get a badass diary planner
Firstly, put in every date, every to do list and carry it with you! Once you start doing it, the habit will become remarkably easy. Secondly, use your calendar in your smart phone as well and add your partner to calendar events. That way, all bases are covered and stress is reduced as you know what you need to do and when.
Put in some dates to look after yourself!
Plan a girls night, a date night, time to do your nails, hair…the opportunities are endless! Schedule in a yoga class or a walk, even better invite a friend to do it with you. Would our kids go to swimming lessons every week if it wasn’t scheduled? I doubt it! We need to put exercise into our calendars, even if it is 15 minutes a couple of times a week. You will feel better for it!
Friendship will fill your bucket with love
Friendship feeds the soul. Yes we are busy, some people are busier than others. But do not underestimate the value of catching up with your pals. It boosts your mood and also shows your kids that friendships are important. Whether you arrange a play date of your own without the kids or with the kids…get together with your friends. Even a 20 minute coffee will make you feel connected and might even help get something off your chest.
Simplify your schedule
Some kids have crazy schedules – piano lessons followed up with violin lessons, double swimming lessons followed by tutoring, chess and tennis lessons in the same afternoon in two different parts of the city.
If you are stressed, chances are your kids are too. Choose activities that your kids love to do and then it will bring you joy to see them happy. Don’t buy into filling every minute of your kids time with a structured activity, it is expensive and completely unnecessary. Free time and play can do wonders for children and parents.
Take better care of yourself by making that doctor 🥼 appointment now
We run to the doctor when our kids are sick, but how many mums or dads run to the doctor when they are sick? Some put off crucial doctor visits, simply forgetting to schedule it into the diary. Above all, it is important to keep on top of your health and it helps reduce your anxiety.
Don’t put off that doctor visit. If you are worried about something, please see the doctor to sort it out. Putting off health issues just exacerbates the problem. We can also feel sluggish and have less energy for our families and ourselves if we do not take care of our health and wellbeing.
Regularly check your breasts for lumps, we all know that we should do this but how many of us do? Not sure how to do it? Find out here. In addition, put a reminder in your diary or your smart phone to do this once a month and stick to it.
Go to the dentist🦷
Schedule that appointment and get there – your teeth will thank you! Follow your advice to the kids regarding flossing and brushing!
4. Say NO more often!
Do you really want to go four birthday parties on the weekend? Do you want to run from activity to activity until you are dizzy? Deep down you know what is best for you and your family – follow your gut and inner voice. People will either understand or get over it, we aren’t superheroes and sometimes it is just ‘no’ without an explanation.
5. Take better care of yourself by asking for help
Hit up family and friends!
Look after yourself by asking for help when you need it. Bring someone with you to watch the kids at the doctors surgery or leave them with grandparents or a relative. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are lots of wonderful nannies and babysitters out there. Ask around to find out who your friends or family use to help them. Network with other mums to help each other out for when you are running late for school pickups, weekend sport or unexpected situations that arise from time to time. Reach out, that other mum will be so glad that you did.
If you are time poor or hate doing a particular job, if finances allow you to outsource it, then go ahead! Cleaning, ironing, car washing, lawn mowing, dog walking, there is a service for all of it. Even if it means you have an hour that week to yourself, then it was worthwhile.
Put the kids to work
It can be an uphill battle but it is well worth getting your kids to help out with something. Getting them in the habit of picking up their clothes and towels off the floor, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up the dining table after dinner….all of these tasks take a few minutes and save precious time and energy to a busy and over it mum by the end of the day!
6. Go to sleep 😴 to take better care of yourself
Take better care of yourself by getting enough sleep. I am extremely guilty of this one 😬🤭 I love staying up late when the house is quiet, my ideas flow and I feel amazing….until I have to get up early for the school run! After awhile, it does catch up with you causing you to feel tired and lethargic. Going to bed early helps with everything, it really isn’t worth staying up late.
7. Pursue that passion NOW
Take that art class, write in your journal, have a warm bath…whatever you have been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten around to….now is the time to do it. Put it in your diary and make it happen. Is it a long term project? Dissect it into bite sized chunks and plan accordingly.
Spark joy in your life by spending 5-10 minutemen s per day to do something that you love. You will be surprised how once you get started, you will look forward to that time. It could be reading a book, gardening, walking, spending time in nature, practicing yoga or taking a bath. If we don’t plan these little moments to ourselves, time can get away from us and we can feel like we never do anything for ourselves. When we plan what we are going to do and when, we are more likely to follow through with it and be happier for it.
8. Think about your social media use
Social media fuels the expectation to have a perfect life, but there really is no such thing. We make mistakes, our kids will make mistakes and that is how they will learn. The same goes for us as parents. Unfortunately there wasn’t a beginners guide on how to be a parent, we learn along the way.
Does using social media make you happy? Is it adversely affecting you? Check out my post on feeling Insta Worthy #no filter needed. Do you use your phone to procrastinate, compare yourself to others or hide behind texting instead of talking? Am I really being me?
Take better care of yourself by keeping an eye on our feelings while using social media. For example, unfollow pages or people that make you feel uncomfortable. Similarly, switching off your phone can be liberating, or putting it away for awhile and just being you…
9. Spoil yourself often
Buy that longed for item and feel the joy that it brings you. Be surrounded by things that you love and make you happy. Don’t always go out and buy something for the kids, buy something for yourself! Some of us have no problem with shopping! But I do know some mums that feel guilty for buying a dress that they love or something that they have been meaning to buy for a long time.
10. Be you
We are bombarded with advertising and messages everyday, how we should look and feel. We feel the pressure to look great, be a certain size, keep up with fashions….ughhhhh! Each and every one of us have a unique style and way of being. Consequently, this is what makes life interesting, Be YOU and you will be HAPPY!
Whatever that is, whatever you need to do, being a mum changes us in ways that we never imagined, but the essence of us is still there….our uniqueness. Foster that, as we will need it one day when our children grow up and leave the nest. Nurture your spirit and share your gifts with your family. Don’t bow down to pressure to conform to a norm, be you.
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This is really interesting to think about!