Moms who are home all day chasing after little kids face a unique challenge in life: They must manage the constant demands and calling of motherhood, while at the same time prioritize their own self-care needs. See how it can be done.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I walked down the hall. And as I stepped back to do a double take, I was aghast. The unhappy face staring back at me was unrecognizable. Dark under eye circles, patchy acne-prone skin, chapped lips, a dry flakey scalp visible (despite the messy mom bun), and even a new anger wrinkle piercing it’s way through over the last couple years.
An overwhelmed mom of three still in pajamas stood before me…one who could not make time to care for her own basic needs.
I was lacking those very things I seemed to take for granted before becoming a mom:
- A fresh shower
- Combed hair
- Moisturized skin
- A clearer complexion
- Clean clothes
- Sleeping through the night
The Many Jobs of a SAHM
But honestly, when you’re a mom that’s home all day with the kids just trying to SURVIVE another day, who has time for all that self-care, really?
Okay, let’s face it. As a stay-at-home mom you will find unique difficulties that arise daily. Chasing toddlers, wiping butts, picking up Legos and enforcing time-outs. You play the role of everyone from maid and chef to teacher and referee. So when 95% of your time is spent doing things (yes, necessary things!) for others, it’s hard to find time to fit yourself in the schedule.
The Secret to Finding Time
But if there’s one lesson I’ve learned the hard way after being home with my kids for almost 6 years, it’s this: if you want more time, the best way to get it is to simply MAKE TIME. That includes making time for yourself! Because the truth is, you will never have MORE time. You just have to prioritize your own basic needs and health to fit it in your already hectic schedule. Just like you make time for your kids meal times, bath times and play time. Even if that means cooking your meals at the same time you are already cooking your kids meals. Or using nap time to stretch your body and relax instead of loading the laundry and picking up toys. And although I dread it too…waking up 15 minutes before your kids wake up to take a shower and get dressed.
It’s not to say that you have to get all dolled up to care for kids while in the privacy of your own home, but simple changes to help you look and FEEL better now can make all the difference.
Because if you don’t do it now, what will you look and feel like years from now? Trust me, things won’t magically get better unless you start when it matters.
Self-Care Tips for the SAHM
Taking time to tackle those basic things you need to do to feel your best as a mother, doesn’t have to be complicated if you focus on these basic main areas of your life:
Get MORE sleep! I can’t overstate the obvious but a cranky, exhausted mom is a recipe for disaster. Sleep-deprivation has been linked to a number of issues, but unfortunately as a mom to little ones it’s something we never get enough of.
We all know the difference a full night’s sleep makes, but even going to bed EARLIER can have significant positive outcomes in your mood. You wake up with more energy and are less likely to be on edge so you can handle whatever tantrum comes your way!
As moms looking after babies and toddlers, it’s a little hypocritical how we emphasize the need for them to eat veggies, get plenty of liquids and choose healthy food groups as much as possible, but it’s a shame we often don’t hold ourselves to the same standards.
You know what I’m talking about mama…when you’re low on time and just need a snack you reach for the chocolate cookies, chips or box of donuts! Don’t give in to the constant sugar-cravings — moderation is key — it’ll only add to the urge to keep your cool and yell at your kids.
Just as eating healthy is key when you’re a mom needing to nourish yourself, simply finishing your meals is equally important. Because when we’re so occupied with handling the day-to-day worries, we often push aside that plate and skimp on meals…which is almost just as bad or worse than grabbing sweets.
You worry about when your kids need to bath, brush their teeth and change their clothes, but you forget to prioritize your own appearance. Granted it may take a little longer for mom to get ready, but you just need to remember to keep it simple. Take a quick shower, wash your face and change your clothes (it doesn’t matter if you go for the yoga pants or workout gear) as long as you feel comfortable is key. Those little steps will better prepare you to start your day on the right foot!
If you’re like me, chasing your kids from room to room, up and down stairs all day, you’ll wonder why the heck would you need any more movement in you life?! While that certainly burns hundreds of calories, make sure you add a little less stressful movements into your routine. Simple stretches or yoga moves with the kids can help keep your body balanced and less susceptible to injuries while running after the kids.
Taking time alone during the day to just breathe and reflect is good for everyone, but even more so for a mom that’s been busy handling the chaos of kids all day. Because an overwhelmed mom is most certainly in need of an outlet for the stress. So whether it’s 5, 10 or 15 minutes make the time to be still during your hectic day. Unplug. Light a candle. Focus on a mantra or positive affirmation to get you through. It will make a world of a difference.
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Get out of the house
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you live in a bubble with kids at home — the world revolves around your kids so it’s easy to feel like that’s all there is to life. But just as you do everything you can do raise healthy and happy kids, taking time for yourself to get fresh air, find your identity or re-connect with mom friends is equally important for your sanity.
These simple changes in your life can put you on the path to remember what these early (albeit exhausting) motherhood years are all about. And the next time you see your reflection in the mirror, you’ll be able to smile back at the face who’s made a little time to take care of her children’s beautiful mother, too.
Looking for more ways to take care of yourself as a SAHM?
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.