Let’s face it. There are seasons of motherhood where quiet, alone, “me” time is just a pipe dream.
The babysitter’s unavailable
The toddler’s climbing the walls.
The week’s a blur of sports, school and other commitments.
Nurturing yourself shouldn’t be the last thing on your to do list.
And, yet, I bet you are doing a year end review right now and “taking care of me” isn’t on it.
We worry more about the kids, our husbands, our parents, and the house…
And somewhere at the bottom of the list...that’s where we end up.
It's Not The Spilled Milk...
Sometimes you fall off the radar. Even with the best intentions, I do it. Wrapped up in the details, failing to see the big picture, I do it all the time.
You know when I know I’ve zoomed right past taking care?
When I find myself crying over spilled milk.
That old adage clues me in.
- Am I over reacting?
- Is my voice louder than it needs to be?
- Do I sound more like a teenager than a 40-something?
I need to take a break.
We think we’re being selfless.
We think we’re loving them well.
We think we need to do it all because if we don’t, who else will?
And then we end up feeling overwhelmed or put upon, resentful and just plain tired.
What Your Kids really need
Our kids don't need us to tidy up after them. They need to see us reading a book because we want to. They need to see us leave for a walk with our friend because it does our soul good. They need to know we leave the house for things other than grocery shopping.
A mom who has interests of her own?
One who believes her health and wellness count?
That mom who takes a break everyday--even if only for a moment?
That's a happy mom.
You can take care of you while still taking care of them...you just have to be creative about it.
You CAN find time, make space for yourself, breathe a little bit more in your wild and crazy days. Start small and get comfortable giving to yourself again. Because you are so worth it.
Happy Moms do...
Breathe: That’s it. Here’s a little magic trick--write the word breathe somewhere you will see it often. If you can see the word, you will breathe in, without thought. And each time you come back to check in, you are guaranteed a breath. Build the habit of breath into your day. Start with getting one good breath a day and it will give you a golden moment, right in the midst of the muddle.
Watch the Sunrise, Watch the Sunset: We rush around. Never make time to sit in quiet and enjoy the feast for the eyes right in front of us. Instead, look out the window. Don't look at the clutter on the counter. Look out the window to the sun-or moon--and just see it.
Journal: Writing down our ideas, hopes and dreams is powerful. Don’t make it a to do list or reminders to you. Ask and answer silly, surprising questions to get to know who you are now. Begin to write your stream of consciousness and see what comes out. Uncover who you are.
Delete a Soul-Sucking App that isn’t Feeding your Soul: I heard this on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin. For a week, live without an app that wastes your time. See if you find time you fogot you had.
Hot drinks and Treats: Grab some quiet time by making sure their mouths are too full to ask you any questions. We use Poetry Teatime to set aside time for treats and sharing good books. A fun, relaxed afternoon together with conversation and delicious sweet things.
Moments to Create: When we are rushed and harried, we need breaks of creative time to recharge. Why not set up an art area for everyone? You will nourish your creative side while your kids do, too. When was the last time you built something out of clay or painted or picked up your planner to doodle?
Grocery Trip Treat: Pick up a treat while you are grocery shopping. Make it that super delicious granola you no longer buy because its an “indulgence”. Buy a copy of the Times to read on Sunday. Or get a pack of gum no one will know is hidden in your purse. Do it. Indulge.
Spa Treatments: I can’t think of a mom who doesn’t dream of some thick cream for her toes or a hot bath for her soul. Can you pull out some long ago forgotten lotion and use it now? Or keep a bit of lotion and chapstick at the kitchen sink to treat yourself a little after you wash the dishes? Self-care. Little things. Little steps is all it takes!
Send A Love Note: Close this email and open up a new one. Address it to you. Write down 5 things you love about yourself. Or write down 5 things you are grateful you can do today. When you focus on the positive and lovable, you release oxytocin. This "feel good" chemical helps you feel connected and alive.
Express Love to Others: If writing to yourself feels too weird, hop on your favorite social media. Write to 5 people--reach out with an appreciation, a thank you, a compliment. You will do two things here...feed your soul by expressing gratitude and offer someone a brighter spot in their day.
A Challenge for you
Habits become habits because we start small, start now and start doing something different.
This is what I know. You don’t need another thing to do. You don’t have time to fit more in. You want to be a happy mom. You want to know you are doing the very best you can.
Guess what? You already ARE doing it! You just need little reminders to take some time off. Take a breath. Go get a coffee refill. Look up!
All it takes to start getting into a happy mode, being more relaxed, is a little tweak. The smallest change can lead to an avalanche of good things. Its a cascade effect of awesome.
I've got a challenge for you: Pick just ONE idea and go be good to yourself. Now. Without delay. Tomorrow, come back and try another. Little by little, loving on yourself will be an indulgence worth making time for!
Everyone benefits when we choose to nurture ourselves. Start small. But start today.
How are you going to be a happier mom this year? Share the small tweaks you hope to put into practice in the comments.