Moms wear many hats. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom, stepmom, single mom, adoptive mom, foster mom; maybe you’ve found yourself joined together in matrimony to a rather large man-child also referred to as a husband, (love you dear) or all of the above. If you’re a mom in any form or fashion, you have approximately 58,572 jobs and responsibilities that fall under the mom umbrella. Possibly more. I always lose count.
To name a few: We are the nurturer, the disciplinarian, the teacher, the tutor, the chef, the mediator, the confidant, the therapist, the nurse, the chauffeur, the finder of all things, the laundry fairy, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause… shoot, even the reindeer because I’m pretty sure it was me that took a large bite out of an un-washed, un-peeled, gigantic carrot to keep the magic alive on Christmas morning. But I also ate the cookies, so I’m not complaining. The point is, most days we run around like maniacs doing all the things and feel like we never make a dent and no one even notices our efforts. Everything we do is for everyone else never for ourselves. Or is it?
I feel like I should pause real quick to clarify that my husband is awesome. In case anyone was reading this and wondering why all these jobs fall to me. Tame your inner feminism, because all is as it should be in our home. My husband manages our business, and I manage our household. We both take pride in our jobs and appreciate each other. I will say that I politely place the tooth fairy hat on him for our 75 pound son that can somehow lay on his pillow with force of two elephants. How such a little guy is able to do that, I have no clue, but he really does. Also, my husband does the dishes after dinner, but now I’m just bragging.
This post is not about the awesome things the men in our lives do. That’s another topic for another day. I’m here to talk about the moms, our endless rotation of job titles, and the importance of making sure all those jobs come in second to self-care.
Yes, you read that right. That never-ending to-do list that has you ready to pull your hair out some days needs to come in second place to you. In fact the days you feel the most overwhelmed are how you know it’s time to take care of you. I believe this with my whole heart because I’ve done life, marriage and parenting both ways, and taking care of me first makes me exponentially better at taking care of my boys.
For years taking care of myself the way I should was not always number one on my priority list. During those years my choice to put everything else ahead of myself showed most obviously in my physical appearance, but it also showed in my emotions and mood. It took me a while, but I slowly started replacing things I thought made me happy with things that actually make me happy. Here are some examples of things I do for me:
- Reading– My favorite thing about reading is how it takes you away. I adore the characters in any book I’m reading and love to take a break from my world and jump into theirs. When you’re hanging out with book characters it’s easy to turn your mind off for a minute. Maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t have time to read, try just a few pages each night before you fall asleep. Bed time is a great time to turn your mind off anyway.
- Reading for the purpose of personal growth– If you need some motivation whether it’s to work out more, be more productive, strengthen your people skills, get your finances in order, be more mindful as a parent, or more intentional as a wife, I promise there is a book out there for you. The best thing about self-help or personal growth books is that you are taking time for yourself as well as arming yourself with the knowledge you need to be the best you.
- Enough sleep– Getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep every night has been a game changer for me. I used to stay up late to feel like I was able to check a few more things off my to-do list, but it just made me less productive the next day. Once dinner is done, anything else on my to do list can wait until tomorrow. Since deciding to stick to this rule, my energy level has improved, and I am better able to accomplish my daily goals. Sleep is everything!
- Writing/journaling– I have always loved writing. Journaling, on the other hand, is fairly new to me, and I’m addicted. I highly suggest writing in a journal daily. There are some great gratitude and goal setting journals out there that prompt you with topics. Or just grab some blank paper. However you decide to show gratitude, the result will be a noticeable shift in your positivity and perspective.
- Pampering– Get your nails done, a pedicure, or a facial. Go try out a new workout. Almost every gym gives you one free workout just to try it out. Just ask. Take a really long, hot bath and don’t let the kids bust in. Go to a movie or take a good book to Starbucks and post up. Plan a girls night out. You’re allowed to step away and you’ll be a better you for it. I’m sure of it.
- Long distance running– I saved this one for last for a couple of reasons. One because It’s my personal favorite way to have alone time and take care of myself. It makes me feel strong and puts me instantly in a better mood. Endorphins are real, y’all. The second reason I saved this one for last is so you wouldn’t give up on me before you read my other ideas. I know running especially the long distance type is not for everyone. You don’t have to be a runner to take care of yourself. Start with going for a walk every day. Find a workout that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter what activity it is, just do something active that is for you. I assure you, you will never regret completing a workout, but you might regret not doing one.
I encourage you to find the things that are for you alone and no one else. Challenge yourself to trade 30 minutes of your day to be intentional with your self-care. Choose things that help you discover the best version of yourself. We all want the very best for our children, so it only makes sense that the very best should start with their mom.
Rachael is a 34-year-old wife, mom, and step-mom. Her blog Our Blended Abode ourblendedabode.com is written with a focus on the blended family. It is meant to be a reference for parents from any walk of life to become the best version of themselves.