Whenever I’m able to steal a minute for myself, it can feel a bit foreign and disorienting, like I don’t know what to do with myself. If you’re like me, you may find yourself thinking “I should vacuum or do laundry or some other menial task”. What it boils down to, for me at least, is wanting to do something “productive”. The misconception here is that doing nothing, or doing acts of self-care are not a valuable use of our time as mothers. I’m guilty of holding this belief. Often the household chores win over “ME” time. Usually I justify it based on urgency, I can see tumbleweeds of cat hair gathering in the corners of our living room, which eventually become an alluring snack for my son. I think “I HAVE TO take care of that!” And, I do. This usually snowballs into a chain of little chores and before I know it, my son has awoke from his nap.
As mothers, often our default mode is to prioritize things external to ourselves. Chores and errands feel pressing and necessary and we might rationalize that our well-being can wait.
I am here to assert that it can’t wait. One thing is certain, I am no good to anyone when I’m burnt out, sleep deprived and running on fumes, but “hey”, my floors are clean, right?! NO! It has to stop, and I say this for my benefit, as much as the rest of you. “Put down the laundry basket!”, “stop vacuuming the floor!” and “leave the dishes!”.
As an act of moral support and advocacy for mamas’ self-care, I’ve compiled a list of things to do instead of the revolving door of household chores that we’re convinced, cannot wait. Next time you have a minute and you find yourself gravitating toward the kitchen sink or laundry room. Read and re-read this list. You are worthy of some care and attention mama!
TEN THINGS TO DO FOR YOURSELF THAT WILL LEAVE YOU FEELING MORE REJUVENATED THAN CRAPPY HOUSEWORK:
- Take a hot, luxurious bath, with salts. Stay in until you’re good and wrinkled.
- Make a cup of tea, sit down and actually drink it.
- Eat some chocolate. Be unapologetic about how much you eat and the speed in which you eat it. No judgement here.
- Skype with a mom friend from away. Share endearing, hilarious and frustrating anecdotes about motherhood. You’re in good company to share and vent.
- Go for a walk, by yourself. It feels really nice.
- Go to a yin yoga class or check out a lesson on YouTube. Here’s one from Yoga with Adriene. She has tons of free videos on YouTube. I love her approach.
- Have a nap.
- Try meditating. There are some great apps available that can help guide this process. I use Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think, both are super easy to use. Headspace costs money after the ten day trial. Stop, Breathe & Think is free.
- Colour. This is all the rage right now. It’s great for your emotional and mental well-being too. You can download free adult colouring pages from Easy Peasy Fun.
- Curl up with a good book. I would recommend something light and humorous like “Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures” by blogger Amber Dusick. Or if you prefer fiction, “Where did you go Bernadette?” by Maria Semple is a fabulous read. If you’re into audiobooks and looking for something with lots of grit and substance, check out Brene Brown. Her books are incredibly potent. I always feel deliciously raw after listening to her audiobooks, but raw in a refreshing, “I’m human and that’s ok” way. This is the one I am currently listening to, “Rising Strong”. But this is her first book, “Daring Greatly” and a good place to start if you’re not familiar with her work.
I urge you; and I promise to avoid hypocrisy by taking my own advice, to claim some time for yourself! Next time you have the opportunity to take it; no excuses, no wavering, no guilt – take it! I got your back on this one!
I would love to hear about your efforts to do any one of the things on this list or maybe you have some insight of your own on how to institute self-care practices as a mom. Share your stories below in the comments.
Maybe you’re looking to sweeten this time for yourself. If so, pop over and have a peek at this labour of love, Oh Mother Care Kits, a quarterly subscription box curated especially for moms and put together by yours truly.