Whether you are a stay a home, work at home or work outside the home mom, it is difficult to find time for yourself throughout the day. When my first was born, almost 7 years ago, I put myself on the back burner. I stopped doing the small things I loved like taking long showers and reading novels. Forget about manicures and girls nights, those days were long gone. It wasn’t until my third child was born that I realized that I needed ways to fill my cup if I was going to fill the cups of these little people. An empty mama does not make a good mama.
Over the last two years, I’ve worked hard to find small and large ways to enjoy myself, aside from motherhood. While it is my favorite role, I know that if my kids are my only focus, it’s not good for anyone.
These 6 things help me tremendously. I don’t get to do all of them everyday but I can fit in at least 3 most days. These ideas are meant to be simple. They don’t require babysitters or tons of planning.
So, let’s get real Mama’s! Take care of myself . . . with my children in the house? But I have to work, I have laundry and food prep? I have endless questions to answer, games to play and fights to break up . . . Trust me, these 6 things are simple and only take 5-30 minutes. They will make a world of difference in your mental well-being. I know, I’ve been there.
- Wake up 30 minutes early. I know, this seems counter intuitive. Wake up early? But I’m exhausted! Let’s face it, you are already waking up earlier than you probably ever thought possible. Once your child’s morning routine gets more predictable (i.e. you are out of the newborn stage), that extra thirty minutes to yourself can make a big difference. Parenting is largely about attitude and expectations, start your day on a positive note.
- Drink a cup of coffee. Coffee used to be a necessity. Now you need it more than ever, but getting to drink a cup of coffee with littles around is nearly impossible. Gone are the days of sitting on the couch and sipping your coffee while watching the Today show or perusing the news on your computer or phone. I’m happy if I can manage to drink a cup in the morning. Actually, I’m happy to make coffee, pour it into a mug and take that first sip. It feels indulgent. Invest in an insulated mug so that it stays warm until noon, when you will likely be finishing up your morning coffee.
- Take advantage of nap time. If your children nap, take that time to nap or do something for yourself. I know, the chores are calling but pick a couple days a week that are just for you. Whether it’s a house project (painting a dresser, reorganizing a closet?), reading a book or writing; be purposeful with that time. I promise, you will come out feeling so much more ready to handle those little people. If they don’t nap, allow them to watch a show/movie at least a couple of times a week. Use this time for you!
- Get a gym membership that includes childcare. I’ve never been an regular exerciser until now. It feels so indulgent to walk on a treadmill with no distractions. I enjoy walks with my kids, but it’s not really exercise and it’s certainly not indulgent. At the gym, I enjoy the working out as much as the quiet time. It was only $10 extra to add unlimited childcare for 3 (or more) kids to my membership. So worth it. If the gym isn’t your thing, hire a babysitter once a week and go do your thing.
- Take a shower or bath by yourself. How are you going to manage this? One of the best things that I ever did was start play time in the crib everyday. This is 15-30 minutes that they can play by themselves in their crib. Give them a few toys, their blankie and pacie and let them be. They will enjoy this time and sometimes it’s just necessary for mama. Go take a shower or have a good cry, haha. I started this around 4 months and it can go on as long they are in their cribs and not climbing out. After that, Sesame Street is your friend.
- Do little things that you love. For me it’s lighting a candle and turning the music on. Jazz always does the trick. I can do this in the middle of all out craziness and my mood immediately changes. And you know what, my kid’s moods change too. Happy mama = happy children.
Now it’s time for you to be intentional and do these simple things for yourself. Fill your cup mama!
What works for you? Let me know!
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