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Take time for yourself. You can’t take care of everyone else unless you take care of yourself. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Try yoga. Try a cleanse. Go for a massage. Go to the spa. Go for a run. Go shopping. Stop at the coffee shop. Hire a housekeeper. Get a babysitter. Put yourself back on the list.
I get it. Really, I do. Taking care of yourself is important. But can we please stop telling people, women in particular, that they are failing at motherhood, at life, if they don’t set aside a set amount of time each week to do something completely for themselves?
The reality for a lot of women, hell men too, is that we are overworked and overscheduled. Even if you don’t work outside the home, there are meals to prepare, errands to run, children to take care of, housework, yard work, school work, and somewhere in there you need to be able to use the bathroom (in peace if you’re lucky) and sleep.
I once had someone tell me I should be doing something I enjoy every day. I told her that enjoy sleep. She told me that didn’t count. I told her that I enjoy gardening, she told me that was work. What about cooking? She told me that was work too. That’s when I realized that for most people, their idea of self-care is something that is going to cost money or take me away from what I’m doing at home.
That’s when I came up with a list of things that I do for self-care that not everyone agrees with, but it works for me, the busy mom. Maybe a few of these ideas will work for you too and you can take care of yourself without having to hire a sitter, miss your lunch hour at work, wake up earlier, or break the bank.
10 Self-Care Ideas
- Listen to the music you like. Not the kid’s music. Not whatever is on the radio. Actually think back to the music that makes you smile. Get it on your iPhone or find it on Pandora, and then TURN IT UP! Listen while you drive, shower, work, cook … whenever the mood strikes. I have found that music sets my mood and makes me feel more like me, not just mom.
- Random dance party. Since you have the music turned up, dance like no one is watching. Dance while you are cooking, or rock out while you are doing the housework. Get the kids or your partner in on it. For the length of a single song (or until you can’t catch your breath) just let loose and indulge!
- Buy a snack that is only for you. We all buy snacks and say, “oh those are for the kids”. Why don’t we pick something up and say, “nope that’s just for mommy” or “mommy doesn’t share food”. There’s no shame in it. It instills boundaries and a respect for other peoples things which is a lesson children, and some adults, need.
- Paint your nails. If you have the time & funds, go get them done at the nail salon, but if not, paint them yourself. Even a clear coat of nail polish works. And you know what is more important than actually painting your nails, that you get 10 glorious minutes that you don’t have to do anything while your nails dry. “Sweetie, mommy’s nails are drying, go ask daddy to help.” It’s a beautiful phrase.
- Put the kids to bed early. Isn’t it great when it gets dark at 5p in winter … oh look bedtime. O’kay, so maybe a 5p bedtime is pushing it, but when your kids normally go to bed at 8:30, 7:30 isn’t so bad every once in a while. Whether them being in bed early gives you free time to do what you want, or need, to do in peace or allows you to wind down for bed too, there is no shame in an early bedtime.
- Enjoy your coffee or tea while it is still hot. Being able to enjoy my tea before it gets cold makes me incredibly happy (says the woman whose tea is now ice cold … off to the microwave). One thing I’ve started doing is using an Orca travel mug/tumbler for my tea. I only have one, and this morning its still in the sink from yesterday, but normally its clean in the morning for when I make my first cup of tea and that glorious mug keeps my tea hot, sometimes too hot, for HOURS! Like I can fill it when I wake up at 8a, and it is still very warm at 3p. I didn’t finish my tea one day recently, and at 8p when I was doing dishes it was still warm! A whole 12hrs later. It was me time in a mug, and I was happy.
- Claim the remote. There is only one television in our house, and the kids get it the majority of the time. I’ve started bouncing them off so I can watch a show that I enjoy. If I’m busy and can’t sit down to watch a show, then I’ll play something in the background on my computer while I’m doing laundry or cooking. This way I get something I enjoy while doing something that needs to get done.
- Take a walk. Sometimes you need to just get away, and going for a walk does the trick. Since I’m home with the kids, that sometimes means getting all 3 of them situated and walking around the block. Other times it means popping on their favorite show and walking laps around my yard by myself. Fresh air and sunshine are good for the soul, and there’s nothing wrong with taking the time for yourself. If you have littles, keep it to alone time in your yard. If the kids are older and can hang on their own, even a walk around the block by yourself could work. If you’re at the office, walk outside to the parking lot and back. Purposefully forget something in your car. Whatever it takes! That little 5 min brain break can change your entire day.
- Lock yourself in the bathroom. I’m not kidding. I have been a mom for 10 years, and I have NEVER had a child in the bathroom with me except for when we are in a public restroom. At home, my kids stay out because I don’t let them in. If they knock on the door, tell them you’re in the bathroom and they can wait. For those who usually answer their children right away, or their kids join them, this will be a transition, but then there will be one place in the house where you can go and be alone. Run the shower even if you aren’t showering to drown out any background noise. Turn up the music. Just enjoy a few moments alone to take a breath. Meditate. Listen to a podcast. Whatever you need to do to recharge yourself.
- Be kind to yourself. This may be the hardest one on the list, but always be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you want others to talk to your kids. To someone you love. Don’t beat yourself up over not having the perfect _____. Remind yourself that comparison is the thief of joy, and that the grass isn’t always greener. Yeah, I know, it is cliché, but just because it is cliché doesn’t mean it’s not true. Be kind. Be loving. Show yourself grace, even in difficult situations and seasons.
And there you have it. Ten simple things for busy moms to do to take care of themselves without having to keep up with anyone.
Hope this got you to smile today, and if so please share this post using the share links up on top and down below.