Self-Care for Mamas: Take Care of Yourself so You can Take Care of Your Family!
Blogtober post #4 is all about self-care for mamas. My main focus is on stay-at-home moms because, well, that’s where I’m at and it is easily one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. Working moms can use this too. I’ve been a working mom as well. Sometimes arriving to work to spend the day with adults can feel like a little vacation; other days it feels like you’re just dealing with really big toddlers!
This should go without saying, but some of us, myself included, are not good at this one. So this post and my advice is for me too today. Momming is not for the faint of heart! It takes grit, determination, and a strong stomach to raise kids well! But we can’t take good care of our families if we don’t take care of ourselves.
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Self-Care for Mamas Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
You don’t have to go to the spa every week to practice self-care; kudos to you if you are able to make it, but if your budget doesn’t allow that level of pampering I have some frugal suggestions for self-care at home.
Last Sunday morning I looked down at my toes and realized I hadn’t done anything besides trim my nails since using a gift card in late July to get a pedicure (admittedly, it was a gift card my husband gave me for my birthday last August and I had to scramble to use it before it expired!).
So, I trimmed my toenails, dropped a few drops of lemongrass oil on a cotton ball, and rubbed it on my nails to take off what was left of the old polish. I then applied one layer of fresh polish to wear sandals to church. It felt so good and I wondered why I had waited so long to do such a simple thing for myself.
If You’re Taking Care of Yourself it Qualifies as Self-Care
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or even a lot of time to practice good self- care. You just have to recognize the need for it, ask for help, and do what you can to decompress and make sure you’re better able to be there for your family.
I’ve struggled with anxiety the past month. It’s apparently an unwanted gift bestowed to both sides of our family, and while it is easier to deal with now that I am not employed full-time outside the home, I tend to miss signs when it starts to get out of hand. Most recently I let unchecked anxiety keep me from attending a family wedding. While the nuptials were taking place I was pounding out my issues on the treadmill at a local gym. Not my proudest moment, but I had to acknowledge my situation and do what I could to alleviate it.
Case in Point:
Yesterday, (Thursday actually – I am writing this post in advance) I felt a little off and was easily irritated by the kids (never good when you’re a stay-at-home mom) and just felt a bit like a hamster on its wheel; I was spinning my wheel and going nowhere fast!
When my two-year-old decided he wanted to “hulp” mama cook I had to scramble to keep him from pulling the bowl of raw meatball ingredients down off the counter and dropped the unopened glass jar of minced garlic I had been trying to open. I almost caught it, which probably prevented it from completely shattering, but it broke.
I immediately panicked; we had quite an ordeal this summer when this same little boy pulled a glass jug down from a shelf, fell with it, and lacerated his hand badly this summer. I hurried him out of the kitchen and grabbed the broom to sweep up the spilled bits of garlic and glass on the floor. When my husband got home and assessed the situation the look in my eye was enough to make him want to head for the hills. He took the kids outside to play while I swept, vacuumed, and steam-mopped the floors.
Know When to Ask for Help
As I cleaned it struck me that our schedule was a bit different this week, he was working later, and I hadn’t been to the gym since that aforementioned weekend session. Light bulb moment. This is my me-time. I don’t really like going to the gym, but I like how I feel when I go regularly.
I’ve felt less than motivated lately and with our schedules being off and the little out of daycare due to budget constraints it’s been harder to go. I immediately reached for the phone and asked a family member if they were available to watch him. I made it to the gym today and felt so much better for it.
It may seem like I’m rambling at this point, but my point is you have to recognize when you need help and ask for it.
Self-Care Ideas for Mamas on a Budget
Here is a simple list of five ideas for self-care when you’re on a budget.
- Call a friend up for coffee and reconnect. A cuppa with a good friend can be good for the soul. It’s worth the $5 once a month to catch up with a gal pal.
- Give yourself a mani/pedi. If you have any little girls running around make it a bonding moment. I recommend not using it as a reward, but just a nice moment. I know I don’t do this near enough. I’m curious to try a DIY powder nail kit after the damage my nails experienced with a gel manicure.
- Ask for help. I am working on this one, but have gotten better at asking my husband to help with bedtime. I’ve considered making it a set weekly thing for both kids. Hi honey! I love you!
- Pamper yourself with a DIY hair mask and diffuse a calming blend of oils.
- Drink a nice cup of hot tea (or coffee or wine – your choice) and curl up with a good book once the kiddos are in bed.
These are all very simple things but can be so hard to actually do. If you’re not a mama but you know and love some mamas make sure you give them some love this week! Call one up and invite her out for a cup of coffee or offer to take the kids for a few hours so she can decompress. Take care of the mamas in your life; they deserve it so for taking such good care of everyone else.