We’re moms, and we’re busy. I don’t even need to know what that looks like for you. Maybe you’re driving your kids around to everything from school to sports to appointments and feel depleted at the end of the day. Maybe your child has medical or developmental needs that are often overwhelming. Maybe you have little ones and are worn out by the tasks involved in caring for them 24/7. Maybe you’re overcommitted and looking for balance in your work and home life.
We All Need to Take Care of Ourselves
It boils down to this: if you’re a mom, you could probably use a little bit of encouragement to take better care of yourself. So consider yourself encouraged! I truly want you to be heathly and happy and to take good care of yourself.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
3 John 2:2, NIV
So what makes me qualified to write on such a subject? I’m a mom of two kiddos, ages one and four. I’m peeking out of the trenches right now. I’m very blessed and very grateful, and sometimes I’m very tired. Self-care is just something that I need to work on, so of course, I’m sharing it with all of you.
To prove it, I’m challenging myself to complete this list over the next few months. I can’t even believe I just wrote that…I’ll do it if you’ll do it. Who’s with me?
Let’s start with the most important of the three areas of self-care I think are essential.
1. Doctors’ Visits
Ugh. I sort of hate doctors’ appointments. I’m definitely guilty of focusing so much on my kids’ health that my own has been left far, far behind. So, if you are too, I definitely understand where you’re coming from. But let’s set a good example for our kids and put that oxygen mask on first. We have to stay healthy in order to be there for our kids, right?
Here are some quick guidelines about how often you should see different doctors at a minimum. I consulted the internet for this, but of course, ask your doctor.
- Dentist: Once or twice a year
- Ob/Gyn: Once a year
- Optometrist: Once a year
- Dermatologist: Once a year for fair skin
- General Practitioner: Once a year
- Specialists: Sometimes for tough cookies like me, seeing a specialist isn’t even something you’d consider. But if you have pain or problems in any specific areas of your body, ask your doctor for a referral.
We can do it.
Make a list of what appointments you need to make, set aside some time, and call like crazy. Ask for help with the kids during appointments, or give your boss a heads up if you need it.
Just, please do me a favor: if you feel something is a little off with your health, go and see your doctor about it. That’s what they are there for.
2. Healthy Living
I am definitely guilty of sliding in these areas when I have a demanding little one on my hands. It’s absolutely normal, but if it’s done too often, it’s absolutely unhealthy. Here are a few areas to pay attention to in order to be at your best for your family.
- Spiritual Health: Make time every day with God. Seek Him first and the rest follows.
- Sleep: 8+ hours a night
- Eating: Lots of fruits and veggies, fish, complex grains, less sugar, less saturated fats, and less salt…and drink water
- Relationships: Get guidance on good parenting/friendships/marriages, and make sure your marriage comes first
- Recreation/Exercise: 30 minutes of cardio per day
- Mental Health: Know what your weaknesses are and work on them, seek extra help through great books or teachings and through mentors and counseling
3. Me Time
We all need some good old fashioned me time! This is what I’m the most passionate about. Do a little something every day that’s really just for you. Is that selfish? NO.
If you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t be modeling confidence to your kids. If you aren’t nurturing that spark within you, you’ll lose a bit of your identity. No one puts a lamp under a bowl, right?
Doing these things is where a lot of us feel guilty, selfish, or unworthy. If that’s you, do it anyway. Let me take an annoying page from the L’Oreal handbook: YOU’RE WORTH IT.
- Pursuing a hobby: My hobby is blogging. There was a time when I was too overwhelmed with life as a mom to do this, but once my daughter turned one, I was able to carve out a few minutes each week. You can see where I went from there–into full-on blogging mode. So don’t give up!
If you don’t have a hobby, you probably have lofty ideas about what one should be. Maybe your hobby is organizing, planning, cooking, or reading. Whatever it may be, investing in a hobby is so much more than it sounds. It’s a big part of living out your God-given purpose.
- Caring for your appearance: I think all of us moms used to have different standards for ourselves before kids. For example, I used to paint my nails all the time, and now I manage to do it once a month or less. We all know new moms have to let some basics slide. But once you have those basics down, branch out into whatever gives you a little pick-me-up. Whether it’s updating your wardrobe, getting a facial, or something less ambitious like using some lotion you love…it’s so rewarding to invest time in yourself this way.
- Getting away for a bit: Yep, sometimes you need a little time away from your life as a mom. That doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy being a mom, or that you don’t appreciate your kids. It just means that you are more than a mom.
You can take care of your family and yourself, too. You can have it both ways, I promise.
These three areas are essential for staying healthy, in my opinion. But just because they seem basic, doesn’t mean they are easy. We all struggle with self-care. I don’t think there’s a single person out there who can check off everything on this list, so remember, we’re all in this together.
Start with the top of the list and work your way down. When you get to something that you need to work on, make a note, ask for some help with the kids, and set time aside. You can do it!
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