No one has less time in their day than moms. Feedings, diaper changes, playtime, cleaning bottles, spit-ups, pumping, cleaning pump parts, tummy time, and the countless requests for snacks – and then there’s making dinner, doing the laundry, managing appointments, taking care of the house so it looks halfway decent – a mom’s list of things to do is endless. On top of that, moms, especially new moms, are so tired from the middle-of-the-night wake-ups that self-care is the farthest thing from their mind. Because who has time for that??
Whether you’re a new mom or years into motherhood, self-care might feel like a long-lost friend. You used to know her so well, but now you just can’t seem to connect with her. Yet, deep down, you miss her so desperately and imagine that the only way to get her back is to go on a solo vacation for a month the day your baby leaves for college.
It doesn’t have to be this way. While “me time” won’t look like it did when you were childfree, it can be part of your life, and – dare I say – your daily routine.
With these three tips, you’ll be able to start to shift your mindset and your actions to start to connect back to YOU. Because we all know that we can only be our best mom self when we have had time to recharge our own batteries.
View time as an abundant resource.
A common refrain of motherhood is: there’s not enough time in the day.
This mindset sets you up for failure. If you believe that you can never get it all done, you’ll probably feel exhausted, frustrated, depressed, and anxious. You will feel like you’re on a never-ending treadmill of serving your baby and taking care of the household that you as an individual human will cease to exist.
You don’t want that. So shifting your mindset from there’s not enough time in the day to get it all done to there’s enough time for what’s important is a crucial first step.
This might be hard to wrap your head around at first, especially if you are self-motivated and a doer by nature. It will feel uncomfortable not to finish everything on your to-do list and you might even resist it at first.
But if you stick with it, you’ll start to see that the mindset alone allows you to believe that you have choices. That it’s possible to carve out time for yourself, even if you don’t know how you’ll do it yet.
Action Item: Start by just noticing your thoughts. Notice when these thoughts pop up: I’ll never get it all done or I don’t have time for myself or there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. This is mindfulness and takes practice to start to catch yourself in those thoughts. Then you can start to replace those thoughts with: I will make time for what’s most important to me.
Prioritize Essential Tasks
Once it feels more natural to use the abundance mindset throughout your day, then shift to using that mindset to your advantage. At the heart of the abundance mindset is the power of choice, something you may have felt like you gave up when you became a mom. But you didn’t. Sure, there are aspects of your day when you’re at the mercy of your baby or child, but not every single moment. Look for opportunities to reclaim your power of choice because it will feel sooooo good.
You’ll start to challenge whether that thing that you said had to get done today actually wasn’t a top priority. Sure, it’s important and it has to get done eventually, but does it have to be done right.this.minute?
Be ruthless in the giving up of your “me time” for something on your to-do list.
Create a ranked self-care list.
Moms get really good at forgetting who they were before their child was born. It’s a skill that isn’t really serving us overall. Yes, we need to prioritize our child’s needs a lot of the time, but not all of the time. Sometimes we need to be reminded that our needs matter and in fact are essential to being the moms we want to be.
When you finally decide to carve out that time for yourself, you might have 15 minutes and end up trying to figure out how to spend those precious minutes because time for yourself feels so foreign.
So tip 3 is to create a list of ways to care for yourself and then organize them. You can organize based on time or on importance to you. Personally, I always choose exercise during my son’s first nap of the day because it means that I get that workout in and I am a better person and mom when I’ve moved my body. For you it could be something different, and that’s okay.
Motherhood marks a dramatic shift in how the days flow and how much time we have for ourselves. I hear you saying: Darcie, it feels impossible to do this. My reply: I know it does, and I also know that you not only deserve it but you need it.
You are worthy of still being you in the beautiful ride of motherhood. Your child will benefit from a mother who cares for herself not only because of the person you will show up as but also in modeling the importance of self-care.
Say it with me: You’ve got this, mama.