5 Ways to Care for Yourself as a Mom

5 Ways to Care for Yourself as a Mom

Self care for moms


Back to school is always such a hectic time.  It's nice to get back into routines, but man is it hard to go from the slow, lazy pace of summer to schedules and extra curricular activities.  There's something on the calendar almost every evening and weekends are filled with events.  I often feel like I lose myself (more than normal) at the start of a new school year.  There are so many to-do's running through my mind constantly.  I've been reading lately about being the default parent and carrying the mental load for your family.  It's hard being the one that knows the kids' preferences, academic needs, sports calendars, play dates, plans the meals, manages doctors and haircuts and birthdays and holidays and all the things. As my boys head back to school this week, it's got me thinking about the ways that I can care for myself during this particularly busy season.  And I don't mean bubble baths and face masks.  I mean things that I can do to set myself and my family up for success.  Things that take even just a tiny bit of that mental load off.

Here's how I'm caring for myself this week:

1.  Prep your own breakfast and lunch for the week. 

I do fine with making sure we have what the boys like on hand for breakfast and lunch during the week, but I often find myself staring at the fridge come lunchtime with no real plan.  I end up eating whatever I can find, which often means I'm not nourishing my body the way I need to be. That leaves me feeling sluggish all afternoon.  I can care for myself by meal prepping on Sunday so that I have healthy, nutritious foods for the week.  Here's what I meal prepped this week.

Breakfast - Oven Sous Vide Egg Bites

Lunch - Healthy Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad

2.  Make a Meal Plan

I love cooking, but I hate meal planning.  It feels like such a chore when I know that someone at the table will complain about every single meal I planned and made.  Sometimes it feels like I should just hand them the Door Dash app and wish them well.  I find that when I have dinners written out in my planner for the week, it actually lightens my mental load.  I'm not trying to come up with a last minute idea the day-of.  I do the same for my kids' lunches.  6 AM me has not had enough coffee to come up with nutritious meals that my kids will actually eat.  It's just another way that I can lessen my mental load during the week by making the decisions ahead of time.  All 6 am me has to do is follow instructions. Bonus is that if I do this ahead of time, I can account for evening activities and be prepared.

3. Prep your calendar and ask for help where you need it.

I'm a paper planner gal.  I do not like having my calendar online.  I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and write out everything that is on the schedule or my to-do list.  It's another way to lighten the mental load.  When everything is written out where the whole family can see it, I'm no longer the sole responsible party.  We can sit down on Sunday, review the calendar and to-do lists and I have the opportunity to ask for help.  If I am not specific in asking for exactly what I need help with, I end up doing everything myself.  However you like to store your family's schedule, make sure it's accessible by the whole family.  At lunch or dinner on Sunday, talk through specific items that need to be owned by someone else.  Then let them own them (this part is extremely hard for me!).  Having a plan calms the chaos.

4. Hold quiet space for yourself.

You know how you always hear people on social media say, "Take 10 minutes and you'll feel like a whole new person!"?  Yeah, not so much.  Ten minutes doesn't get me anywhere near feeling refreshed.  Make a list of things that DO actually make you feel refreshed and how much time you'd like for each one.  Put those things in your calendar and make your partner aware that you will be unavailable at that time.  I know it feels impossible to do that, but I promise you, your family will figure it out.  If you don't have a partner at home, ask a friend or family members to watch your kiddos for a bit.  Or set the kids up with an activity or show (I know, I know...screentime) and make space for yourself. Or get up before the kids do for some quiet time alone.

For me, this looks like journaling or reading with coffee in a quite house in the morning before anyone else is up.  It looks like watching my favorite show while my husband does bedtimes. It looks like sending the boys outside or downstairs to play while I make a new recipe that I've been wanting to try.  It looks like tending to my garden, with the sun on my face.  It looks like the slow process of making bread and the smell of it in the oven.  Those are things that calm me and give me my own space to just be ME.

5.  Equip your kids with the skills to be independent.

Need a water?  Get it yourself.  Need a snack? Get it yourself.  

Ha, I'm not trying to sound unwilling to help, but your kids CAN and should do age appropriate tasks themselves!  This one is sooooo hard for me.  I'm a natural care taker and I do EVERYTHING for my boys.  Over the course of the summer, we've worked on "How to be a Person Camp" where the boys learn new skills every week.  I made adjustments in my kitchen and in their bedrooms to allow them to easily reach things so that they can be independent.  Guess what?  They've been loving their new levels of independence and I love not being depended on for every small task.

 More than any "self care spa day," creating ways to lessen the mental load and doing things that make you YOU are the best ways that you can care for yourself. I hope you can find ways to take time for yourself.

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