Inside the article: Learn about the mindset you need to have to be able to have productive self-care. Then, I discuss three ways you can start to prioritize your self-care as a mom today!
It seems like prioritizing self-care as a mom always means also giving something up.
Here’s what I mean: I can take some time to myself when my husband gets home from work and before my son goes to bed, but then I miss family time. Or I go to bed early to catch up on sleep, but then I miss being my true night-owl self binge watching my favorite show.
Can’t I just have both, please?
Well, no, unfortunately you can’t. Or can you? The biggest issue here is not mismanagement of time or inability to negotiate my needs and ask for help. It really boils down to a mindset. Let me explain.
If I let my husband watch my son after work, but then just think about all of the things I’m missing out on, I lose the very relaxation I set out to get. However, if I spend the hour being intentional about my solo time and approaching it with gratitude, I will come out the other side much happier and more refreshed.
So now that the mindset piece is established, what are things that you can do (and more importantly, when) that can allow you to prioritize yourself and gain back a little of what you’re missing, whatever that may be?
Check out these three tips for prioritizing self-care as a stay-at-home mom!
Nap Power Hour (or so)
My son is at the stage where he consistently takes 2 naps everyday. Blessings. Each day, I can count on at least 2 hours of time when I get to do just about anything I want (without leaving the house, of course).
This is also the time when I get to decide how I want to spend this time based on what I’m needing that day.
I would never encourage someone to just abandon all responsibilities. There is always something I could be doing during my son’s naps.
However, lately I’ve been trying to extra mindful of what I need that day. Some days, like a day last week during a random rainy day in summer, I just need a lazy day. While this is next to impossible while my son is awake, I can use my 2+ hours to be lazy.
Gosh it feels good sometimes!
And other times it makes me feel yucky and unproductive. Ugh, can’t win! Here’s where that mindset lesson comes in. I can make a conscious choice to just accept and be ok with my periodic laziness and soak it all in. It’s hard for someone like me who is constantly on the move, but it’s been an amazing lesson that’s yielded huge rewards.
Please know I understand that especially for you mamas with multiple kiddos, having all napping at the same time is a significant challenge. Take what you can get!
Ask for and Accept Help
I’ve learned that people don’t generally offer to help if they don’t really intend to follow through. I try to put myself in another’s shoes: would I judge or feel annoyed by someone asking for help, especially if I offered? Absolutely not. It’s probably safe to assume the same of others in this case.
When my son was first born, we had so many friends bring us food or offer to come hold Finn while I took a nap. Those who’ve had their first baby might know how hard it is to leave them, especially in those first few months, so I rarely took the offers to watch him.
I wanted to do it myself! I did, however, happily take all the free food I was given! Breastfeeding makes you really hungry.
Looking back, I should have asked for more help.
My husband went back to work the week after Finn was born, and I suddenly found myself simultaneously healing from birth, adjusting to my new role as a mom, and learning how to take care of a baby for the first time in my life.
Oh, and I was also in the thick of a graduate school semester. Crazy times!
Asking for help has always been something I struggle with. On one hand, I feel guilty at the thought of inconveniencing someone. On the other, I never want to look like I don’t have it all together.
It was safer emotionally to not ask for help. It’s something I’m still working on, especially in the strange times we’re in currently, but if I don’t get help, I can’t be the best mom for my son. If that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is!
Set a Predictable Schedule
Something Zach & I have been trying recently is a bit of a schedule. This means that we each know when we will have some time to do whatever we need to relax, which makes the times when we can’t less stressful. We also know when we will have time to connect together as a couple, which is equally important.
Here is an example: Zach gets home from work at 6, and Finn typically goes to bed between 7 and 8. Certain days of the week, Zach knows he will be handed Finn the second he gets home (which is mostly Finn’s choice as he goes nuts when Zach gets home… it’s so cute!).
Other days, I try to give Zach more of a buffer. Some nights, when Finn goes to sleep, we set a time when we will be done zoning on the TV or playing flight simulator (guess who’s game that is?) and do something together. It’s all such a hard balance, but it’s also crucial to negotiate our needs individually so we can feel like we have some decisions we make on our own.
I could do a whole other post on the balance of the stay-at-home parent vs. a working parent. Is that something you’d like to see? Let me know using the contact page to send me your recommendations.
And there it is. Three ways you can start prioritizing and negotiating self-care into your routine as a stay-at-home mom. Truthfully, much of this applies to working moms as well, but there are just certain things us stay-at-home moms experience that are hard to navigate in relation to self-care. Being a mom all day, everyday is ex.haust.ing.
Speaking of, I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I put together my Daily Routines Bundle for Moms. See what my self-care routine looks like, and how I de-stress at the end of the day. Did I mention there are bonuses included? SCORE!
Submit your email to get the link sent right to you!
Let me know what other things you’ve tried to be more intentional about prioritizing yourself!
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