Moms Who Know

Guest Post: Secrets of a Self Care Lifestyle

Mama’s Shouldn’t Settle, Part 2 of 4

What are you doing for yourself today? What do you GET to do?

Did you know that this is the number one thing that moms struggle with throughout motherhood?

We forget to put ourselves first and we feel like there is no time. For most of us as children, we weren’t taught the importance of self care nor the skills needed to integrate this into our lives.

We all have needs that are unique beyond the basics of survival.

It’s time for you to figure out what they are and to learn how to create a rhythm of self care habits that work for you.

You are worth it!

No time, no money, no help, too busy, “I can’t”. Sound familiar?
Well….from one mom to another…. I don’t buy it.

These are the unfortunate things we tell ourselves for many reasons, and I have been there.

Thankfully, we have the power to overcome this mindset of “can’t” and focus our thoughts on what’s possible. When you realize that there are many things within your control, little changes have an impact and can create even bigger changes. It starts here. You may have to be creative, but that’s part of the fun.

It took me until I was about 35 to start making this process and journey a priority. I had recently left a 16 year marriage, was making my way as a single mom, raising a child with a disability and running my own business. It felt almost impossible to put my needs first but I tried every day. I struggled with excuses for a long time and stress forced me into the hospital in 2010. My body had loudly responded to years of not taking care of myself and the cervical discs in my neck began giving out. I had to have emergency surgery and a fusion between c6 and c7. The recovery was long and painful, but it gave me time to heal and think about how to start living differently and what could be possible. I began putting my plan into action and now here I am almost 8 years later, spending 50% of my time on ME!

Excuse me while I have an ice cream break……lol (this is one of my 101 self care items)

What Is Self Care Exactly?

It means anything you do to fill a need or want and fulfills you physically, mentally or spiritually.

We have universal needs such as a daily hygiene, nutrition, hydration, exercise, connection, intimacy and alone time. Some of us need to feel productive or serve our families or be social. There can also be a variety of things that bring you joy, activities you’ve wanted to pursue, one on one quality time with your children or enjoying a Netflix binge! It can be something tangible like filling the need to ignite your taste buds or it can be something that fills your soul like going on a hike to feel grounded and outside with nature. The possibilities are endless.

We all have basic needs to survive and secondary needs which are unique to each of us. These needs are sometimes daily, weekly or monthly. Self care goes beyond getting a massage, a pedicure, lunch with friends or an annual vacation.

Yes, these are wonderful things for your soul but I want you to think about how often are you are able to do these things… Are you rushing into the nail salon, out of breath and have to then watch the time while you’re there to get to the next appointment? Is this a self care day that you only get once in blue moon or is this a routine you’ve given yourself as a gift? What does the flow of your day feel like? It’s important to get the most out of these experiences by being fully present in that moment. You strive to do that when you’re with your children, but what about meeting yourself where you’re at and enjoying YOUR moment?

We’ve all heard and know that we need to fill our own cup first before we can give to others. But how on earth do we do that? How do we create a life with less” have to’s” and add more “get to’s”? How do we create the time in our everyday lives?

It will look and feel different for each of us, based on personality, your love language, what you find pleasure in, what phase of motherhood you are experiencing and family dynamics. But it is DOABLE, I promise!

I’ll let you in on a few of my secrets.

These are some of the things I’ve created to set the stage for having the physical and emotional time for amazing self care and self love. They are unique to my needs and help me thrive beyond balance. These are things that help me stay in a positive mindset daily, bring me joy and allow the downtime I need to nurture myself and implement new habits. Keep in mind, there are things that can be changed or improved overnight, yet others take some planning, time and creative action.

I say NO. A LOT.

I only have so much energy to expend on things outside my priorities. If the thought of it makes me feel overwhelmed, negative in any way or like it’s one more thing to be added to an already long list of to do’s, then…NO.

No alarm life.

This was one of those annoying things that I decided needed to be taken out. Literally. 😉 I found that waking to this noise was not serving me in any way. But to have this option, I needed to go through the next step.

Experiment With Sleep.

See how much sleep you need to wake up on your own feeling refreshed. After experimenting for a week or so, I found that I need 9 hours a night. Depending on how old your kids are, you may have to wait a bit to have this freedom until they are sleeping through the night. …unless your partner gets up at night with the kids..then… by all means!

Delegate.

Take a good look at all your responsibilities and pick 5 to 10 that you can give to your spouse, partner, hire out, etc. Or find a way to take them out altogether. Pick something right now…one thing that stresses you and find a way to improve it. Start there.

Create Margin.

I have chosen to lead a “no-rush” lifestyle. This may be one of the most amazing things I’ve done for myself, a gift really. I make sure to leave myself plenty of extra time throughout the day so I don’t get frazzled. I don’t get stressed anymore if I hit all the red lights or there’s traffic. I am able to get ready for my day AFTER I have dropped my daughter off to school. I know that I have an hour or so after work every day to run an errand or take a phone call or simply come home and piddle around.

Off Duty.

Weekends used to be crazy until I implemented this strategy. Sundays I go off duty as mom and we have a family nap or have alone time where we all do our own thing …quiet time from 1pm to 3pm. Warning: Kids may need constant reminding of what constitutes an emergency, lol ; )

Simplify your stuff.

Lose excessive consumerism and make do with what you have while you start this process. Get rid of things you don’t need or haven’t used in 2 years. This project can seem daunting at first, so take it easy on yourself and simply do 15 minutes of decluttering at a time.. It helps to arrange a donate bin in your car. Just don’t let it sit there for weeks before you drop it off..like I used to do!

Independent play.

I am not my daughter’s 24/7 playmate and entertainer. Sure, we share quality time and enjoy activities together regularly, but she is expected to use her imagination and have time alone learning at her own pace.

No overbooking your schedule.

Is every minute of every day booked with something? It doesn’t have to be like that! Choose differently. I have many demands on my time just as you do, but it works better when I plan carefully and know what my limits are. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s worth it.

Creating your own unique self care plan and rhythm is crucial to your happiness and overall health. It is not selfish in any way and you will actually be giving yourself and your family one of the greatest gifts. By nurturing your needs, you are modeling for your children the behaviors and skills needed to provide lifelong fulfillment. You are giving to your family by giving to yourself. Offer yourself the same grace, patience, forgiveness, time and love that you give your children.

This process is a living, breathing continuous flow of implementing creative strategies as our children grow, our needs change and new dynamics emerge.

Remember that it all begins with a small improvement or change. Get your mindset away from seeking perfection. Focus on baby steps and what is possible. What do you want the flow of your day to feel like?

You are worth it. You can do this. Be the light for yourself. HUGS!

Tara Snide Twin Doula DenverTara Snide is a mom, doula , mentor, twin specialist, parenting coach and self care expert serving Denver area families since 2005. She has extensive experience in all things baby with a focus on navigating the first year after birth. Tara offers in home and virtual support to help guide you on your parenting journey.

You can follow Tara on Facebook

For additional info or to schedule an appointment visit www.thetwindoula.com.

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You can catch up on Part 1 here. More amazing content coming soon!

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