Motherhood is definitely more challenging than anything I ever imagined. It's also one of the most rewarding aspect of my life. I’m sure this is the case for many other parents. I speak for some mothers I know that wouldn’t change the lack of volume control, full of personality, act-just-like-you little people we created. Yet, at the end of the night or maybe on the weekend when you’re reviewing your ever present task list, you notice there’s something that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list. Down by laundry, washing the dogs, and cleaning out the car is your self care routine. You realize it hasn’t happened in weeks. If this sounds like you don’t be embarrassed. Know you are seen and you feel run down because you haven’t refueled yourself. Let me share with you five ways that helped me find some kind of balance to care for myself and the other important members of my life.
Tip #1. Exercise as Often as You Can
The health of your family is often at the top of your list. We coordinate our kids meals and activities giving them all that they need while we count running after them as our movement for the day. Now don't get me wrong wrangling a toddler will have you worn out from first hand experience. Still, nothing beats dedicated time to moving your body in an activity. You can take your little ones on a walk daily, Make some parent friends and go play a sport together frequently. I create balance for myself by making my movement time solo time for me and leaving the house. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week for an hour and I even got a trainer for direction. By dedicating and sticking to this regime I have alone time that I do not have to parent, I can listen to what I want (music, podcast, or books), and I'm building my strength each time. If you can't get out the house that's ok, use nap time. Even if it's just 30 minutes to give you the energy to get some other things done that's ok too! Be flexible!
Tip #2. Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
Girl buy that water bottle if it’s going to encourage you to stay hydrated. Yes, I know you have 5 already but waters bottles as a guilty pleasure I can excuse and you can to. I even got some drop to add to into my water to help with my attention span. I have a hard time completing things because my brain is just to busy sometime but the drops help. Here's the link: https://amzn.to/3AHVjTp
Now can we talk about how hydration has helped with my gut? Increasing my water has kept my system regular, my skin glowing and joints feeling better after just a week of being mindful with intake. I use an app to track my water but I honestly want Apple to make an app for the iWatch to help track things. Until then try setting some alarms on your phone or getting an app to remind you to drink water. Your body will thank you, trust me.
Tip #3. Ask for Help Without Shame
Everyone needs a chance to recharge. I find that most parents that I talk to feel guilty for asking for a night to themselves. It could be for something special like a date night or even just a night to sleep or eat whatever you want. I'm here to tell you, PLEASE ASK! Get a referral for a good baby sitter, call that family friend or those grandparents. Use that community of people you built to make sure that you have some uninterrupted adult time. Please don't wait until your dog tired and barely functioning to ask for help with a break from raising your little ones. We are blessed to have both sets of parent able to help us as well as some trusted friends and a very good baby sitter. If it's hard for you to find good help because you might be away from family or just don't trust people with your little one, that's ok too. Remember, this is all about balance, so take what you can and leave what you don't.
Tip #4. Limit Your Screen Time at Night
I tried this one before and I used to keep pressing to increase my 15 more minute limit, so let's just say I've had a change of heart with it. I saw one of the huge YouTubers that I watch pretty regularly spoke about how she was able to accomplish and focus on her brand because of how she used the screen timer. As I mentioned, I had tried and failed previously using this but this time I decided to change my mindset. How much time do I spend in front of a computer screen or TV screen? Well my 9-5 work is already 8 hours, creating/editing content can be another 2-3 hours daily then I want to aimlessly scroll on top of that too? Do you all see the issue here? When would I let my brain rest? When am I taking some time to reflect on my day or do something with my little one that doesn't have a screen involved? I wanted to more present for my baby, my husband, and for myself. So I've challenged myself to reading one book a month. This month I'm reading Curating Your Life: Ending the Struggle for Work-Life Balance by Gail Golden linked here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/myamorenzoni/list/3TL42K017WX78?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_aipsflist_aipsfmyamorenzoni_B8EW0V7KG5SERRV9KPFZ
I even had the pleasure of meeting her, but that's a story for another day.
Tip #5. Self Care Can Take Whatever Form You Need
Over the last couple of years we've seen people talk about prioritizing your self care and you see them at the spa, in the tub, or even eating good looking food and shopping. That's all great and much needed part of caring for yourself, but I've changed my social media fed around self-care. Now when I look at self-care creators that align with me they're sharing journaling prompts, nature activities, DIY projects for self reflection and self-care through movement such as stretching. Please do not get me wrong with thinking that I do not take time to care for myself. I have a standing nail appointment every 3 week, I make my next hair appointment at my current appointment and try to complete my day and night skincare routine. Even with those routines being important to me, I still prioritize some time to get into my thoughts and do the self work needed to be a good parent, partner/wife, and friend.
At the end of the day, if I can share with you one thing I've learned in therapy: please take care of you. I beg you. Getting lost in the sauce that is parenthood is so easy and then those kids grow up and you're left trying to put together the pieces of who you are without them. Create, or better yet, maintain and improve who you are and grow with them. Show them what successful parenting looks like and what caring for yourself while caring for others is. Now these 5 things won't fix everything but they can help you by staying in the back of your mind to help you out as you continue to on your journey.
We're in this together,