Don’t get me wrong – I love a good massage and facial as much as the next woman but in this season of life, that’s not what usually what helps me keep my sanity. With two littles under 3.5, life is always full and far from dull. I routinely say statements that I never dreamed I would say before kids, like “Please don’t lick your brother” and “I need you to poop today before you get a banana.” I am a full time mama, a full time publicist for my agency and actually enjoy time with my husband and friends so in short, free time is limited and highly coveted. Where magazines and most TV shows targeted at moms scream self-care looks like a day away at a fabulous spa or going through a bottle of wine each night, I’ve discovered that for me, taking time for myself is far from both. Here are a few simple ways I take time for myself to maintain my sanity and keep my joy intact:
1. Wake up before the rest of the house
As much as I would like to say I wake up every morning a 5:30am, that is not the case. Some night I’m up with the baby cutting teeth and some mornings my toddler sneaks into my bed before the sun comes up for extra cuddles which I LOVE. Most mornings I attempt to wake up at least 15-20 minutes before my husband and kiddos to have a cup of coffee and spend some time in the silence – usually reading my Bible and writing. I find I am refreshed and much more June Cleaver when my little darlings wake up roaring and ready to go.
2. Get moving every day
Two days a week I sneak away to my local Pure Barre studio to have my butt kicked for 50 minutes and it’s my time to focus only on tucking as best I can. I love the community feel and being pushed so hard physically which helps me stay focused, centered and more present at home. The other days, weather permitting, I bundle the kids up in the double stroller and we walk up and down and all around. They love being outside and I love breaking a sweat while also having my children happily contained and unable to run away.
3. Treat yourself and don’t apologize
Case in point: Last night we picked up girl scout cookies and you better believe I tested out no less than four cookies before hiding the rest from my toddler. I strive to eat fairly clean so that when it comes time for a cookie or that decadent chocolate number on date night, I can indulge without guilt. Sometimes it’s treating myself to a cute shirt during a Target run or my favorite latte.
When our daughter was born, I would feel guilty, yes GUILTY, about taking time to shower. I would always feel like I needed to either be picking up the house or sleeping and taking a long shower was a luxury I didn’t have time for. When our son was born, I learned the importance and PURE BLISS of a long shower at the end of the day. Once the kiddos are in bed my husband knows – I’ll be in the shower for no less than 20 minutes.
5. Stay social
I am happiest when our house is filled with friends so I have found having friends in our home is key to taking care of myself. Sometimes I cook and sometimes we order pizza –sometimes the kids stay with their grandparents and sometimes they play while the adults talk. I also love getting a group of girlfriends together to meet for coffee or go on a walk. Staying connected to my people keeps me feeling like my best self.
Mama, taking good care of yourself is essential to taking great care of your kids! We got this.