By Guest Blogger: Bianca Birgit
As mothers, we are no strangers to love and caring; it’s built into our very core. We deliver it in unconditional bucket loads and if flows freely in the direction of our children and family. While there is nothing wrong with pouring out love, we seldom pause to send some of that same attention in our own direction.
If we are to continue putting out at such high volume, we need to restore that bank from time to time. Many would argue that there’s just no time for it, granted, a mom’s schedule is a full one. Even if this is the case, making time is essential. Being the best version of yourself means those you love, get the benefit of you at your happiest and healthiest.
Without neglecting things that need handling in your average day, there are simple ways that you can send some of that care your own way. Here’s how.
Schedule Your Day
By planning out your day, you perform more optimally. Instead of running pillar-to-post between the school run, work and preparing food, follow a routine that works. Morning and evenings are usually the most challenging, so a little prep the day before means you give yourself a head start.
Planning takes off the edge, and that small helping hand (even if it’s your own) buys you minutes that add up to half hours or more, and that’s time just for you.
Get the kids involved by assigning age appropriate tasks for them. Not only is it a confidence booster for children to feel useful, but it lightens your load too.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Sleep is the best way to recharge and start the day on strong footing, this should not be underestimated. As with your day planning, schedule your bedtime. Even at our best, kids out match us in energy levels, so stock up on the good stuff.
Make bedtime a ritual of sorts, starting with a good mattress for your bed as well as one for your kids. Check out wellworthliving.com for tips on choosing the right fit for your little ones. Natural sleep aids like air cleansing plants, comforting blankets and calming essential oils will help not just you, but your whole family, get the quality sleep they need.
Circumstances, like having a baby who needs feeding or a sick child, do not always allow a regular sleep pattern, but where possible, get the right amount of shuteye. You’ll have heard it a thousand times, “sleep when baby sleeps”, and the same applies to toddlers and young children.
Call in Support
We all need a helping hand from time to time. Asking for help is not a failure, but a strength that makes for a well run family unit. Partners can step in in the evenings so you can enjoy that luxurious candle lit bubble bath,or grandparents can take over while you and your significant other enjoy a date night… or sleep… whatever’s a priority.
Set up play dates or hiring a babysitter, even if it’s just to steal a few minutes to get your hair and nails done. Time apart from your kids gives you the space to hear your thoughts long enough to remember what you want and like. Days after your pampering, you’ll look down at that fancy mani-pedi, and draw from the pleasure of your time alone. This balance is essential in overcoming any challenges that you may face in your “mom” time.
Identify the things that make you feel spoiled. It’s not about how much money you spend or how much time it takes. It could be a fresh bunch of flowers, a cup of coffee with a friend or maybe a favorite guilty pleasure from the bakery.
When mom life gets a bit overwhelming, small treats like these can fuel you for days and restore balance. Taking time to treat yourself should not be a guilty experience. If it is, move past this wasted emotion and train yourself to give to yourself as freely as you give to others.
Of course a spa day and a sexy new outfit for date night also qualifies, as does a day in bed or binge watching your favorite series on Netflix.
Look After Your Health
Nutrition, exercise and sleep are all vital for a healthy you. Neglecting these areas is not just bad for you, but sets a poor example for your children to follow. Parents easily adopt bad habits out of limited time and energy. However, cutting corners will not help in the long run. Poor health depletes energy levels and only makes it harder to cope with the demands of life and parenthood.
Start small by replacing less constructive habits with better ones. Start the day with a glass of water to hydrate and cleanse your body. Light exercise like stretching when you wake or taking a walk may feel like effort initially, but with a little persistence, you will soon feel the benefits.
Positivity & Praise
Just like we commend out children for their wins and accomplishments, do the same for yourself. Sometimes just getting through a day deserves a “well done”, so say it out loud and give yourself a mental pat on the back.
If you hear negative or critical thoughts when looking in the mirror, adjust that thinking and send loving and encouraging messages instead. At first you may not believe the words, but fake it until you do.
You may wish your body was firmer, flatter or that your skin was smoother, but whatever you believe to be an imperfection, love it anyway. By doing this you build your appreciation and gratitude for what you do have and celebrate the uniqueness that life has given you.
Condition your mind to be kind, even in thought.
Gratitude in Small Things
Just like you condition your mind to project positive body thoughts, do the same for the environment in which you live. We are surrounded by beauty in the weather, in strangers and in new experiences, but too easily do people switch off to these subtle gifts.
Train yourself to identify these treasures hidden in plain sight. Avoid people who relay mostly gossip and negative views, as this can be contagious and heavy to bear. Rather, associating with positive people who build you up and make it easy to spot life’s constant surprises. Good people are one of the best gifts of love you can give yourself.
Learn to Say No
Saving “No” does not make you a horrible person or a bad parent. Know your limits and stand firm if a choice or action does not work for you. Spreading yourself thin means all areas of responsibility in your life take unnecessary strain. Focus on what’s important and prioritize it. Investing that reclaimed time in yourself may be labelled “selfish” by some, but that’s okay.
Your kids don’t need to go to every single party they’re invited to and you don’t have to volunteer for every work, school or neighborhood committee. People who don’t understand and criticize aren’t worth the worry. You and your family come first, and anyone who argues otherwise is welcome to put in more of their own time or adjust their priorities.
Look for fun outlets that you can enjoy alone or even with your kids. Arts and crafts are a great way to unlock your creative side while entertaining the children at the same time. Pro tip: Maybe steer clear of the glitter to avoid a mess that lingers for days.
Other creative activities include, but are not limited to gardening, painting, dancing, playing music, sewing and even cooking. Find one you enjoy doing on your own, or with company. If you have a social group who enjoy similar hobbies, create a regular event where everyone joins in and you get to celebrate a fun afternoon with like minded individuals.
We tend to switch to autopilot when it comes to the day-to-day running of our lives. If we don’t pause to reflect on our success and accomplishments, small and even large milestones can go unnoticed. We grow and learn from our experiences and by putting pen to paper, we order our thoughts and are able to go back and assess.
Problems that arise can be all consuming at the time, but once the dust has settled and we look back, they can seem insignificant. Use journaling to purge stress and learn from it, next time around you’ll be wiser and cool as a cucumber, having navigated that territory before.
Writing is an excellent way to offload, celebrate, and to record happy events in our lives, and those of our children.
Self love is not a complicated concept, but it’s one we have to re-learn, especially if we’re out of practice. The best way to give back to ourselves is unique to each individual. Simply, it comes down to what feels good, and doing more of that. Things that leave you drained or resentful can be changed with a positive, problem solving approach. Make adjustments to your environment until it resembles one that works best for you and your family, the result is bucket loads of love to go around.
About the Author: Bianca is a mother, work from home blogger, and designer. Her favorite things are family time, travel and yoga. With a hedonistic approach to life, her main focus is the pursuit of happiness and spreading that joy to those who share her life.