As a mother it is hard to find time for yourself, especially when your kids are young. And at some point you start to forget to take care of yourself as well. I mean with all of the chores you have to do, taking care of your kids needs, and trying to get any sleep at all it is not uncommon to forget that you have needs too. But taking care of yourself shouldn’t be put last or forgotten. So, today we will talk about some self-care tips for moms with young ones at home.
What is self-care?
Self-care is just taking care of yourself in general. Taking time to do things that make you feel like yourself, make you feel better, or even just be able to relax from a long day. There are infinite ways you could do this, but everyone is different so everyone will be choosing something(s) that suits their taste instead of just what social media would consider self-care.
If you want self-care ideas then check out this post 200 Self Care Ideas for Seriously Stressed Out Moms from Jennifer LoVerde at Habitat For Mom.
Why is it important?
If you don’t take the time to care for yourself and do something for you and not everyone else then you are going to burnout very quickly. When you become a mom there is nothing easy about your new responsibilities and if you don’t take care of yourself then hitting motherhood burnout is inevitable. And taking care of kids while you are burnt out is an even worse situation than finding 5 minutes or more a day to do something to care for yourself.
How to have time for self-care with young ones at home
If you have been stressed with your young kids crying over everything or running amok all day long just remember you are not alone and finding time for self-care might seem difficult, but when you put in the effort it will start to be more natural to make time for yourself. Here are a few ways to start to find time for self-care.
Always start small when you are working towards a long term habit. Find 5 or 10 minutes each day to do a small form of self-care. Maybe read a few pages of a book, do a short 10 minute Youtube at home workout, go on a small walk, or maybe drink your coffee or tea outside. Just work on getting in the habit with the small things and as time goes by build up into a larger habit.
Make a routine
Already a person who loves routines, then this will definitely be great for you and if you aren’t one who usually does routines, then it might be hard to start the habit of one, but it can still be a life changer for you. If you aren’t in the habit of having a routine then start small and slowly at first until you grow accustomed to it.
Whether you are starting a new routine or adding self-care into your old routine, make sure you are giving yourself enough time to do your self-care activities and not just rush it. The time you are giving yourself should be focused on you and not the chores or errands you have to do normally. Only something specifically for you.
Wake up earlier
I have never been a morning person, but that doesn’t matter to young kids. When they wake up, they expect you to wake up too, but that doesn’t always mean you are ready to be awake. So, you might need to start going to sleep earlier each night so that you can wake up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than your kids. This way you get the time to yourself to have a cup of coffee or tea, go to the bathroom in peace, and maybe knock out some more self-care early in the day.
Now some people would try to check off the chores for the day, but that would give you less time to yourself and should be spent on you. If you worry that you can only do chores when your kid is asleep then I suggest trying to do one chore at a time while your kids are awake and see if it is really that hard to do. Kids should be able to see you do chores, watching you is how they learn and is a great time to teach them, of course depending on the chore and how old your young one is.
Use nap time wisely
Don’t take this time for granted and only use it to catch up on chores. It is much better spent on doing self-care activities like doing at home workouts, watching your favorite movie/show, taking a nice long hot shower, or even a relaxing bath. There are even some times where it would be best for you to take a nap yourself if you seem to be exhausted that day, especially when you have a newborn.
What are some other tips for self-care?
Now that we went over how to find time for self-care, here are a few extra tips that not everyone might think of when it comes to taking care of yourself as a mom.
Be active at least once a day
If you are stuck at home quite often with your kids, just like what happened due to the 2020 quarantine, make sure you are active each day. This could mean doing at home workouts with or without your kids, taking dance breaks, or just taking small walks here and there. Doing so will make you feel better throughout the day and you set a good example for your kids early on.
Do something you love
You have all of these boring chores to do on a regular basis and take care of your young kids, but don’t forget to do something you love as well. Whether it be something small that makes you happy or puts you in a good mood everyday or something bigger to do once in a while. Just remember to do something you love to do and don’t choose just any form of self-care that you think society would approve of, pick what is right for you and what makes you happy.
Don’t only watch kids movies/shows
Toddlers love many shows and movies that might just drive you crazy, I mean how many times can you watch Frozen or Frozen 2 without getting annoyed? Though you might want to give them what they want, put a limit to it. You shouldn’t have to watch Disney movies all day long and do nothing for yourself.
Take time each day to watch something you enjoy, of course maybe not something graphic or scary while they are awake, but still something you miss watching or have wanted to watch. I personally go turn on some Big Bang Theory on HBO Max or an Anthony Bourdain No Reservations or The Layover episodes on Discovery+ these days and my husband would choose any Star Wars movie and the Mandelorian on Disney+, but to each their own.
Get more rest
This may seem cliche, but getting enough sleep is also a part of self-care. If you aren’t sleeping well at night, then you might need to take a nap when your child takes a nap. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, but your child does, then you might need to start sleeping earlier. And no it doesn’t mean you are getting old for sleeping earlier at night, it just means you care about your sleep and you might have an early bird for a kid.
My 2yo daughter wakes up usually at 6am, but that doesn’t mean 4-5am wake up calls don’t occur more often than I would like. So getting to sleep earlier is always a better option than being sleep deprived all of the time. Handling a toddler all day on sleep deprivation, definitely not the easiest thing to do and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
Play a video game
Now this may seem a bit weird to say, but if you are like me you loved to play video games a lot before you had kids and might have given it up once you had them. But if it was something you loved to do and want to do again, then make playing a video game part of your self-care. Of course don’t ignore the rest of your responsibilities and just play games, like some husbands do, but when you get the chance during the day, like during nap time, then go for it.
Spend time for yourself, play nostalgic games or new games you hoped you could play, just play and enjoy yourself. Oh and don’t think that because you are a mom that you can’t play certain games. If it is a mature game like Cyberpunk 2077 then just don’t play it when your kid is awake. If you have a 3yo you might be able to play games with them like Animal Crossings: New Horizons, where you would have to spend the time to read it to them and help them learn along the way with something that is slow paced.
No matter what you choose to do when it comes to self-care, just remember that you should never feel guilty about taking care of yourself. You have to do stuff for yourself as much as you do for raising your little ones (and let’s be honest, sometimes your husband or boyfriend as well). Just be kind to yourself because you deserve it.