Self care for mothers is something we hear about a lot in recent years. It’s a term that’s tossed around almost as often as, “What’s for dinner?”
Typically when we think of self care, or rather when it’s marketed to us, it’s bubble baths, scented candles and ordering in. But is that really what we need or even want?
Recently I began thinking about what self care means to me. When I lock myself in the bathroom for forty minutes, I come out feeling a little more refreshed, but ultimately nothing changes. There’s no profound impact on my life, regardless of how relaxed I may feel in the moment.
So what am I looking for?
One of the best things I’ve done in terms of self care is goal setting. A lot of people eye roll me when I say that, but it helps! The reason goal setting is so important to me, is because it forces me to take some time to reflect. I need to sit down and consider how the last few months have gone. What has worked, and what hasn’t. Which systems are helping me, and which ones need to be adjusted?
When I set goals I’m not only considering how much money I want to be making, or how long it would take me to save up for a nice vacation, or to lose “the COVID 15”. I’m setting goals like: creating stronger boundaries in my relationships. Spending more quality time with my family. Not reaching for my phone when I wake up, and getting rid of those red bubble notifications when it is convenient to me, not as soon as someone expects a response.
Another form of self care for mothers that I deeply covet is to keep it simple. Quality family time can simply mean no screens at dinner and a board game or cards after we eat. Not reaching for my phone in the morning be as uncomplicated as getting an alarm clock. A gratitude practice could take less than two minutes.
So far in 2021 I’ve replaced my morning scroll and email checking with a meditation practice or ten minute morning stretch. I’ve started my day with water instead of coffee… Although my coffee is brewing mid water intake. But I’ve already noticed shifts in my life. I’m less stressed, more content, and more willing to allow life to unfold as it should without being an over achieving goal getter.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that much of our life is out of our control. What we can control is taking good care of ourselves, and making sure we aren’t last on the list. Goal setting makes me a better person. I’m more satisfied when I see the growth I am making, and not just the growth I see in others.
Being a mother is arguably harder than ever. The mere fact that personal hygiene is considered a luxurious experience for mothers suggest that we aren’t having our needs met. It’s impossible to keep up to the expectations we have set for ourselves. Self care is imperative, but it’s so much more than a bubble bath.
Get clear on what you need and then, take care of you.