As a mom of two kiddos who are 19 months apart in age, and wife of a husband that traveled nearly every week, my batteries were empty. Our days were filled with routines, dishes (never ending), laundry (also, never ending), and, when I could get out of my own way and take a breath, giggles.
I looked forward to my days in the office, but then would race home to be with the kids because I missed them. I would count down the hours until bedtime, so I could climb on the coach and binge watch reality TV, and then quietly stand in the doorways of the kid’s rooms and wonder how time was going by so fast. I managed to prepare healthy meals, listen to everyone’s tales of woe, provide comfort and encourage bravery, and support the daily grind of “living the dream.”
How did I stop doing the things that brought me energy or were healthy for me? Our kids are meant to grow up and become independent adults. Who was I to become?
I spent many months researching what was interesting to me or created that burst of energy on the inside that no one else could see but made me want more. I cried tears of longing to rewind time to when our babies needed me and of fear at the thought of taking a leap and doing something for myself.
So how did I balance all these emotions and have the energy to care for everyone else’s needs? I started to take care of the most important person first…me.
I spend a lot of time talking with moms about their own crazy schedules and the ways in which they have stopped making themselves a priority. I’ve realized that self-care is the first step to any health and wellness changes you want to make.
As moms, we tend to put everyone else’s needs first at the expense of our own physical and emotional needs. Our first reaction is to think that self-care is selfish. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When our needs are met, we have the energy to care for everyone else and be our best selves at that moment in time.
With schedules packed, running kids in opposite directions, work levels at their max, and the ever-looming overwhelm we have as moms, where is there time to fit in self-care?
Implementing the following simple strategies can make it possible to make you a priority.
While a day at the spa sounds lovely, most moms don’t have the time to fit that into the schedule (if you do, enjoy every second!). A better approach is to incorporate 10-15 minutes per day of time for you. A cup of tea in your favorite chair before the evening’s activities begin, a journal that includes gratitude and what inspires you, or a walk around the block are all easy ways to reset your batteries (and they’re free!).
Prep and planning for the week are essential to things running smoothly. Sit down once a week and look at the week ahead and establish where can you fit in self-care. Then, schedule it. This is an appointment with yourself that is as important as any other. Clearly, days have a way of derailing on occasion, but if you are consistently incorporating self-care those blips on the radar will have minimal impact.
Communication is key in any family. Let those you live with know how you are feeling and the need to take care of you, so you can take care of them. Figure out how your time can fit into the schedule and where others can support you.
Take your self-care time seriously. Don’t multitask during it or focus on just getting through. Leave the guilt behind and remember this is essential, not selfish. Take a couple of deep breaths and remind yourself this is important for you.
Now with teens running in and out of the house, my days look very different. We are in the last quarter before our home is empty. While there are days my heart longs for our babies, it’s so exciting to watch our kiddo’s journeys and to be here to guide them when needed.
The only way I could have done this was by remembering how important I was, that it wasn’t selfish, and that in taking care of me…I could take care of them.
Amy Napoli is a Health and Wellness Coach and owner of Balanced Healthy Self. She works with moms who are so busy taking care of everyone else they forget to take care of themselves. Focusing on nutrition, time management, prep and planning, and self-care, Amy provides the support and encouragement for moms to feel their best, give themselves grace when life gets in the way, and dream big while being present with their families.
When not coaching, you can find Amy chasing her teens while running (can’t catch them anymore), advocating for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and disconnecting by traveling with her family. You can follow Amy on Instagram and Facebook (in her village for moms – we would love to have you!). Click here for Amy’s FREE guide: It’s Mom’s Time, 4 simple ways to make you a priority, so you can take care of everyone else.
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