Why Self Care is Vital to be a Good Mum
Why Self Care is Vital to be a Good Mum
Self care can often be viewed as unnecessary and self indulgent. Let me tell you why it’s the exact opposite.
I’ve always wanted to be a mum. I wanted someone to love and nurture and share experiences with. I thought being a mum (especially to a little girl) would involve lots of baking, craft projects, hair braiding, teddy bear picnics and Pinterest inspired activities.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
From my experience, being a mum is about keeping my child fed, entertained and teaching them independence and kindness whilst fighting a never ending battle with the laundry pile and generally walking around my house picking up other people’s stuff.
I’m painting a pretty rubbish picture of motherhood here which is totally unfair because it’s honestly the most amazing job in the world and I love my life now more than ever before but it’s exhausting at times.
My biggest daily challenge is finding the energy to be a good mum, run a business and do it all by myself.
We all know that motherhood is about putting your child’s needs before your own but it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup.
Self care is a crucial part of being a good mum but it’s something we are all guilty of skipping. The problem is, it’s often easier said than done. A combination of family and work commitments as well as mum guilt can lead to us putting ourselves last or not even considering our needs as being worthy of adding to the to do list at all.
A New Approach to Self Care
I’ve watched lots of beautiful, successful mums on social media doing vlogs about self care and they all say the same thing - factor your me time into your diary before you put in anything else. The idea is that you can only give your best when you’re feeling your best.
It’s a nice concept but totally impractical. I don’t know a single mum that would prioritise a soak in the bath over her weekly supermarket trip or book in for her hair cutting when she should be taking her little one to their swimming class. And would you even be able to enjoy watching a movie if your living room looked like a toy store had exploded inside of it?
I’ve decided that self care isn’t ‘me first’ it’s ‘me, too’.
I’m not going to factor in dedicated me time into my diary - life as a mum just isn’t that straight forward. Instead, I’m going to recognise when I need a break, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, and try my hardest not to feel guilty about taking the time to metaphorically refill my own cup when there’s countless other things I could be doing.
Spot the Warning Signs
Here’s where it gets a bit serious. Remember Jade Goody? She is an extreme example but one that will hopefully remind you of the importance of looking after yourself so that you can look after your children.
Our bodies are incredible and super resilient - no doubt you will have discovered this after giving birth! And if something isn’t quite right, it can be easy to recognise and then it’s a matter of making it a priority to either allow yourself time to rest and recover or seek medical attention where needed.
Mental health is a far more challenging topic. There’s still a stigma attached to it. There’s also a lot of fear surrounding it. I’m not going to delve too deep into this subject right now but I am going to say that it’s important to spot the early warning signs that something might not be right and take action. It might be mood swings, low self esteem, snappiness towards your partner and children or low energy levels.
How Can I Practice Self Care?
There’s so much more to self care than just working on your appearance.
Sometimes it’s finding the time to meet up with a friend, watch a movie, take a walk, try out a creative class, have a hot cup of tea in blissful silence, sit in the garden and watch the sunset, take a nap, listen to some music while dancing around your living room or just scroll through Instagram for 10 minutes without feeling guilty about all of the other things that you could be doing.
That’s not to say that you can’t dedicate some time to getting your hair done, painting your nails, applying some makeup and visiting the gym regularly. All of these activities will likely make you feel better about yourself but, if under the blowdried hair, beautifully applied makeup and expertly painted nails there’s a mum that’s tired, overwhelmed and feels like she no longer knows who she is then no amount of beauty products will help you. It might sound cheesy but you have to work on yourself from the inside out.
Also don’t compare yourself to others. How many times have you looked at yourself and felt crappy because you’re not as well groomed as the other mums at the soft play? Or maybe you feel inadequate because a couple of your NCT buddies are on to their third babies and seemingly breezing through motherhood while you’re trying to make it through the day with just the one kid. Have you ever watched a complete stranger at the park running around after their little one with bags of energy while you can barely find the strength to push your kid on the swing? I know I have. The thing is, you have no idea what their circumstances are and they might just be having a really good day while you’re having a not-so-great one.
And remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Accept help when it’s offered and ask for help when needed. As mums we often do a really good job of pretending that everything is OK when it’s really not. We don’t want our family to worry about us or our friends to judge us so we fake it. And we do a pretty convincing job. The result is our loved ones think we don’t need their help. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t help, they just don’t see the need to offer it. Your job now is to ASK for it. And remember, you’re not doing this for yourself, you’re doing it so you can be a better mum for your children and don’t they deserve that?
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