Pouty lips and pedicures: Five pointers for carving out self-care ‘Mom Moments’
Welcome back to your weekly dose of grace.
Are you feeling overwhelmed today? Overworked? Undervalued?
Do you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and no one is there to lighten the load?
Are you staring at your calendar and realizing that if you try to fit one more thing in your brain, it will most likely explode. … Or possibly even worse, shut down…!?
Maybe you’re even a little sad you’re having to forego those once-beloved “me-time” moments such as girls’ nights, movie dates and *gasp* even a luxurious pedicure every now and then! OH, THE JOY!
Well, no matter why any of us may be tired/down/discouraged this morning, it’s time for us to ditch the pouty lips and indulge in a pedicure …even if that means locking ourselves in the bathroom for 20 minutes.
Being a mom is a constant balancing act. We have to give all of our attention to our little blessings, but at times, that naturally causes us to feel lost in the shuffle. There’s no longer time for long walks on the beach, binge-watching our fave shows, heck … even going to the bathroom alone is a thing of the past!
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
I realized not too long ago that a large part of the reason that I never felt like I had time was actually my own fault. I’m a self-admitted control freak. Well, let me re-term myself. I am a self-admitted family manager. I want everything done correctly, timely and efficiently. And when I say correctly … I mean to my standards. Anyone with me on this?
The only reason I’m able to admit I’m a “family manager” is so that my beloved family members won’t force me in to expensive therapy only to realize months down the road that yep … I’m a control freak turned family manager.
But, you know what’s cool? Now that I’ve admitted I am one, I can manage my response to those overwhelming feelings tending to creep up.
Part of my issue is this burdensome feeling that if I go into my bedroom and close the door, the house is somehow gonna explode without my active presence. It’s this gnawing emotion of my temporary stepping away being the trigger for chaos.
Spoiler alert: that’s all in our heads, mommas.
I recently learned that stepping away for a few seconds is actually kinda mandatory, in some cases to prevent chaos.
I am now able to see that when I don’t choose to carve out 30 minutes for myself during the day for a necessary personal recharge, I begin to feel anxious, agitated and forgotten.
And that’s no good for anyone!
So, today, I’m sharing five helpful pointers in carving out those oh-so-necessary Mommy Moments!
(1) Accept that it’s important to take a mommy timeout – With a trusted caretaker/family member in charge, I can promise you that everything’s gonna be ok. Life really will go on. Your kids will survive. And maybe even have time to miss you a bit. The first step in self-care is accepting that you have earned it and more importantly, that you need it.
Early on in my mom life, I felt incredibly stressed because the guilt was so real if I ever even daydreamed about walking outside to take a breath of fresh air. Certainly, the stove would burst into flames and the house would come crumbling down without my presence, right? Not going to lie to you…it was a pretty significant hit to my ego when I discovered life absolutely flowed quite nicely during my temporary absence.
(2) Prep, so you can enjoy your downtime to the fullest:
– Be organized – know what you and your family will need and prep it in advance;
– Delegate – choose someone you can trust to carry out necessary duties while you rest;
– Remember to say “no!” – it’s ok to put some non-vital things on the back burner to create more time for you and your family; and
– Pass it off and move on – once you’ve enlisted some help with conquering your to-do list, take a deep breath and walk away. There’s no point in scheduling downtime if you aren’t going to maximize it!
(3) Completely unplug – “Completely unplugging” does not mean putting your phone on silent and locking your front door. It means hiding your cell phone from yourself for a solid amount of time and getting away from the door altogether. Let your loved ones know that you have scheduled some Mommy-only time. This means you will be away from your phone/email / however else people can contact you. This may be the most important step truthfully. If you step away, but forget to unplug, you will quickly realize you’ve defeated the whole purpose to begin with. Someone will always “need” something. Your babysitter or family member staying with your kiddos will most likely have a question at some point along the way (that they can easily Google, or ask dad for the answer to…). Give yourself a complete release from the noise and check into some actual downtime.
(4) Pick an activity/location/destination, etc. where you feel most at peace. Do you enjoy reading? Head to a coffee shop, bookstore or library for some recharge time. Do you need total quiet? Book a massage or find somewhere that will ensure complete silence for you. What about getting your nails done? Or taking an art/cooking class? Or maybe your idea of downtime is hanging with a bunch of your friends. Whatever gives your heart an adequate recharge is the ticket here. Whether you can get 20 minutes or 2 full days, make the most of this time to check back into you. On some days, your mommy timeout will look like you locking your bedroom door while the children are adequately supervised. Other days it will look like a getaway akin to a good ole fashioned bachelorette party. Whatever time you can manage, cling to it and maximize it!
(5) Immediately schedule your next mommy moment – The funny thing about getting actual downtime is that you immediately realize it is a lifeline you can’t live without. Prioritizing these sanity moments will soon become imperative. Once you return home (or come out of your bedroom after a hiatus from the hairy scary existing just on the other side of the door), make sure to plan your next moment alone. This will give you some encouragement and something to work towards. It’s crazy how just knowing you have a break quickly approaching can give you all the motivation you need to rock out at #momlife until your next mommy timeout moment comes.
Today I hope you feel encouraged, empowered and equipped to schedule some downtime. Because you deserve some “me” time, too.
Timeouts, play dates and nap time don’t have to be reserved just for the toddlers anymore.
Let’s remember to take time for ourselves. To step away from the dirty diapers, PTO meetings, dinner prep, laundry piles, mile-high dishes and yes, even the barf bags.
It’s not just important for us, it’s important for our loved ones, too.
To receive encouragement and read more about thriving rather than simply surviving in motherhood, check out Erin’s book, Cheers the Diaper Years: 10 Truths for Thriving While Barely Surviving here.
Erin Brown Hollis is Yellowhammer’s lifestyle contributor and host of Yellowhammer Podcast Network’s “Cheers to That” podcast. An author, speaker, lawyer, wife and mother of two, she invites you to grab a cup as she toasts the good in life, love and motherhood. Follow Erin on Instagram ErinBrownHollis or Twitter @ErinBrownHollis