When you become a mom, if you’re not conscious of it, the time and energy that used to go towards caring for your own wellbeing goes directly to keeping your new bundle of joy alive. The first few weeks of motherhood are a blur of sleepless nights and leaking breasts all while shovelling food into your mouth when time allows for it. Needless to say, it’s hard to focus on your own self-care during this time.
How many blog posts have you read about the importance of self-care? About how every mom needs to take time out for herself? Simply get a manicure and pedicure with your girlfriends or sleep in on weekends while your other half gets up with the baby! Don't be afraid to treat yourself to a facial. Get out and go for a walk in nature!
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These posts make it seem like it’s so easy to get the care that you need, as if you can just book a mani/pedi appointment without worrying about childcare, napping schedules or the mom guilt. But after having a baby, your standards have been lowered so that you're not worrying over your chipped nail polish or getting the appropriate amount of fresh air. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to care for yourself- ones that work for you and your family.
Usually, my self-care consists of washing my hair every third or fourth day of the week or getting eight (okay, maybe like six) hours of sleep in a row. The more I stress about proper self-care, the more anxious I get. The media seems to think self-care has to be elaborate and pampering. But I’m here to tell you that it’s whatever you need at that current moment.
I usually bottle my need for self-care up until I am up to my eyeballs in work and utter exhaustion. I’m spewing out commands that don’t make sense, forgetting everything and yelling at my kids. Finally, I will text my husband, “Get home now or don’t come home at all!” or some other variation of a threat. When he arrives home and I collapse into his arms, he asks “What can I do to help? What do you need?”
For a while, my answer was always the same. “I want a night alone in a hotel,” I would say. I was half-joking but mostly serious. I have been begging for a night alone without snoring and without being kicked in the guts by a toddler for as long as I have been a mother. I crave reading a book for fun without interruptions or writing in my journal or having a girls weekend where I can complain about being a working mother and wife with friends that are like sisters and totally get what I am talking about.
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Today, I yelled. Today, today was tough. And its only 3:20. I don't yell. In fact, I don't think I've ever once yelled at my kid. But today I yelled. Not once, but three times. This picture is not set up, I couldn't even muster up the energy to pick up the mess you can only partially see. This picture was snapped in the 5 minutes I had where both kids were actually laying in their beds and I had a minute, just one, to breathe and potentially finally enjoy this third cup of coffee. And ya know what? That's okay. Its perfectly okay to feel defeated sometimes. Its perfectly okay to know that everything is *not* fine in the moment but give it some time and it will be. It's more than okay to sit in the silence and leave everything else for a minute. Hell, leave it for a week if you need to. You don't have to be supermom all day every day. It's the moments like this that 《MAKE》 you supermom. Taking time to take care of yourself is important. Taking time to reset when you know you need to is so important. Its okay to lose it sometimes. It's okay to raise your voice. It's okay to have an off day. Those kids still love you at the end of the day. Hell, my kid didnt even blink when I yelled because I just dont ever do it. He giggled and kept going on with his day. He knows I love him. I show him all day every day. So you know what, today I yelled, and while I felt like a horrible mom I realized, ITS OKAY. it's not the end of the world. Today I yelled, and today I realized that that's just fine sometimes. • • • #myhonestmotherhood #honestlymothering #mymotherhood #mymamahood #mylifeasmom #postpartum #fourthtrimester #2under2 #reallifemomlife #reallifemom #motherhoodintheraw #motherhoodirl #momsirl #momsofinstagram #momsunite #postpartumhealth #mentalhealth #momselfcare #ppa #ppd #mentalhealthawareness #selfcarepost #momminainteasy #sahmlife #mamalifeofig #mamatribe #mynameismama #adayinthelifeofamom #momstagram #theeverygirl
I’ve travelled for work in the past and had to stay over in a hotel by myself. During these times, I have found that it is pure bliss. After dinner with coworkers, I am free to hang out and do nothing. There's no cleaning, no cooking. It's just me and my laptop and whatever Netflix chick flick strikes my fancy. No arguing and no endless requests for a snack or some juice. It's just me and my own time to do whatever I want.
Once I got a taste of staying by myself in a hotel, I was hooked. So much so, that I have declared that my number one self-care goal is to get away on my own at least once a year (for non-work related reasons, of course). It always seems like money is tight when I need a little momcation the most, so I am constantly just putting a bug in my husband’s ear whenever I can. We don’t do presents and we haven’t since our first Christmas together. We would rather use the money and do something with it, like a day trip, a vacation, or some other activity that will give us better memories than a necklace or cuff links could.
So when Mother’s Day came around and he asked what I wanted to do, I yet again said a hotel room alone. I never thought I would get such a big present, but by this time, it was an ongoing joke between the two of us. He called me one day during work hours and told me he had an idea but wasn’t sure if I would go for it.
When he was done explaining, it was evident that this was a win-win solution. We live about 3 miles from a Great Wolf Lodge, and knowing that we needed to rent a hotel room in order to use the water park, we had never given it much thought. But my genius husband came up with the idea: I would go and spend the night before alone and then him and the kids would join me at the park the next day. It ended up being less expensive to do that than to rent just a hotel room somewhere else and we got a fun family day out of it. How smart is that?
And it was perfect. Despite being in a family hotel sans my family, I spent most of the time in my room catching up on TV and Netflix shows, reading, and even finishing a webinar class I signed up for yet never completed. I even took a nap at 7 pm, just to wake up and relax some more. I could not have asked for anything better.
Now some women will feel a sense of guilt at taking time away from their children, especially overnight. But you have to think of the benefits. You are rested and recharged, which makes you a better mother all around. Instead of being a frazzled, exhausted, angry mama, you are rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle mom life again.
When you return to your family, your patience has returned, you’ve had a chance to miss them, and you’re happy to be back with them. They may not notice how refreshed you feel or that you’re not yelling as much, but you can tell a difference. Those feelings of being a bad mother dissipate and vanish, leaving behind a better version of yourself. And while we are at it, banish that mom guilt too!
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Your kids had a chance to have quality time with a loved one that they don’t usually get the time to do, so all in all, it’s a win-win situation. Bonus points if you're willing to stay in a family-oriented theme hotel and they get something out of it also!
Hear this mama: do not feel bad if your self-care consists of quiet reading time in a hotel room sans family. It’s good for everyone in the long run and you get the rest you need (without being touched by little feet or woken up because they are thirsty… again). Don’t feel bad if your self-care is unconventional. If it makes you feel refreshed and provides a slice of your sanity back, it’s good for the whole family.