Thrive As A Busy Mom With These 3 Self-Care Tips
If you landed here, I know I don’t need to tell you that #momlife isn’t all bliss. Or any bliss at all, really, unless you make it a priority. Here’s my how I find mine. Hopefully, in sharing some of the ways I avoid spending time with my precious offspring, some mom out there (possibly you!) will feel more okay with giving yourself a break. Otherwise, I hope this confessional at least entertains.
On to the ways...
1. The Gym
When Phi was around 4 months old, I signed up for a Y membership and it’s literally the best parenting decision I will ever make. Winter was coming, so our long walks were coming to an end. I know myself well enough to know I need exercise to stay happy and sane. That went double when her dad and I broke up. It was just me and her for long stretches of time, and breaking that up with visits to the busy, happy Y were a godsend.
Even though we go to a different gym now, I remember the Y as fondly as Vampire Weekend remembers college campus life. It’s where I learned that sometimes, the best thing I can do for Phi is take care of myself. As a newly-single mom who had never really taken care of myself financially before, money was tight but this was one expense I just couldn’t cut. My butt looks better and I’m a better mom thanks to every gym babysitter who’s ever watched Phi.
When I put time and effort into creating a bedtime routine for Phi, I did it to give her consistency and a sense of self-efficacy. Maybe it was actually just because I was afraid the moms of BabyCenter would march on my house if I didn’t. Whatever. She goes to bed at 8 now, and as a happy byproduct I have an almost-guaranteed window of time between 8 pm and my own bedtime.
It’s time to watch Gilmore Girls, do yoga, write, meditate, read, make lots of tea, and watch more Gilmore Girls. If I wasn’t totally creeped out by one guy on Tinder the one time I used it, it would be my time to go on Tinder. If I wanted to learn to play guitar, I could do it. The point is, every day I have 4ish hours of endless possibility. The 24 hours a day of endless possibility available in my pre-mom life were so much less valuable to me than these precious 4 hours.
I have friends whose kids don’t do the bedtime thing, but they find a pocket or two of time for themselves during the day. That’s the point here. This isn’t a parenting blog, I’m not going to tell you when to put your kid to bed. Just take some time for yourself. You deserve it.
Yes, even if your house is a mess. Architectural DIgest isn’t coming over tomorrow. Relax.
3. Screen TIme
Recently, I spilled a little kombucha and said something that rhymes with “wit” in the presence of my sponge-brained little Phi. She immediately parroted the word back to me, adorably using a “ch” sound rather than “sh.” During this whole ordeal, the TV was on. Pregnant me would have been horrified.
I didn’t want her to watch TV until her second birthday. I didn’t want her to curse ever. Like almost all parenting-related things, this didn’t go to plan and it’s okay. She seems to have forgotten the “ch” word, thank god.
This winter, during back-to-back snow days, I let her start watching movies sometimes. Since then, we’ve even branched out to shows. It hasn’t killed her self-determination or her love of the outdoors.
I’m super grateful that TV is an option when we’re home for a full day and it’s raining and she’s already made a giant mess in every room of the house except the one where the TV is. Or, sometimes I want to oil pull in peace for 20 minutes in the morning. On those days, letting her watch Happy Feet (again) as I scroll through Jezebel on my phone brings sweet, sweet relief.
Am I the mom I imagined I’d be as I read 1,000 books during pregnancy? Absolutely not, but I’m proud to be the mom I am, a mom who takes time for myself to do things that lift me up. The best mom I can be is a happy mom.