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Self Care With Young Kids At Home

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2020

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Today we are going to talk about a topic that is near to my heart - self-care. 

Sometimes people think of self-care as an indulgence. As something you can only afford if you have enough money, a sitter, endless amounts of time.

It can evoke images of bubbles baths and pedicures and going out shopping. 

That can be a type of self-care, yes, but today I want to talk to you about the self-care that saved my sanity. My first year of motherhood was ROUGH. Here are some of the things I learned to do along the way that have helped me get to a better place. A place I actually enjoy. The daily little things I do that help me feel calm, refreshed, and cared for as a woman and a mama- while also juggling work, COVID with a toddler, maintaining a healthy relationship with my husband, and so much more! 

Why I Didn't Practice Self Care

But first - I want to go through some of the obstacles together that keep a lot of women from prioritizing self-care in their lives. I know these obstacles well because for a long time I thought they were insurmountable. I thought I couldn't take care of myself because of these things. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt this way. 

1. Little people (and not so little people) always need me, I'll never be able to get time away.

2. I feel guilty for taking time to myself, there is so much to do.

3. I don't even know what I would do if I had time to myself for self-care. 

Have you ever felt this way? If so - you're not alone. I've been right there with you mama.

Let's go through these together so we can tackle them once and for all.

1.  Little people do need us, yes. This is true. Do you know what is also true? Little people love their grandparents and your friends and other important adults in their lives. By allowing these people the gift of time to build relationships with your little one you are blessing them and blessing your child by building up their social support network. You're teaching your child that there is so much love in this world. You are essential in your little one's life - there is no doubt about that. However, another trusted, helpful adult can step in for a bit sometimes and it won't harm your relationship with your little one. 

2. Anytime you start to have guilt for taking time for yourself because you could be doing laundry, or catching up on work, or spending time with your little one - remind yourself that by taking this time you are filling up your cup and you are giving yourself so much more emotional capacity to show in your life. You're going to lessen the amount of time you snap at your kids and cry because you just don't want to make another snack or do another load of laundry. This time is important. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. You have needs too mama and they are just as important (or dare i say MORE important) than the laundry or the bathroom that needs to be cleaned. Let go of that guilt. You matter too.

3. Sometimes we can become so detached from the things that fill us up and help us feel refreshed. Make a list of the things you liked to do before you had a baby or before your life got so hectic and chaotic. Read over that list. What things stick out to you? What seems fun to try again? I took up crocheting for a while a actually sold a scarf on Etsy while I was pregnant with my son. Recently my new hobby has been doing art with watercolors. It could be taking up a sport, reading a fiction book, cooking or baking, or watching good movies. Just make the list and pick something that sounds good, if you like it you can keep it up and if you don't you can go to the next thing on the list. 

Self Care You Can Do At Home With Small Kids

So now that we've talked through some of the mindset stuff and how to figure out what you like to do when you can get some time to yourself - I realize that this isn't always practical, especially during a global pandemic. 

I want to encourage you though to push past that thought of "I can never get time for myself" and try to get creative and problem solve ways you can have a little space in your day, your week or your month. 

Currently, at our house I've worked out a routine with my husband where I get 30 minutes of time each morning to pray, read, and get my mind ready for the day. This has been a game-changer for my mood and my faith. Is there a way you could plan with another adult in your house to have some time each day or a few times a week where you can go into a room by yourself and have time to do whatever lights you up?  

In addition to this, there are also many things I do WITH my son that help me feel calm and rejuvenated.

  • Focus on how much water I'm drinking each day to stay hydrated, this has a huge impact on energy and mood.
  • Make sure I eat regularly and have healthy options for myself at home.
  • Try not to multitask and be present in most situations - I do break this rule when we go on walks to the park and listen to a nice podcast there and back while he's in the stroller. 
  • Find activities he enjoys and can do alone while I sit nearby and read a book - this one has taken a lot of practice and I usually only read for about 5-10 minutes before he wants me to join his play, but it's given me a little space and I know we will continue working on this skill as he grows (he's two)
  • Drink hot beverages in the morning and during naptime. This one has been a great way to signal to my body that I'm calm and relaxed. I have special teas I look forward to drinking each naptime while I sit down to read or get some work done.
  • Slow down and include my son in household chores. This allows me to do the laundry, the dishes, and the cleaning WITH HIM while he's awake which gives me back some of that time during naptime and after he goes to bed for that alone time self-care stuff. 
  • I have positive affirmations I speak over myself and my son that improve my mood. 
  • I monitor my social media time to make sure I'm not getting sucked in all day. This one is a constant struggle, but when I put my phone away I notice a huge difference in my mood and my parenting. 
  • I keep blank space in our schedule and am conscious of not scheduling too many outings or visits with family each week. We thrive on rest time in my house so I try to focus on making time for that each week. 

I hope by reading through these things you realize that self-care is all about how we care for ourselves each day in the small moments. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. It can be sitting down with a cup of hot tea during naptime and reading your favorite book (I'm on the fourth Harry Potter book myself right now). It can be becoming more intentional about your water and food intake and focus on eating and drinking things that help you feel your best and have the most energy. It can be actually being present with your kids while you play so you can emotionally connect and engage with them. If you struggle with being present I shared a great tip in my blog post last week that has helped me stop thinking about all the to-dos and shut off that running mental list

Self-care is all about how we talk to ourselves, how we care for our physical and emotional needs, and how we make time for the things in life we enjoy and fill us up. 

What ways are you going to make small changes in your life to start practicing self-care? I'd love to hear about them! Come share in the Facebook group! 

     

 

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