This post is the second in a series of posts on the need for Moms to take care of themselves. Last time we talked about the Basics of self-care. Nutrition, Hydration, and Sleep. This week we are talking about the little things you can fit into your day without any pre-planning.
Accept the limitations of the day:
It’s so easy for me to start my day with big expectations. I want to finish that project I was working on the day before, or finally get to scrubbing out that tub or tackling the laundry. And then the baby wakes up with a fever, or I get a terrible headache around lunchtime, or a toddler needs extra attention from me. I think the hardest limitations for me to accept is anything that involves my own health. “I’m fine!” I tell myself, “I can push through this and still get through everything I planned for this day!” And on the rare day, it works out. And that fools me into thinking that I can always ignore the way I am feeling and meet my own expectations.
But it’s not true, because most days that I completely ignore the limitations of the day, I end up yelling at my kids, frustrated that I didn’t get something done, and feeling overwhelmed. It is so much easier if I just recognize from the start that each day has limitations of its own. If I can learn to accept and love others despite their limitations, why not accept and love myself despite my own limitations.
We do so much as moms. Being a mom is a full time job! Why am I tempted to ignore that? Somedays I get to the end of the day and whine that I got “nothing” done. My husband will point out that I made dinner and I will protest that I never intended to make spaghetti again, I was going to make homemade chicken pot pie. How many times do I discredit the amount of work I have done, because of all the work I supposedly could have done. One of the commenter’s from last week pre-empted me by saying “appreciate yourself”, much like my recent post on appreciating our kids.
Appreciate what you do, stop looking at what you could have done, and notice what you did. Maybe you didn’t get to washing the floor like you’d hoped, but today children were loved and dressed and fed and read to. Maybe you didn’t clean the whole bathroom, but you did wipe down the mirror and the sink. Celebrate what you do! You’ve heard the saying “ you don’t need to be perfect, just do your best”, sadly that wasn’t encouraging for me. In my perfectionist mind I never truly did my best, I know now that “my best” was unachievable. Now I do what I can, and I let it be enough. And surprisingly, most of the time it is more than enough!
My goal is that these “daily” ideas are things you can fit into your day without any need to plan ahead. You know, the little things we are tempted not to bother with because we are waiting for something better, but in reality they are often all we have time for.
Now don’t get overwhelmed, I don’t mean that all of these things should happen daily! Pick and choose! Many of these ideas won’t speak to you, or you may try one and not really get anything out of it. It takes time to figure out what you enjoy. Alot contributes to what makes you feel re-charged, personality, goals, whether you are introverted or extroverted. In the end, you should be able to hone in on what helps you.
Alot of this will also depend on how busy you are, if you do not have time to do 3 of these little self-care moments each day, you are over committed, it is time to cut back. I feel like I am just scratching the surface with these ideas, but these are some of the things that rejuvenate me and I’m sure that you will have some other ideas for things that rejuvenate you! Remember, these little daily moments should not require any planning ahead, and if you are not attempting to cover the basics of self-care, none of these moments will do that much to help you recharge.
Make yourself a Hot drink or Smoothie: Nothing hits the spot for me like a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate. And I happen to love banana-blueberry smoothies.
Paint your toe nails: I say toe nails because with dishes and laundry my fingernails last all of 3 minutes. Plus it can be dangerous to have my hands out of commission even for a few minutes to let the polish dry! (Bonus: Your kids may love to get their nails painted too!)
Have a special snack: Too often I skip making snack and eat something quick and processed, or worse yet, don’t eat anything at all. One of my favorite snacks is Celery with peanut butter and raisins or chocolate chips. It doesn’t take very long to make it, and it feels so much better than a junky snack.
Devotional time: I used to put this off until I “had time” to read for at least a half hour and pray alone! Plus I felt that the more the better when I was reading God’s word, so I was never content with the amount I read. I should be able to finish my chapter! Why couldn’t the kid leave me alone for long enough for this to be edifying! The result of my frustration was that I rarely got around to devotions. Now, I read a verse or two (literally) while I nurse the baby. It never takes me more than five minutes, an if I get more time than that’s a nice bonus. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve been blessed by my consistently snatching a devotional moment.
Computer time: You have to be careful with this one, actually writing or reading of blogs takes planning, and that’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean the moments where you are about to pull your hair out because your baby just dunked another beanie baby in the toilet. (beanie babies are machine washable and dryable so you know) Instead of causing hair loss, I’ve found that getting on Twitter or Facebook for 5 minutes (careful, no more than that!) to read about the craziness in other mom’s lives and maybe post a tiny vent of my own can help me to laugh and find my center again.
Get outside: You could argue that this one takes planning, but for me its just a matter of pushing myself out the door. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or running around in the back yard, my kids are happier, I feel refreshed, and we all get out of the house for a bit. Always a good call!
Phone call: I’m not really a phone person, but I’ve found a short phone call to my sister (or even my hubby at work) can help me to feel recharged and ready to start something new.
One makeup item: Maybe you don’t think you have time to put on makeup in the morning (I know I don’t!) But what about one item? What do you like most about your face? Why not play it up? It doesn’t take long to put on mascara, but it could make a difference in how you feel about your day. Or maybe it’s blush, or concealer. Pick your favorite and feel good about having it on. For me it’s actually putting on a pair of earrings. Whatever floats your boat.
Clean up your space: This may sound counter-intuitive, this is about self care right? But I’ve found that I feel so good when I get “my space” clean. Maybe that’s your desk, maybe its your bedroom. Strangely enough its the bathroom for me! I love having my bathroom uncluttered and being able to close door and know that room will stay clean for more than 5 minutes. It relaxes me.
Hobby time: Again, this can get carried away. I not talking about scrap booking or sewing here, remember this week is about little stuff you may be able t fit into your day without any planning ahead. But if you can knit a few rows on that scarf you’ve been working on, or practice your soccer moves in the yard with the kids then go for it!
Turn on music: It always brightens my day for me to put on some music. Something relaxing if I am trying to rest, something peppy if I’m trying to get some work done. It only takes a second to turn on the radio or put in a CD.
Get a hug: Easy to forget, but it makes a big difference in my day. I love hugs from my kids, but my favorite hugs are the ones I snag from my husband before he leaves for the day. I love the moment of resting against his chest and listening to his heartbeat. So worth it!!
Quiet time: Maybe you can’t get a nap in, (I know I usually can’t) but why not declare a 5 minute quiet time and lay down and put your feet up? I know it does me good to relax my body and just breath for a moment, and my kids find it very entertaining to copy me.
Please share your ideas in the comments!