What self-care really looks like when you're a mum

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock 

It's bigger than Kim K's butt on the internet, everyone from Emma Watson to Gwyneth Paltrow has an opinion on self-care. It's 2018's 'me time' but with less of the pedicures. It's become more personal, more nuanced.

Your self-care routine can involve anything that recharges you. It could be switching off your phone all weekend. It could be watching horror movies alone while wearing a Korean sheet mask on Friday nights.  

When you're a mum, it turns out you have to completely redefine your idea of self-care, because you no longer have the time or money to do all the nice stuff you used to do like get spray tans … yet 'filling your own cup' is an essential aspect of motherhood.

Not only so you have enough energy to run the zoo that is your home life now, but also to set an example of how to love and care for yourself for those little eyeballs that are watching. 

So here's my – entirely subjective, and often depressingly basic – list of stuff I think qualifies as treating yo'self when you're a mother.  

1. Seeing your GP. For you. This week.

Your health is as important as any of your children's, and we all know you'd be down the surgery at 9am tomorrow if one of your babies needed it. So if your emotions hurt or, like me, you've had foot pain for the last 11 months and didn't do anything about it till last week, call your Dr and schedule an appointment in already. 

2. Giving yourself the best chicken thigh/jazziest jacket potato.

At least some of the time. Because you bloody cooked it. And nobody will even notice anyway. 

3. Saying 'yes'.

If your kid wants to try jam on a banana or wear her swimming costume say yes. If it's not an essential rule, it's three minutes of your life you'll regain from battling over something that really doesn't matter. You could make yourself a cup of tea in this time. 

4. Saying 'wait'.

Toddlers are demanding so and sos. But if you're in the middle of something that needs your focus – a phone call, chopping vegetables, then they can learn to wait. You don't need to be instantly at their beck and call, and the more you are, the more they will learn to expect that of you. Ain't nobody got time for that. 

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5. Leaving your kids for a night out.

Not only do you need one and they will they cope just fine, but seeing you get dressed up and go out somewhere at night time is actually exciting to them. 

6. Rearranging your Instagram to unfollow any accounts that trigger you to feeling bad about your life.

Blissful 'phone time' is hard enough to come by with young kids around, why waste any of it feeding any feelings of inadequacy? 

7. Tell someone when you're having a hard day.

This is very important. If you hold this stuff in it festers into a dark ball of monsters that hide under your bed. A lot of days I'll text my friends to complain that I've just cleaned up my fourth load of gastro sick or that I've barely slept and just cried in the shower. Then I can move on. 

9. Tell your family you are going out to do your "thing" sometimes.

It doesn't matter what your thing is, it could be Bikram yoga or looking at Pinterest on a park bench eating Cheezels. You don't need to tell them what your 'thing' is, all they need to know is that you are in a good mood when you come home from doing it.

10. Recognise the 60 second bliss moments in your day and TAKE THEM.

For me there are few: putting the bins out (alone time!), the slow walk to the driver's seat after strapping my kids in their car seats and gleefully closing the door on their incessant talking. And sometimes there will be a magic bonus one where I look up and somehow both kids are sitting there playing by themselves, engrossed in happy silence. Ahh the serenity.