Do you find yourself rolling your eyes at the self-care tips for moms out there? Are you part amused/part annoyed at the idea that a bubble bath could make a difference in your stress level?
I mean, who’s coming up with this stuff anyways? Twenty-three year old influencers who have no children and nothing else to do but take half nude selfies in bubble baths?
Girl, you won’t find that here.
The last time I used my master bathtub was to fill water buckets for the goats when the hose was frozen- bubbles not included.
Like everything else in culture, right now, self-care has been cheapened beyond actual care into some level of indulgence…and that’s supposed to satisfy and nurture our souls.
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m feeling that stay at home mom burnout feeling, the last thing I want to do is go sit at a salon and make small talk with a stranger while she paints my nails. And honestly, what are painted nails going to do for my soul?
Try being a new mom and finding such helpful answers as “get more sleep” or “exercise daily” when you search google for self-care tips. Not that either of those things is wrong, but… is google coming to watch the newborn while you bust your buns at the gym?
Make no mistake, as moms who constantly pour out our energy for others, we do need to stop and think about ourselves every once in a while.
I mean, I’m tired of hearing that old cliche about the airplane oxygen mask (put your mask on first) because look, you’re a mom: you don’t come first. When you’ve got nothing, Jesus makes a way, not getting your hair did.
But, there should be times in every season where you can do what you need to do to feel your very best. Whatever your best looks like right now.
I tend to think of self-care as a health routine. You can either treat your body like garbage and pop pills to alleviate the symptoms or you can eat right, live right, daily, and never need the quick fix.
In current culture terms, you can blow a gasket at your kids because you are overwhelmed by your schedule, and then go take a bath to make yourself feel better, or you can learn to not overschedule yourself, not blow up on your family, and take a bath because you have time to take one.
I’m not suggesting that baths can’t be relaxing. I’m sure they are for some mamas, and should be a part of your normal routine if that’s the case.
I simply don’t believe that relaxing translates as self-care. True rest, soul rest, is a gift we receive from Jesus himself. Self-care, in my opinion, means doing the things that encourage and equip you to take the next step, whatever that step may be.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus promises us a light burden and an easy yoke if we come to him and learn from him. So if the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you are dragging, I’d go ahead and get my learn on.
I am not a nutritionist. I’m not even someone who eats right all of the time. But there are some things that I know I should stay away from if I want to feel my best.
For example, I, personally, need to stay away from cow milk and drink more raw goat milk to keep my eczema in check. Cow dairy isn’t bad, my body is just reactive to it. So for me, that’s self-care.
There is no one size fits all in nutrition, and I certainly won’t tell you what to eat. Eating cow dairy may be a form of self-care for you. Don’t listen to what I say, listen to what your body is telling you.
Learning how to process through angry episodes or waves of depressive feelings will go so far in your quest for self-care. You don’t want to band-aid your sinful reactions with a glass of wine or a long bath to make yourself feel better.
True self-care is wanting to keep the destructive behavior from occurring in the first place. So when you’re starting to feel on edge and out of control, learn how to ask yourself the right questions and answer honestly in your journal. Then, take the appropriate steps.
I’m going to be honest, I have my thoughts about drinking. Given my own history with alcohol which was indulgent at best and alcoholic at worst, my opinion may be skewed. But it’s been five years now since I’ve had a drink and I’m not sorry.
My personal opinion is that binge drinking has become socially acceptable, more people have problems with alcohol than are willing to admit, and consuming alcohol is literally poisoning your organs for funsies. Perhaps one of my most important self-care tips for moms is this: stop drinking.
Listen, mama, if you need wine to relax at the end of the night, you need so much more than wine can deliver. I promise.
Like, every day. Not just somedays. Not just convenient days. Every day. Get into the habit of cutting off noise and distractions and urgencies, etc. The world won’t end. Your kids will grow accustomed to it in a week or two. And maybe you’ll save yourself from reaching for wine at bedtime.
There was a time, just a couple of decades ago, when the world operated on a phone system that was plugged in to a wall by wires.
You may think everyone needs to be able to reach you at every moment for every little thing. The reality is, it’s okay if they can’t. Text messages can go unanswered for a few hours. Phone calls can go to voicemail. Your facebook page can go un-updated.
Less distraction and more presence creates more peace.
This is my favorite self-care tip for moms. I swear, my confidence in my own mothering skills went way up when I gave up social media three years ago.
Suddenly, there was no one to tell me I was doing it all wrong. No passive aggressive post to cause anxiety in me concerning a decision I made. Nothing and no one to compare myself to. It was just me and my kids and the Holy Spirit guiding my interactions with them.
Eliminating the social media comparison trap has made all the difference for me. Give it a try!
I swear it’s a game changer. You will feel so much more calm when you’re not overrun by stuff. When your home is visually pleasing, you’ll really feel like you’ve got your life figured out.
And honestly, the less stuff you have to manage, the more time you have to NOT manage them. Aka, free time. Holla!
Girl, I don’t like this one either. Because I love sugar. And sometimes, thinking about that chocolate candy bar waiting for me in the fridge is everything I need to get through a loooong afternoon.
Trust me, it’s a trick. It’s a sweet little lie. I know for me, because I’ve done the Whole30 and have gone completely sugar free, that high sugar intake is directly related to low mood feelings. The more sweets, the more depressed I end up feeling.
I can’t indulge half as often as I want to, if I want to practice true self-care.
In other words, choose carefully what you’re drinking, what you’re ingesting, and make better decisions. Consume the things that are going to end up working for you (and your gut) and helping you to feel your best.
Honestly, the negative side effect of reading more is having less time to watch tv.
Meaning there is no negative side effect. Reading makes you smart, and depending on what you read, it can encourage, inspire, and motivate you, too.
I am not perfect. After writing this post, I am realizing just how far off track I’ve gotten in my own self-care routine. But every step you take to care for yourself, is a step towards caring better for those around you.
Unlike society’s idea that self-care is self-indulgent nonsense, these things will actually improve your mood, up your energy level, and further your health journey. You’ll actually feel better, be better, and do better.