Being a mom is no walk in the park. Behind the seamless blog posts about finishing up meal prep for the week are a messy kitchen, a screaming baby, and the looming deadlines for that work projects. Amidst the chaos, our time for self is discarded to the point that we can feel like we’re going to snap at any moment. That’s not the best situation for you or those around you.
My mom was no exception to such chaos. She’s worked at the same company for over 30 years–working her way up to be the CFO. She dropped out of college when she had my brother, but when I was in high school, she finished up her bachelor’s degree and went on to get her master’s. On top of that, she’s planned, hosted, and directed more community activities than I can remember.
Despite everything my mom took on, I never felt second best. I think, at least in part, that’s because every now and then she took the time to breathe and take care of herself. She maintained balance by making sure her sanity was a priority. Self-care for her was never anything huge. It was always a little something in the chaos of every day that allowed her some space to breathe. That’s helped me find balance in adulthood, and I think there are ways we can each find our own time to breathe in the busyness of our lives. Here we’ll discuss just a few–pamper night, simple spontaneity, and online shopping.
Downtime is rare in the life of a mom. Between deciding on schools and creating spreadsheets, it seems the day has begun and finished before we’ve had time to take a single breath. Downtime might seem like a thing of legend to us, but it can be a reality if we make it a priority. How we each make it happen is up to us, but happen it must.
Once we’ve made downtime happen, a great way to utilize it is to have a pamper night–a night where we make our home a spa. This can look different to different women, depending on their preferences. Face masks are a great option because there’s one for everything. And while you’re waiting for your face mask to do its thing, you can focus on those nails you’ve been neglecting. It’s amazing what clean and painted nails can do for our mental health. The repetition of painting them can help your mind just go wherever it wants–providing you with some self-reflective therapy you might not even realize you need. Put on your favorite playlist, sit back, and let the day go.
If you do need to involve the kids, all hope is not lost. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do for my mom was painting her nails or playing with her hair. While her skin might have received more color than her nails and her hair might have been a little frizzier afterward, she still got some personal care and I felt like I had done something for my Supermom. Make it fun by having them make DIY face masks or letting them choose a fun song to dance away whatever is weighing you down. The kids will have a blast, you’ll be getting pampered, and everyone will unwind from the stress of the day.
Sometimes it can go against mom code to purposely do something spontaneous. Chaos ensues no matter how hard we try, but that doesn’t mean we don’t hope for and meticulously organize the order and routine we want to have throughout our day’s activities. Often, what we need is to embrace the chaos and even contribute to it. Some of the best memories I have are the times my mom decided to leave the office to take me out of school for a 2-hour lunch or the days she decided we needed a day trip to wherever the road took us.
Spontaneity does not have to be anything too far out of our comfort zones. It can mean getting ice cream on the way to picking up our kids from school. It can mean going grocery shopping and stopping at the nearby mall to window shop for ourselves. It’s taking a moment to live outside of the ordinary, to take a break from the monotony that we might find ourselves enveloped in. This can be such a simple, yet crucial way to help our kids understand balance in life. They will see that work, structure, and stress should not be the center of our world.
Often, even more difficult than finding time for ourselves is finding time to get everything done that we need to in a day. As moms, there are so many things that need to happen, we inevitably lose track of some of those things. We forget to buy laundry detergent during our run to the store, we forget shoes as we’re rushing the kids to school, and sometimes we might even forget the kids. Luckily, we live in a world where some of those forgotten things can be retrieved through the miracle of online shopping.
Every item we could ever need–from ingredients for dinner to filing cabinets for the office–is at our fingertips within the worldwide web. But shopping online doesn’t have to be all work. While looking for the lost items of the day, don’t feel like you can’t do a little shopping for yourself. I have a distinct memory of when I was about 13 and my mom had the daunting realization that she hadn’t bought any new clothes since 1988 (about two decades ago at this point). She went straight to the computer to see how she could remedy the situation.
Don’t wait two decades to invest in your wardrobe or anything else in your life that you’ve neglected. If it’s against your nature to indulge in those nice earrings you’ve been coveting, be more practical and buy a couple of mommy-friendly tees. Online shopping minimizes the wear on your mental health by cutting out crowds and fussy kids and giving the satisfaction of checking things off your list.
There are so many things that go on in the lives of a mom, and in the midst of trying to make it all work, we often lose ourselves. It’s a scary thing to just let go of every item on your to-do list that you’re holding on to, but loosening your grip will do much more than relieve your own psyche. Your kids will notice your relief. They’ll see you taking time for yourself as you let go and let loose during a pamper night. They’ll learn the importance of a little fun as you incorporate some spontaneity into the structure of the everyday. They may even learn resourcefulness as they see you utilizing online shopping.
Your kids see you day in and day out–you are their most present example. Set one that will ensure they understand the importance of caring for others while not losing themselves in the process. Let things go a little more so that they can understand the importance of loving themselves a little more.
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