It’s been yet another long night. You pour the coffee and by the time you need to press it down, its getting cold and very strong. There’s been a stack of towels emptied from the bathroom cupboard and your three year old is on her third outfit of the day.
You boil the water for some tea, hoping the caffeine will help you keep up with the energy levels of your four year old. They seem to be non-ending and in fact, grow stronger as yours slowly disappears.
Or your baby won’t stop crying unless she is being held by you so you set her carseat in the bathroom and have a shower. With a good cry yourself.
You know this is a season. That one day you will wish for the sweet moments again but some days the meltdowns outweigh the sweet moments.
You know you need a break, to take some time to care for yourself, but you don’t know how to make that happen.
Can we have an honest talk? Over some virtual, always hot coffee ?
It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated but, friend, it does need to happen.
When I go too long without taking care of myself, I break. I have used up my reserve and life becomes very overwhelming, very fast. This last year I used up all of my reserve and am slowly building it back up again. This post started as a list for myself of things I want to do again and I thought that maybe some of you could use a similar list.
I have five simple go-tos that I try to incorporate into our weekly schedule. When I am taken care of, I can then take care of all that I need too. Call it self-care, call it mother-yourself, call it whatever you need too. And make it happen. Not as yet another thing to add to your list but as something that will enable you to better tackle that list.
Take a hot bath (or shower) with an essential oil (lavender is my favourite) or bubble bath. Light some candles or read a book, reminding yourself to let everything go. You may need to push the bath toys out of the way or light the candles so that you don’t see the messy bathroom. Once a week, for half an hour- its doable and affordable.
Take a break. Brew yourself a cup of your favourite beverage and give yourself fifteen minutes to just sit and sip. Try it twice a day or just before the crazy hour of prepping supper and getting ready for bed. Save a special snack for the kiddos to have at this time.
Get out of the house by yourself. Or with your little baby, if you need too. Get a simple coffee or tea, journal a few words, read a few pages or just sit in the quiet.
Have a few go-to outfits that you love. It’s much easier to get dressed when you don’t have to think about the process. I’ve shared about my ‘uniform’ here and did a capsule wardrobe over the summer. I’m hoping to share a few of my go-to outfits in the next couple of weeks.
It’s okay to say no. To finishing the Whole30, to hosting and organizing a Christmas cookie swap, to multiple playdates/outings in one week. Or to anything else that is just too much for you. This is an intense season of raising littles for me, maybe for you too. Or maybe it’s an intense time at work or parenting older children. Sometimes getting up and making it to the end of the day is a big accomplishment on its own, know your own limits and strengths.
Interact with other people
One of the most long-lasting ways I can care for myself and my family is to interact with other mums, other families, and other friends who aren’t mums. We have invigorating conversation at the library while our littles play together, we share food and good words while also feeding our children. The conversations carry on throughout the week as I read a book that was recommended or try a new recipe or way of doing something. Hosting friends for dinner makes me tidy the house, put together a fun menu and wear something nice. Picking up the phone to text or call a friend reminds me that I’m not alone. It’s a deliberate seeking out of encouragement and then also to give an encouraging word.
There’s so much more I could say but for now, let’s care for ourselves so that we can better care for those around us.
Do you practice self-care? What are your go-tos?