I am switching gears a little bit today and talking about something that I think is so important for us mamas, but often gets overlooked! Today I want to share my thoughts on the importance of self care and staying connected to your passions- the things that make you YOU!
I love being a mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world. But being a mom is a full time job and can be all-consuming. Like all moms, I love my kids to bits and want to do the best by them.
Even though I have my share of mom fails, I can honestly say that I try my very best. I spend a great deal of time and effort to make sure my kids are happy, healthy and know they are loved. And all of these things make me a good mom, this I know.
But there are 2 other things that make me a good mom, albeit inadvertently.
The first is self care. I learned the importance of this when studying to be an art therapist. Our teachers stressed the importance of self care and taught us that we wouldn’t be able to give to our clients if “our baskets were empty”, meaning you have to give to yourself first before you can give to others. Kinda like on the airplane when they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. Just like taking care of yourself is an important part of being a good therapist, it’s even more important for moms. We are constantly giving to our families, most of the time without even thinking about it.
There are two “acts of self care” I do pretty consistently and have done since Kallum was a baby. The first is making sure to take at least a half an hour every afternoon to have a quiet cup of tea. I usually pair this with a cookie or a few squares of chocolate.
This little break is what I need to keep me going through until bedtime. I have learned that no matter how old your kids are, from babies to teens – the late afternoon/dinnertime/bedtime stretch is exhausting! Making sure I take a tiny break mid-afternoon is what I need to get me through that part of the day. If I don’t take a little time out for myself and re-charge my batteries, I feel cranky and short tempered – not very enjoyable for me or my family! When I am rested and recharged, I am better able to handle any curve balls that come my way and I am a more patient and calm Mama. Once we have made it through our hectic evenings – which when your kids are in school can be crazy- then it’s time for my second almost daily act of self-care…a good long soak in the tub!
I don’t always make this happen, but whenever possible, I take a bath and read a book. I usually time this between tucking my girls into bed. After Stella has gone to sleep, I hop in the tub while Sadie reads to herself.
Follow your passions
I would equate these acts of self care described above to ‘basic maintenance’. Related to this, but I would say next level, is staying connected to those interests and passions that define who you are. For some people it’s sports or exercise and for others maybe it’s something creative. Or maybe it’s both! Remember before you became a mom, there was this thing called “free time”? Before you spent your Saturdays driving kids to activities and standing on the sidelines of some sporting event, what did you do with yourself? Often times we as moms get so caught up in fostering our kids passions and interests, it’s easy to forget about our own!
I think that showing your kids that you have passions and interests and taking care of yourself is good modeling. One of my favorite things about being a mom is seeing my kids share in my interests. I would say that I share a love and passion for animals with Kallum and Stella and this is one of the ways that I connect with them.
Sadie and I both love to dance. Watching her perform brings me so much joy!
3 years ago now, I started taking adult tap and jazz classes at Sadie’s dance school. I have taken dance classes off and on, purely as a form of recreation, for years now. As you may have seen on instagram, for the third year in a row, I participated in the year end recital this past Friday night. We tapped to “Footloose” and it was so much fun! Well, it was terrifying in the moment and I think I forgot half of the steps, but still fun!
Sharing this experience with Sadie just fills my heart, and I know it is special for her too! Hopefully this will be a bridge for us when we get to those dreaded teen years and she hates me…LOL!
I know that we are all busy and adulting is a time consuming business that comes with tons of responsibility… but I want to encourage all moms to make time for themselves and stay connected to that essential thing that brings you joy!
Sometimes I struggle with guilt about making time for myself…but I know first hand the difference between a happy and healthy mom vs. a burned out and over-tired one! The dishes can wait, believe me they will still be there when you finish that cup of tea or bath! They are just going to get dirty again anyway! If you don’t already practice self care, I hope this post has maybe inspired you to make a little time for yourself and pursue your passion, whatever that may be! I would love to hear what you do to take care of yourself and how you stay connected to those passions that excite you!