7 self-care tips for busy moms
There are generally two kinds of mothers found in Filipino households: the full-time mom, who stays home and devotes most of her day looking after her kids and caring for their needs; and the career-oriented mom who, despite her responsibilities at work, still tries her best to spend as much quality time with her children and to make sure that their needs are met.
Both moms have long days—and in some cases, sleepless nights—ahead of them, and both moms need time to relax and doses of self-care.
Self-care for women is often associated with solo travel, going to the salon for a makeover, or the spa for a massage. And so, most mothers would place self-care at the bottom of their list of priorities with the impression that self-care is a luxury that takes too much valuable time away from the kids.
What most mothers don’t realize is that they can still enjoy self-care even if they’re so busy they barely have time to step out of the house or to have a haircut. What most mothers don’t realize is all mothers need self-care, regardless of how many kids they have or how packed their schedules are. Self-care, especially for tired mothers, is essential.
Even Former VJ, TV host, and model, and Glam-O-Mamas founder Amanda Griffin-Jacob, who is now a happily married mother of 4, was alien to the concept of self-care on her first few years into motherhood.
“At that time I just wanted to be with my boys all the time and wanted to be the ‘perfect mom.’ That was my sole purpose and dedication,” said Amanda in an interview with Rappler.
By the time she had her third child, however, she started asking herself, “Where am I in this equation?” While she loved being a mom, she also felt disconnected from herself as an individual.
When her daughter was two and a half years old, Amanda went on her first ever vacation with her husband from the time she had gotten pregnant with their eldest. That vacation was the self-care she needed, and it proved to be helpful for Amanda.
“I realized I’m actually better as their mother because I’m more fulfilled.”
Self-care could take different forms. Depending on the person, it could be something that requires thorough planning like a long-deserved vacation (as in Amanda’s case) or something basic like getting extra hours of sleep.
Amanda explains, “Self-care is about feeding your soul, however or whatever that may be. Because when you’re healthy inside and out, you are a better mother, wife, and person.”
During Glam-O-Mamas’ event last January 26 at The Wholesome Table in Salcedo Village, Makati, Amanda and her longtime friend and also the restaurant’s owner, Bianca Araneta-Elizalde, shared easy and convenient ways for mothers to practice self-care.
Allow yourself to have me time
Me time could be something as simple as meditating for a few minutes, having a few quiet moments while sipping a cup of tea or coffee before everybody else enters the kitchen, or grabbing a book and picking up where you left off. It doesn’t necessarily have to be costly – it just has to give you the chance to recharge.
Spend time with your girlfriends
Having a trusted support network gives you a venue to talk about interests and concerns that you’re not prepared to discuss with your kids or your partner. It also gives you the opportunity to air out frustrations and get weight off your chest. You can get much-needed advice, but if you don’t, at least you’re in good company.
If you can’t leave the kids and don’t have the time to chat with your friends at a café or over a few glasses of sangria, here’s a suggestion: organize a playdate and invite your closest girlfriends and their little one. Plan activities that will keep the children preoccupied as you trade stories and laughter with your friends. And don’t forget the food!
Feed your mind
Ask yourself: what excites you, other than your children? Is there something new that you’d like to learn? Finish reading that book you've been skimming for weeks. Learn how to cook foreign cuisine. If you don’t have time to go to culinary school, look for resources online. Take an online course if can. Explore and learn.
“Your mind should be fully engaged in what’s happening now,” Amanda points out.
Most parents are so preoccupied with so many things—planning the next meal, thinking of what to bring to the next family gathering, and even preparing for the distant future. That’s perfectly fine, as long as you don’t get too caught up worrying about everything to the point that it make you anxious.
Anxiety limits your level of concentration, making it difficult for you to focus on matters that require your immediate attention. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I have to worry about everything now, or are there things that can wait until tomorrow?”
Learn to say “no”
When you’re a parent, every minute spent with your children is special, and every second you’re away from them is precious. You might as well be very particular with who and what you spend your precious time on.
It’s okay to go and have drinks with friends every so often and or to go on excursions and overseas trips without your kids. But you don’t have to say yes to every single invitation and attend every single one of these activities. Choose only ones that are worth your precious time and that won’t compromise all the other plans you’ve made.
Say “no” if need be, and don’t feel guilty about it. This also applies to favor requests thrown your way that you aren't comfortable with. You can always refuse.
Get enough exercise
Your doctor, gym instructor, and your child’s P.E. teacher all agree: exercise is good for the body. Working out releases endorphins, and endorphins help relieve stress and make you feel good.
It’s difficult for some moms to squeeze in a workout session at the gym or a jog around the oval given their already packed schedules. However, it’ll be difficult to come up with a valid excuse for not exercising when you know that there are online videos and apps which can take you through exercise routines that take as little as 25 minutes a day. You won’t even have to leave your living room.
“Just pencil it in as you would pencil in a doctor’s appointment,” says Amanda.
Get proper nutrition
At the beginning of her talk, Bianca hushed the crowd by saying, “If you’re not feeling well, you can’t mother properly.”
Such a strong statement, but true. The body responds to whatever food or substance we put in it. Our diet has a direct effect on our well-being. You are what you eat, as they say.
And while it’s hard to resist sinful delicacies and hearty buffets, it won’t hurt to consider lighter, healthier, yet palatable options. Eating fresh, healthy, and organic is never a bad idea.
During the event, new additions to The Wholesome Table’s menu were introduced. Among these were the Vegan Cheese Chakra Salad, Yogi Bowl, and Poke Bowl. Berry Chia Pudding was served for dessert. Everything was organic.
No matter how busy you are or how many children you have, self-care, is important. Love yourself a little. Make time for it. – Rappler.com