Changing the Conversation Around Self-Care for Mothers

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Changing the Conversation Around Self-Care for Mothers

Today I took a 30-minute nap with my 2yo at 1 o clock in the afternoon. I didn’t feel bad about it. I did, however, feelmore rested when I woke up. Later in the day, when my toddler was yelling at me like a dictator, I simply shut the door to her room and waltzed away from her down the hallway. I just knew if I had to hear her perfect little voice shriek “I don’t want to!” one more time I would scream back. Like, actually scream.

We put on Doc McStuffins Sunday morning for 45 minutes while me and daddy got a little extra sleep because #Sunday. Plus the new baby will be here before we know it and he/she won’t give a crap about Doc McStuffins and there will be no more “sleeping in” for a couple years that will feel like decades.

Oh, and when my daughter pooped in her pants for the second time in a row the other day, I simply said, “Babe, please take this one. I just don’t want to.” Even though I was standing right next to said poopy pants and hubs was reclining on a couch eating his dinner.

I think we should just start calling self-care SANITY. We’ve gotta reframe this whole self-care discussion because to the mothers I’ve met and/or worked with it feels like another thing they’re sucking at or something for the rich and famous.

I take care of my sanity so I can better serve my family. So yes, that means I take care of MYSELF so I can have snuggles and loving words and patience and disciplining and gentle boundaries and marital affection (I could go on and on) at the ready.

Sometimes, when I feel like I’m trying and failing to work and parent at the same time and then taking that frustration out on my toddler or producing crappy work, I pay a sitter $30 to come for the afternoon. Self-care.

The days I’m exhausted or distracted or grumpy as hell, I happily ask my partner to step in, even if it was his turn last or I already got one “pass” that day. Because he knows I’ll carry more weight another day. Self-care.

When my daughter says “play with me!” for the 57th time in a row on a Wednesday afternoon and I’m finally (finally!) dusting the corners of her room where the spiders live and dust bunnies trade secrets, I simply say, “No.” Because how often does this mommy prioritize cleaning those corners you hope guests won’t notice? I’d say quarterly. How many times a day does daughter get all my undivided attention? I can’t count. I don’t want to. You do the math. An hour later, she’s forgotten about it when she’s pouring glitter all over the floor, (I mean making a masterpiece) and I’m by her side. I give when I can and also when I don’t want to and sometimes I say no without guilt, because self-care.

Did you know that working mothers today spend more time with their children than homemakers did in 1965? Perspective = sanity. Sanity = self-care.

Why do we choose not to trust our own judgment when we become mothers? Why do we get so nervous we might be doing things differently than that other mom? Why do we all want to be the same, when being different is what makes us human beings and not robots?

I’d like to propose we change the conversation around self-care. At this point, from where I stand, we seem very far from convincing mamas to hand the kids over for a day to hit the spa. We can barely deem ourselves worthy of a girls’ night, let alone a day to ourselves. Any time we spend money on ourselves, we have been brainwashed to feel guilty. Any time we make a choice that makes US happy, we have been misled into believing we are somehow sacrificing our children’s happiness.

I’d like to start calling BS and gifting us back, well, OURSELVES.

Let’s bring the self-care conversation back to it’s earliest roots. Taking care of ourselves so you don’t go totally insane. That is the point, right? Do what makes you feel sane at least 70% of the time and just see how you start to feel. Let’s call THAT self-care. Ask yourself what you want, need or desire when you can’t find the joy in the chaos anymore. Let’s call that self-care. Trust yourself when you walk away or push back or lean in or make a mess or do anything that seems judge-worthy on Instagram, and let’s call THAT self-care because, girlfriend - taking care of our outsides only happens after we practice taking care of our insides. And our mind, heart and soul need to be mothered and cared for just as much as our little ones’.



Gervase Kolmos, mama, wife, Shiny Happy Human and Certified Life Coach for Moms helps mothers embrace beautiful messy motherhood through private coaching, a Mom's Night Off and online courses at Shiny. Happy. Human.

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