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Self Care is Selfish: Here’s Why That’s Okay

Maybe you’ve envisioned yourself being a mother since you were a kid yourself, maybe
motherhood came unexpectedly; whether through birth, adoption, fostering, etc.; kid in hand
you’ve gone through the biggest transformation of your life. Motherhood, a title filled with
expectations from everyone, mainstream society, your partner, extended family, and heck even
strangers in grocery stores, and while you know deep down there’s no one right way to be a
parent, you’re not stressing the New Year, new you. You’re still the same old you and you’re
stressed.
So let’s talk mom guilt, self-care, and how 2021 is finally the year you stop neglecting yourself,
because, ready? The reality is, yes, taking care of yourself is selfish. You have to set aside time
to do it. But taking care of yourself makes you a better you.

Makes you a better mom.
Motherhood isn’t a one and done experience. It’s a constant. Daily. No one day the same. No
days off. You learn something new, every day, and just when you think you’ve got it all figured
out, a growth spurt, a stomach bug, a project no one told you about until the night before it was
due. Juggling motherhood, marriage, work, and friendships are hard enough, now you’re also
supposed to find time for yourself? And not feel guilty about perfect all the time. Why is it so hard to
let go of that perfect mom ideal? Why does it feel wrong to take care of you?
Mom guilt. You know the voice that constantly says you’ve lost your cool too many times, you
weren’t present enough, they didn’t learn enough today. You spend all day, every day, taking
care of someone else, and it still feels like you could have done more. That feeling.
Not eating? Not sleeping? Not taking care of you? It’s not sustainable. Learn to be selfish. For
your kids. For your spouse. For you.
If you’re not in a place where you can get help from babysitters, extended family, or friends
here are some at home small ways to care of yourself, with a big impact.

Eat Something
To be honest, how many times did you just eat whatever your toddler had left on their plate and call
it a meal. Your kids are living their best life…there are so many amazing foods being constantly
prepared for them by their personal chef and yet you still somehow feel guilty taking time to
make something for yourself? No more!
Depending on where you are in your season of Motherhood, it might be completely unrealistic
for you to eat 3 full meals every day; but what you can do is, instead of skipping a meal, keep an
RXBAR handy. In a diaper bag, on your nightstand, in the bathroom, if you have to. RXBAR is a
real food protein bar with nutritious, simple ingredients: egg whites, fruits, and nuts. Each bar is
gluten-free and contains high-quality protein from egg whites. Talk about guilt-free.
You’ll find, much like your kids, the hungrier you are the crankier you get. So feed those bellies.
All of them. They’re perfect for breakfast on the go, as protein-packed snack bars. And if you
need more convincing, protein is great for milk production and helps increase dopamine (the feel-good hormone) naturally. See how fast your mood and patience improves from yummy egg
whites, dates, and a few other simple ingredients.

Dance It Out
Toddlers always have a way of spilling something or coloring on furniture when you’re in the
worst mood already. Not their fault. Developmentally, kids are right on track, even during the
hard stuff, but wow, food messes can be so triggering. Instead of blowing your top, try leaving
the room, screaming in the coat closet. They’re trying their best. Just like you. For those really
hard days, play Baby Shark and dance. it. out.
Unabashedly dancing around the living room or kitchen is proven to work. Just ask science. You,
that’s right. There’s a scientific reason dancing reduces stress. Dancing causes your body to
release endorphins. Endorphins serve as the body’s natural way to reduce stress and improve the
mind’s perception of the world. They also aid in improving the quality of sleep. For those of you
who didn’t frequent a dance club in your pre-mom years, this all just means dancing makes you
happy. Happy people make for happy parents.

Do Something For You
Even if it’s after the kids are asleep. Even if it’s for half an hour. Watch that show you wouldn’t
admit to anyone you actually enjoy. Read a book that doesn’t have to do with parenting. Do a
screen-free activity with your partner. Take a shower in the dark. Eat your dinner in the bathtub.
Scroll through Instagram. Go to bed early (*gasp*).
Anything. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be outside the house. It just has to be
something for you.
Airplanes have you put your Oxygen on before helping someone next to you for a reason. You
have to take care of yourself to take care of others, even if it feels foreign, even if it starts as small as
making sure you’re fed every day. Watch how quickly, seemingly, little things make a big
difference.

By Guest Blogger: Rachel Steinmetz (@mamatoafox)

The Family Bed (CLC, Sibling and Postpartum Doula)

February 9th, 2021

 

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