As a mother of three children under three, one of the most popular questions I get is how I practice self-care. While I am not the best at it, I have gotten a lot better than I used to be.
Before having children, I would have laughed had someone told me I would have to retrain my brain to take care of myself. I thought I had it down. I knew how to take a spa day or get a massage. You don’t have to tell me twice! Then I experienced the insanity of bringing infant twins’ home and all of the self-care awareness I had went out the window.
By the twins’ first birthday, I was burnt out. I was pregnant with my third child and my entire being centered around my kids. Being pregnant, I knew it was time for me to start thinking of my future child’s welfare by caring for myself. I could no longer do some of the self-care things that I had done in the past. Gone were the days of the weekend getaway with the husband or the daylong spa day, as I didn’t have time or the expendable income to afford these things.
So, I had to reassess what I knew about self-care.
It wasn’t something elaborately planned – it was simply something that had the potential to bring me joy while in the thick of twin toddlerhood and an exhausting pregnancy. In turn, this would benefit my growing family exponentially, as care for myself affects my ability to “mom.”
It has taken some practice, but today, my son is 1 and my twins are 2.5 years old. I’d like to share the ways I continue to practice self-care. Maybe it will inspire mothers to take some time for themselves, even when it feels impossible to do so!
- Going back to work. One of the best things I ever did for my family was go back to work full-time. As an extrovert who often felt suffocated by the complexities of motherhood, I found that working outside the home gave me professional purpose and allowed me to be more present for my children. I love missing them because when I get home, there are loads of tickles, cuddles, and playtime.
- Essential oils. Whether they work or not – I’ll let you decide. However, for me, I have begun to rely on them daily for own my self-care. Diffusing relaxing oils before bed help me unwind and center me in a way I didn’t know was possible.
- Eating a frozen treat. After the kids go to bed, I tend to be a glutton to ice cream or frozen fruit – even on cold winter nights. After particularly rough nights, sometimes it’s a small Ben and Jerry’s carton or just a bite – but it fuels my soul.
- Listening to NPR. Sometimes, I am too busy to know what is going on in the world. While some might find it stressful to listen to all the craziness in the news these days, I find it so refreshing to hear news and stories about topics outside of potty training and diapers.
- Working out. I don’t do a great job at this, but I try. Getting even 20 minutes on the elliptical during my lunch break is enough for me to work out the day’s issues.
- Waking up early. I enjoy warm coffee. I don’t get to drink warm coffee when my kids are around, as I forget I am drinking coffee. Do you relate? Waking up early allows me to wake up fully, drink my coffee, and get ready for the day without all the crazy.
- Building the best music playlist. Spotify playlists are my jam. I love to have multiple playlists for my mood each day. Sometimes it’s an inspiring Taylor Swift’s “ME!” kind of day… while other days require Metallica’s fury.
- Taking a hot shower. Anytime I need a reset on the weekends when spending the entire day with twin terrors and an infant… a hot shower helps me reset! If my husband isn’t around, I just bring the kids into the bathroom with me. They can last at least five minutes with fishy crackers… just saying.
- Taking a walk. Whether it’s with my kids and the triple stroller or at work during my lunch break – taking a few laps lets me blow off some steam and helps me reset!
- Writing. During my postpartum depression period, I found that writing some of my feelings down really helped me work through my emotions and was another form of self-care. Even today, writing makes me feel alive and inspires me in new ways I didn’t know was possible.
There you have it; my personal recommendations on self-care while also being a mother to three young, crazy children. While I don’t get to practice each individual one every day, I try to find a way to do a little something for myself so that I can be the best mom I can be for my kiddos.