One of the family goals that we set at the beginning of each year maybe a little bit selfish, it doesn't seem to reflect on the family but as the keystone to the family the mother, mom, mum is the one that holds it in place. So we're kicking off a series on Rainy Day Mum looking at Self Care for busy Mum's written by a new contributor here at Rainy Day Mum Mirrie, an amazing photographer, self-love coach and someone I am blessed to call a friend. For the next few months, she will be taking us through self-care and mindfulness in everyday living that busy mum's can actually do. So I hand it over to her.
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After I gave birth to my first son I remember so many people telling me I needed to take care of myself. It had been a particularly rough birth, we had just moved house and duh I had a newborn! Self-care was the last thing on my mind. I remember if I got dressed, managed to brush my hair or even made it out of the house without sick marks on my top (!) then I felt like I was doing really well. I also didn’t really know what true self-care actually is and it seems it’s something we are not really taught.
Now, I’m 35weeks pregnant, two kids under 6, teenage step kids, my own business and writing a book. Self-care should seem even more impossible. But true self-care has become so important to me now, I see it as an essential part of my everyday life. I know that when the new baby comes it will difficult to fit it in but really it's unnegotiable.
You may be thinking at this point:
“This woman is nuts. I’m a busy mum; I’m barely managing to scrape through the day, I haven’t got time to think about this!”
Also on Instagram and Facebook #selfcare has become a bit of a buzz word. It’s used to describe anything from having a bubble bath, going to the gym to eating a whole load of chocolate!
But What is true self-care and why is it so important?
What is True Self-care?
Self-care can be broken down into two basic categories: Basic Needs and The Stuff that “fills your cup”
Our basic needs are being clean, fed, clothed, and connecting with other people.
Filling your cup is anything that you enjoy, makes you feel good, feel fulfilled, inspired and just plain old having fun.
Sometimes these needs cross over, sometimes all we can manage is just to cover our basic needs.
Self-care (contrary to what we may have been taught growing up or even now) doesn’t have anything to do with looking better (although if doing those things fills your cup then go for it, there is no wrong or right way to do it) it means treating your body and mind like you love yourself and like your needs and enjoyment really matters.
So why is self-care so important for busy mums?
Firstly, self-care is your first step to self-love; and self-love makes everything in your life lighter and easier, so that makes self-care pretty important for that point alone. You could never fall in love with someone who treats you like dirt and never gives you any reason to smile or feel happy. So, you can’t love yourself without treating yourself like you deserve to be taken care of.
Secondly, you deserve your needs to be met just as much as everyone else in your home. Maybe even more so. As a mum, you are constantly giving and normally you are looking after so many things and so many people it’s easy to forget yourself, but if you fall down, everything falls down. So, by filling yourself up you are making sure you can look after your family too.
Thirdly, your kids are watching everything you do. I’m not saying having a PJ day and sitting in your pants eating noodles is going to scar your kids forever, but the only way your children are going to learn about self-care (and self-love for that matter) is from your actions. When it comes to how you treat yourself words are pretty useless, children learn how to look after themselves, treat themselves, spend money on themselves and yes (you’ve guessed it) how to love themselves from the way they see you and other adults they love and admire DO the same.
Why do you think there are so many women whose mothers told them they are worthy of love and constantly told them to look after themselves or be confident but their core beliefs, now they are older are still that they are unworthy of love? We learn this stuff from how we saw our parents act towards themselves, what they said matters but what we saw them do is where our deep beliefs stem from.
Lastly, without self-care, we are literally running on empty. How can we keep giving if there’s nothing left to give? Looking after ourselves is essential because we spend most of our lives giving to other people and our kids.
But how can we fit it in when our lives are always so busy?
Like I said before when you have a newborn it can feel like you are in survival mode. This is when self-care as a mum feels almost impossible but it’s still so important. In order to practice self-care when you have a helpless little human dependant on you 24/7, you are going to have to ask for help.
Reach out to your partner, your mum, doula or a good friend. Just ask! You are worthy of getting a little help so that you can look after yourself just a little bit. Even 5 minutes for someone to hold the baby while you lose yourself in a bubble bath or meditate could make all the difference.
When the kids get a little older, there are still time restrictions because of work, school runs, housework etc. It might seem like there is always something more important that you need to be doing (or “should” be doing). BUT make self-care a priority. Apart from having your kids fed, clean and loved, you come next! Your mental & physical health is more important than housework or cleaning out the fridge.
Enjoy your self-care guilt free!
There are self-care activities that you can also do both with & without the children so it worth exploring these and I'll be sharing some of those next time so if you want to get details then sign up for our LIVING with kids newsletters and we'll be sharing ideas and activities regularly with you.
When should I practice Self-care?
I feel like it's extra important to prioritise time for you when:
- You have lots of outside stresses
- You feel ill or run down
- You feel overwhelmed
- Your inner voice is putting your down
But it’s also important to make time for some sort of self-care action in your everyday routine. Remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes even just 5 minutes can make a difference to your day, your health and the way your kids will love themselves when they’re all grown up too.
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