Taking time off work for vacations and to recharge has become a completely acceptable (and necessary!) practice. Yet, taking time off (or even just rearranging our busy schedules) for ourselves, as women, remains low on our priority lists. Forget public shaming of any kind; the internalized guilt over taking focus away from our homes, our kids and our significant others can be absolutely crushing. Sure, family outings, events and trips are fun and provide an opportunity to connect and bond with your children and spouse. But what about connecting to yourself?
Why self care is important
It’s easy to forget who you are and what you love outside your roll as a mom. There are so many wonderful things about being a mom – so much to enjoy and experience while your kids grow and become the individuals they truly are. But what happens when they grow up and start building their own lives? Sure, you’ll always be their mom, but will you remember who you were beyond that role?
Self-care is an important part of staying in touch with who you are beyond your titles of mom and partner.
What is self care?
Self care is an easy phrase to throw around but a much harder concept to put into meaningful action. Caring for yourself means taking time to pursue your passions and reconnecting with yourself on a more intimate level. Taking time to care for yourself isn’t just about grabbing a glass of wine with friends or reading a book in the tub. Those things are fine, but they’re more like hitting a pause button than doing a full reset.
We need a full reset to be able to “fill our cup,” so to speak. Just like taking vacation from your job, taking a “vacation” from your domestic responsibilities helps in reducing stress and increasing your overall health and wellbeing.
You may think your weekly SoulCycle class is all the freedom you need. But when you find yourself snapping at the dog for wanting to be pet, or threatening to lock yourself in the bathroom so everyone will stop asking you where their shoes are or what’s for dinner, it’s a sign you are running on empty. That’s not to say weekly exercise classes aren’t helpful, but to reconnect with who you are and what being you is all about, you’ve got to go deeper.
The very thought of that may send panic through you. You might be thinking that you can’t even remember what life was like before the whirlwind of kids and work and being a partner consumed your every waking moment. If the thought scares you, that means you need to focus on self care even more. It may also mean you need to loosen your grip and start trusting others to take care of some daily duties. Again, if these thoughts scare you, you need this even more than you realize.
How to care for yourself
So, how do you go deeper and reconnect with yourself? Think of it like this: you love reading and read every night before bed, right? That’s awesome! Now take it a step further and join a book club (one that actually reads and discusses the books and doesn’t just turn into a gossip fest or weekly wine night), or find a local writing group and try your hand at writing your own stories.
Maybe your favorite mental escape is watching videos of cats on the internet? Jump on board, learn about video filming and editing (there are tons of free classes and you’d be shocked at what you can do with just a smartphone and wifi) and start your own cute cat video channel.
Or maybe you constantly reminisce about the time you and your best friend road tripped along the coast, eating at greasy spoons and watching the sunset in the sideview mirror. Plan a new adventure, even if it’s just by yourself for a weekend. The kids will be just fine while you’re gone. It might be scary, and you may hit that reserve link with a shaky hand, but you can do it.
- Identify your hobbies
- Explore new interests
- Reignite old passions
- Let go of limitations
- Don’t let fear hold you back
Take care of you
All the cliches are true no matter how much we want to scoff at them. You’re a better mom when you take time for yourself. You’re a better partner when you know who you are as an individual and embrace yourself as your own entity first and part of a couple second. Taking time to care for yourself, to let your passions flourish and explore your dreams, is essential to functioning at your best in every capacity of your life. Now put on your big girl pants and do something invigorating for yourself, because life moves fast, and you don’t want to lose yourself in the shuffle.
Ready to relax? Treat yourself to some of these pampering products for an at-home spa day -- you deserve it!