Why Self-Care Is Important For Moms
Everything Changes When You Have A Child
For as long as I can remember, I dreamt of being a mom. I had visions of life as a stay at home mom and feeding, holding and loving my future children circling my mind for years before my first son Daniel was born. Then, in the early morning hours of a warm September day in 2004, he came into the world and my dreaming became my reality. I was a mom. My husband was a dad. We were parents and we started a new chapter of my life.
The first sign that things were going to be a lot different than I had imagined appeared when it came time to breastfeed. I had always assumed that Daniel would come out of the womb an expert, but I struggled quite a bit when he first arrived. Nursing was taking up so much time that I began to feel like I didn’t have any time for myself.
I started to cringe when I knew he would need to eat. I wanted to breastfeed him so badly but I hated that I struggled with wanting to do so. I was also so tired. My husband would find me and him passed out when he got home around 5 because I just couldn’t make it through the day without taking a nap. There was literally no time to do anything but take care of my new baby.
Then one night, I figured out I could read while I nursed Daniel, and everything began to turn around. When he woke up in the middle of the night I had a little flashlight and my book right there. I would get him started and was then able to read my book. I have always been a big reader and being able to continue doing that as a new mom felt like a breath of fresh air, and really helped me cope with all the changes I was going through as I got used to being a mom and having a small baby to take care of.
From then on I made sure to find ways to read every day because I noticed how much happier it made me, and how much more I liked the way I showed up as a mom and a partner when I was doing the things that I loved. When Daniel and my other children, Drew and Joshua were babies, I could find time while they nursed. As they got older, I could do so while they played or when I took them to the park.
You Don’t Have To Give Up Your Hobbies
I hear moms say that they don’t have time for themselves or that moms can’t have hobbies. I have asked other moms what they like to do for fun and they laugh and say, “Oh, I am a mom, I don’t have time for myself.” Hearing that moms feel like they don’t have a right to have their own wants or desires makes me sad because I remember how I felt when I had the same perspective. I want them to know that with some planning they can spend time on their own hobbies and when they do they will be creating a better life for themselves. I also want them to know how much richer their experience of motherhood could be if they just made taking care of their own wants and needs a priority.
As moms we can be harder on ourselves then we need to be. We want to give our children everything and sometimes we think that means we have to give them 110% of ourselves, which can really backfire and make us less present and available during some of the most cherished times of our lives.
Finding Time For Yourself Can Be Difficult
At times, it’s been difficult to find someone I trusted to watch my boys while I connected with a good friend, or spent a few hours alone in my office working on my scrapbooks. My husband has a difficult work schedule, and during his busiest times, it’s a challenge to rely on him. I’ve had to find other ways to make time for myself, whether it’s using hourly care programs or trading babysitting time with a friend.
I know that I can be a better mother if I have time to focus on my own hobbies. I am less stressed and I can give more to my boys when I am able to get away for a while when needed and to refresh. It’s good for them to see me doing my own activities away from them. They will grow up knowing that this is normal and that it’s healthy to spend time on yourself. Although my boys miss me if I go out on a Sunday afternoon, when I come back I am greeted with hugs and kisses and I feel like I can be a much better mom to them.
If you as a mom are feeling too stressed out and are missing some of the things you used to do, see what can be done to change things. Talk to your spouse and come up with a plan. If you are able to regularly take time for yourself you will see a difference in your home and doing so will make you a better wife and mother and create a healthier household for your entire family.
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