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Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn
- How our busy lives can seem to take priority over ourselves
- Ways to incorporate time for you to relax and get back to feeling like your real self
- Suggestions on how to take care of yourself with children
Mama Robbins Series
One of the things I feel a lot of us struggle with in life is putting ourselves first. I’m sure you are on simular ground as I am. Taking care of my family has always been my number one priority. From all the normal mom duties of raising kids, keeping them occupied, doing meals, house cleaning and all the extra activities outside the home. We also can’t forget about the most important man in my life. My husband has a LOT of extracurriculars ranging from Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, Karate, Jui Jitsu and a side job working on cars (he’s a mechanic by day). I try to give him as much time as I can to pursue his activities leaving me with very little time for myself. Then, I had baby #3 a few days ago, Feb 13, 2019, and I knew that all had to change.
I’m not saying I never took care of myself. But I had a tendency to forget that I need care too. I was so busy always making sure everyone else was tended to before me and I wanted to make sure the other chores didn’t get forgotten. But I found I was forgetting to eat when I should, I’d pass off for unhealthy meals, even drink my hunger away. I would push off showers a day, or two. Heck, to be honest, sometimes “too long” and not take time for me. It would take its toll on me physically and more so mentally. Always feeling like my ON button was never turned OFF. No time to really relax. When can I ever get back into the hobbies I once enjoyed?
Prior to baby #3, I talked with my husband about making sure I don’t forget about me too. Life with new baby again really hits you, especially when the gap between your last child is larger. Mine is a six year gap. So we started talking about ways to ensure I can put myself first.
KEY POINT: Make sure you tell your kids over and over what your expectations are
- Taking Baths – I personally love water and I have my whole life. Prior to my children, I took baths on a regular basis. There is something about the way your sheets feel that night after soaking in water for at least 20 minutes. It really does make a difference for me on the quality of sleep I have. They’re so much…softer? Smooth!
- Mind Over Mattress – How many times I would get through the day after everything and you can not wait until it’s the kid’s bedtime so you can just veg out or go to sleep yourself. But if we continually cave to the easy way out, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself. Unless this is YOU time and someone else can help tend to the other things that need to get done. When you are drained, validate if it is actually because you are tired or is it because it’s just easier and you don’t want to do anything. If it’s just because you’re not in the mood, tell yourself to get up and just move! Procrastination comes from the stress we feel so we do anything else to avoid the one thing we should be doing, even if it’s a want. I know I want to read a book, but I want to watch TV, thus never getting to my book. Once you start an action, it does make it easier to complete. So if you know you want to have a bath, but just feel you would rather do something else that isn’t self-care, start the water. If you feel you are coming down with a cold or are feeling really unwell, of course, take the time for your body. You need to be the judge of what you really need.
- Reading/Blogging – Even as much time a baby consumes, I still
mangeto find time to read my fellow Twitter Blogs and keep up with my own website. It’s actually something I really enjoy doing and it gives me something to look forward too. Have you ever planned a vacation, trip or an outing a few days or months away and get this….exciting feeling of anticipation? That is what I feel when I think about Blogging. As for reading, I love the Self-Improvementbooks. Even just two to three pages a day, eventually I will finish a book. I used to read a book a month, well….now that will likely take a little longer.
- Putting On Make-Up & Getting Dressed – Let’s face it, life with a new baby is exhausting. Sleepless nights, some children need more attention than others, constant feedings and tending too. Then lets add any other children you have. Especially if they are still Toddlers. It’s super easy to forget about yourself because you have a human relying on you for every need! Plus, on top of being attached at the hip to your newborn or children for months (even in Toddler stages), we can also get to a point where we are so exhausted we just don’t care about our appearance anymore. I know when we have date night or I know I’m getting out with some friends I put on make-up and get in “better clothes”. But even if we are staying in all day, just take a few moments to put yourself together for the day. Look in the mirror every time you go to the bathroom and literally admire yourself. Tell yourself you look good and remember how you feel like YOU~ This will help with your mood.
- Continue With Other Hobbies You Enjoy – Whether
it’s crafts, video games, adventures outside, retail therapy, etc. Make sure you don’t leave your passions behind. Continually putting what you used to do on hold can leave us feeling empty. This one can be a little more challenging if it’s something you really need to get into or if it’s outside the home and requires the children to be cared for. Anyone that has offered to help you, follow up with them and see if you can take advantage.
- Normal Hygiene – This seems pretty straight forward, but I can tell you from personal experience, keeping our teeth brushed, hair managed, showering, and even getting dressed in clean clothes (some moms really understand this one) can become a thing of the past if you are not taking time for you.
- Not Skipping Meals & Eating Healthier – I struggled with this one the most as I always got “too busy” or when the baby sleeps I wanted to do other things instead. I know how important it is to sleep when your children sleep, especially on the off chance that night was going to be a rough one. The KEY POINT here is to PREP YOUR MEALS!! Once or twice a week after going grocery shopping, when you “find the time”, set out baggies of snacks prepared. With working full time and getting home prior to husband, I didn’t want to wait over an hour to prep and make dinner. We ended up eating out so often and it also started to break the bank. So the night before I would cut up whatever was needed, or even cook it after the kids went to bed. After it was cooled, I’d stick it in the fridge to only be reheated the next night. This saved my LIFE! I didn’t go all out and make fancy meals. A simple crockpot meal, casseroles, pasta, etc. I also had FALL BACK meals in case I didn’t get the time that night because we all know life happens, or maybe I just don’t feel like cooking. I would buy pre-made meals from the grocery store you just pop in the oven and go! As much as I DESPISE and I mean despise cooking, I knew prepping saves a tone of time and money.
- Exercise! – Ever sleep a really long time and wake up groggy and feel like doing nothing ALL day? The lack of activity we have in our lives today can cause you to be even more tired. Even if it’s just a small walk around the block, going up and down your stairs a few times, taking your kids to the park and chasing them around, joining a gym (I personally hate the gym), or I love to join Mixed Martial Art Groups. They are an outside activity that gets me out of the house, I’m around other adults and can have adult conversations and it burns a TON of calories!
How To Accomplish Self Care With Children – I know you are probably thinking, okay…sure…you say to do all these things for myself, but how do I find the time when I have a baby or kids running around the house? Few ideas:
- Newborn or Baby – You can use a baby wrap to keep them on you or give them tummy time/free floor play. Have a few ideas of what you want to do when your child(ren) are in a good mood. If they are fussy, tending to them
inthe moment is usually the priority.
- Toddles – You can set them up with a space for free play using toys. There are two ways to keep your toddler entertained here. You can try a “Quiet Tim Box or Mommy Time Box” that you make. You put a variety of toys your toddler really likes to play with in here. You can chose what you want to include. They ONLY get to have access to this box during “Quite Time or Mommy Time”. This will also signal to them… here is where I leave mommy alone. Second, you can try the Toy Rotation Bin. Ever notice when you clean your home and you find a long lost toy your child hasn’t seen in weeks or ages. You think, “Oh I can toss this” and they FREAK! All of a sudden the toy they had forever and got bored with has become the new item. The Toy Rotation Bin is the same principle, but it’s intentional. Take a bunch of your child’s current toys and put them in a bin and pack them away for a few weeks. These toys will become
the QuietTime or Mommy Time toys. You can even have your child colour and design the box or bin with you to add a personal touch. When YOU time is needed, take out the box and this will keep them busy for 20 or so minutes while you get some time to yourself.
- Older Children – You can set them up with a parent-approved unsupervised craft, encouraging reading, etc.
- Child Swapping (My favourite) – You find other parents in your community that have children and are good friends. When you want some YOU time, you can set up a play date where the OTHER parent takes your child/children for a few hours or even overnight. You will swap at a later date where you will take their children in return. This allows for free childcare, gives your kids extra socialization, and you have disruption free time to yourself to do what you need. Here is where you can plan to do anything that is easier not to have your kids present.
Taking time for you should not make you feel guilty. If you don’t take care of your needs first, you will not be able to take care of others as well as you could. Think back to a time you feel rested, had the energy to burn, had a positive outlook on the day and went at it 100% and felt amazing. How great would it be to feel this on a regular basis? This all starts with taking care of YOU FIRST! (Sorry if you realized the last time you felt this was in your teenaged years)
I hope some of you were able to take away even one thing that could help you establish some time in your life to take care of yourself. This is merely scratching the surface, but will make a huge difference in the long run.
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