I read a post on Instagram recently that said “society expects women to work like they don’t have children, and raise their children like they don’t work”, and although it sounds completely ridiculous, it is the truth for so many mums. The expectations that are put onto women when they become mothers are often nothing short of crazy, and one thing that seems to get people talking is the idea that mums need to care for themselves.
After nine months of growing a tiny human inside her own body, a mother is, in so many cases, expected to step back and quietly fall into the last place in the priority line as soon as the baby is born. In generations gone by, this was widely accepted, and it was just what mothers did. I know I personally have experienced this opinion within my own family, and it has been the cause of significant disagreements! However, in this day and age where people are so actively trying to break the stigma around mental health issues, and there are more conversations happening than ever before about how people can be supported in the workplace, the one that seems to be missing is how mums can be encouraged in the most critical role they will ever have - motherhood.
So what can be done to support our mums? How can we ensure that the mums we know and love get their own needs met? This is something I have been working on myself for quite a long time now so that I will share with you my top 10 self-care ideas for mums.
- This one is more of a belief than a self-care ‘thing’, but if you don’t have this sorted everything else will seem too hard. Mum - you MUST ensure that you take care of yourself. This is non-negotiable!
- Spend some time in solitude. Make sure you are entirely alone. You can sit in silence, have a bath, listen to music, watch your favourite show on Netflix...it doesn’t matter what you do. The important thing is that you spend some time alone to reconnect with yourself and remember that you aren’t just a mum, you are You, and You are important.
- Read a book.OK, so not everyone is into reading, but I love to get into good fiction. I find it to be a therapeutic way to escape the real world for a while, and really dive into my imagination, which doesn’t get used half as often as it used to.
- Go to bed early, like really early if you want to. I am terrible at always being the last one in my house to go to bed, but when I start to get grumpy, or my mood gets a bit low, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s because I lack in sleep. Sleep allows our brain and body to rest and repair, and that is very important.
- Use essential oils. Aside from smelling amazing, essential oils are a great way to support a calm and balanced lifestyle. I always recommend calming and soothing blends to mums, because they are suitable for themselves as well as their kids. I particularly love blends with lavender to help sleep.
- Pamper yourself every day. Use luxurious products when you shower or bath, make your everyday moisturiser a decadent one, use body scrubs and nourishing hair products regularly. You’re a mum, and you deserve it!
- Create a space that is (mostly) just for you. This one can be hard depending on the age of your children, but try to create a space in your home that is peaceful and serene, and somewhere that you can simply relax. I have this in my bedroom, where I have my essential oils, some crystals, a salt lamp, and a nice blanket. I often use it as a space to sit and journal about what I am grateful for.
- Get some physical exercise. It can be anything - walking, jogging, cycling, skipping, bouncing on a trampoline, playing tag with your kids. The possibilities are endless with this, and it’s a great thing to do with a friend or two.
- Organise a catch up with some other mums you know, and let the kids entertain each other! Admittedly this is probably optimal when your kids are a bit older, but it can be an excellent way for everyone’s children to be entertained by each other, creating time and space for the mums to have a coffee and good yarn.
- Spend some open-ended time with your children. For some this may not sound very much like self-care, but when you are able to spend time with your children without the pressure of other things to be done (laundry, dinner, housework etc.), you can truly relax and start to pay attention to all the little things that make your child exactly who they are, and that in itself is fabulous for the soul.