It’s currently Wednesday afternoon, and I’m just starting to type up the Tuesday scheduled post on self care with kids. Yikes! I am a bad mommy blogger right now. But my reason for being so late to post relates pretty directly to what I want to talk about today – taking care of yourself! After an extended weekend visiting family and spending 5 hours behind the wheel during a torrential downpour, I needed to do something to take care of myself. So with the contents of our vehicle scattered around the kitchen and the living room filled with new toys from family members, I peace’d out and drove my butt over to Pure Barre Madison. If a year ago, you would have told me that the best thing to do when you’re tired, stressed, and overwhelmed is go for a workout, I would have thought you were crazy. But 55 minutes later after a very intensive class with the owner Meredith, my legs were shaking, but my confidence was rock solid. I was motivated and ready for a grocery run, dinner, and lots of cleaning. And now that I’m finally sitting down to write this post, I’m thinking “I probably could have written at least half a post during the time I spent at barre”. But I would have gone into the evening feeling completely frazzled. And there wouldn’t be a lot of truth behind the lessons I want to share with my readers. If I’m telling y’all to step away from the computer screen and go for walk, but I’m glued to my phone, you’d be a lot less likely to listen to me. Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I bang out this Tuesday morning-scheduled post on a Wednesday.
But with kids it’s not that easy to just drop everything and go for a spa day. It’s not just NOT easy, but it’s damn near impossible. My husband actually suggested he take a spa day recently. The look I threw his way could have cut him to pieces like little daggers. But it’s not going to get me anywhere complaining about how I’m the one who deserves a break. You need to take the short moments you have and make the most of them. Or carve out time that can be spent all to yourself. Here are four tips I have implemented that help me take care of myself, so I can be the best mom for my kiddos:
1. While They Sleep, You Work Out
Since February, I’ve been getting myself out of bed at 4:45am, 3-5 times a week for an early morning Pure Barre class. The first mornings were beyond rough. But the more I went, the easier it became. Well, the class isn’t easier, but that’s just proves how great these classes are for people at all fitness levels. Getting up early for fitness is one of the best way to carve out time for something beneficial. A high energy activity wakes you up and leaves you motivated for the rest of the day. My barre days are by far my most productive days. Skipping class is a sure-fire way to ensure I have a hectic day. For me, adding an accountability partner (and the threat of being charged for missing class) has been the best way to make sure I don’t hit snooze on a regular basis. And by the time I get home, my husband is halfway through his morning routine so we still get some adult time before the kids wake up.
2. Just Stick To a Self Care Schedule
For over a year I had a set schedule for self care that I had attempted to follow. Yet for some reason, I kept forgetting to do simple things like shave my legs or trim my nails. So what did I do? I wrote it down and taped the schedule to the inside of my medicine cabinet. It was as simple as that! And ever since I’ve actually followed the schedule of simple skincare steps like plucking my eyebrows and using a face mask. Knowing ahead of time that I need a few extra minutes in the morning or evening allows me to actually plan for these little, indulgent moments. You childless ladies may laugh, but one day you might know the extravagance of washing and blow drying your hair when you have a rambunctious toddler who wakes up at 6am. The easiest way to create this schedule is to write out all the self care steps you would like to work into your week. Maybe it’s an at-home mani/pedi or full body scrub. Just write it all down and spread it out evenly amongst the days. Just remembering to use that overnight hair treatment once a week sounds a lot less daunting than trying to cram all your self care into one night.
3. Unwind With a Good Book or Documentary in the Evening
If you stay home all day with toddlers, eventually your brain turns to mush. The challenging tasks and intellectually stimulating conversations you once had feel like they were decades away as you pat your knees to help power up Rocket on “Little Einsteins” or feign excitement over the brown bear spotting the red bird in another Eric Carle page turner. Luckily, bed time presents the opportunity to skip another episode of The Bachelorette and, instead, choose one of many riveting documentaries on Netflix, HBO, or any other on-demand service. ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is a favorite for my husband and I. I’m not a huge sports fan, but I love a good sports documentary. If you enjoyed “An Inconvenient Truth”, “The 25th Hour” is another great watch about climate change. Or if you’re feeling a bit more motivated, just pick up a book. Prior to getting a library card, I read 4 books per year, if that. Now that I have an unlimited source for free reading material, I devour 4 books per month. Every new topic helps challenge me to better myself or revives my imagination as I escape to made up worlds or long ago times. And while you’ll still find me bingeing “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” every once in a while, I feel vastly more astute by fitting at least 1 book and 1 documentary a week.
4. Save Meal Prep for Sundays
Sundays may have once been the day of rest. Now they are the day to prepare for the upcoming week. One of the most important ways you can take care of yourself (besides getting enough sleep) is to eat the right foods at the right time. We aim for a lot of fresh produce in this household, but it often goes to waste if it’s not prepared ahead of time. To help make the most of our grocery expenses, I strive to only purchase enough fresh food to make it through the week. When I get home from the grocery store, I immediately get to work on preparing meals for the week. While I could technically do this any day of the week, Sunday means my husband is home so I can fully focus on the kitchen and not the kids. I’ll start by preparing overnight oats or fruit salad for breakfasts. Then mason jar salads and veggie or potato soup for lunches. Carrots, celery, and peppers are cut up for snacks. Any crock pot dinners are assembled in a reusable silicone freezer bag and meats are placed in a marinade. Lastly I prepare a vanilla or cacao chia seed pudding topped with pomegranate or a crumbled fair-trade chocolate bar for dessert. By the time I’m done, the French door Samsung is looking like one of those Instagram #fridgeinspo photos.
Any tips for what you do to work in self care? I would love to hear your suggestions! Thanks for reading!