Sanity not Vanity

I’ve hinted before that since becoming a mom, I suck at self-care. (Can I get an Amen?)

These days moms are held to higher standards than ever before, and not just by our peers–but by ourselves too. Or at least that’s the case for me.

We are wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, Christians, professionals, and a million other things than just the primary caretakers of our children. So when you think about it, it’s really not surprising when our needs get put off until everyone else’s are taken care of.

Personally, I did lose myself during the first years after the births of both of my children.

I dedicated ALL of my time to my babies: nursing them, playing with them, rocking them, reading to them, bathing them, sleeping with them. I’m not going to lie; caring for a newborn is hard work. It’s dedication. It’s both physically and mentally draining… but it’s also so very exciting and extremely rewarding.

Y’all go on and clutch your pearls for this next statement…

In my opinion, losing yourself after the birth of your child is okay.*insert gasps, whispers, and “no, she din’ts!” here*

Yes, I said it. It’s our maternal duties to care for our babies, to nurture them, to protect them. So, once again, I’ll say it’s okay and even normal to lose yourself after having a baby. Just as long as you don’t lose yourself for good; it’s not okay if you don’t find yourself again.

Like I said, I suck at self care:

If my daughter wants the last bowl of my beloved “strawberry cereal,” I give it to her. If I burn eggs or toast while making breakfast, I eat the burnt ones. If I get money for my birthday or a holiday, I spend it on my kids.

I make sure they get the best, but I don’t do the same for myself. I’m sure most moms out there can relate, but I’m here to remind you that you owe yourself the love that you so freely give to others. You deserve it!

But why should you?

Your kids need to see you as more than a mom. As someone with her own interests, goals, and dreams. By modeling self-care, we show our kids that taking care of our bodies, hearts, and minds is important so they can grow up and do the same.

I’ll tell you honestly that I’m a better mom when I get to take of myself first sometimes.

I challenge you to find yourself and love yourself. Because one day those sweet babies will grow up and leave us… and then who will you be?

Here are some things to consider on your journey to self-care:

1. What do you enjoy doing? Or…. what did you enjoy doing before having kids?

Now a spa day would be amazing, but so is reading a book, or going for a walk, or taking a shower alone. Pick one thing and make it happen this week. Just take some time to do something for yourself that makes you happy. It’s okay to start small.

2.  Get some sleep

When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m cranky, snappy, easily frustrated… I’m not the best wife, mom, or person.

Do whatever it takes to get the sleep you need. For me, that means co-sleeping *insert more gasps and judgment* and early bedtimes. It makes all of us happy, and in turn helps me be a better wife, mom, and person.

3. Involve your kids.

If what you enjoy doing can be done with your kids, take them along! Put makeup on and fix your hair with your daughter, get out the stroller and walk the neighborhood, go exploring and take pictures of birds and bugs. Get out in the yard, and let them help you plant some flowers or pick the tomatoes. Include them in your old hobbies, so they can watch you enjoy yourself as more than just a mom.

4. Get a babysitter

I’m not type-A about many things in my life, but when it comes to my kids I am definitely type-A. Like as a parent, I’m above and beyond type-A. Letting others watch my kids is extremely difficult for me… Thankfully with my second child, I’ve learned to let go of some of that control (even if that means they only want hot dog buns with yogurt for supper on occasion *gasp*).

But find someone you trust, and let go. Baby steps. Start out going off for just a few hours to test the waters. Then next month, make it a little longer. I’m still in the process of taking baby steps with this one and have started to date my husband again (day-dates, but alone day-dates!). I still have yet to make it where the babysitters stay for bedtime… eventually… maybe…

5. Know your worth

We should be able to love ourselves without facing judgement and criticism from others. More importantly, we shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something just for ourselves from time to time.

Don’t let the expectations of society limit your self-care. We all want to be the picture perfect Pinterest mom, but it’s okay to be the Amazon Prime mom instead. The main thing to know is you are enough. Your kids already think you’re the best mom in the universe, so invest in you, take care of you, love you–and show them just how much more awesome you can be.

After all, loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity!

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