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Moms and Mental Health Series
Here at MSB, we specialize in talking about Mental Health issues from the unique perspectives of those who experience them.
That’s why we’re dedicating this series specifically to Moms who struggle with their Mental Health.
Why? Because Moms don’t get the choice to step back and work on their Mental Health as easily as the rest of us do. Their time is rarely their own. They need strategies on Mental Health to fit that busy lifestyle.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Mama Shark Blog to bring you this unique series. We’re here to bring you advice tailored to your experience, Mama! Check out the other three posts in the series below!
Self Care for Busy Moms:
When you’re a busy mom – self care can take many forms. Going to the bathroom *alone*, a solo trip to the grocery store, or even five minutes hiding in the pantry with a Twizzler.
The main theme between all of these is doing them alone. Without tiny humans, pets, and husbands needing your undivided attention. The greatest act of self care a Mom can have is to not be needed for a few minutes.
But, as you moms undoubtedly already know, solitude is a luxury that’s hard to come by. So, how are you supposed to self care when you can’t even get a moment alone?
That’s where we come in! MSB and Mama Shark have your guide to self care as a busy mom. Read on to get our unique take on the subject.
Why is Self Care Important for Busy Moms?
Last week we talked about the immense pressure society puts on moms. (Check out How to Deal With Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood here). In that article we pointed out that the pressure to be the perfect mom, employee, and wife can really affect a mother’s mental health.
And when mom’s mental health suffers, so does everyone else’s. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “as a result (of a mother’s poor mental health) the children’s growth and development may be negatively affected as well.”
Another important reason why mother’s mental health is so important is this fact. Trauma can be handed down by parents to their children.
In Jacob’s Family – The Psychology of Intergenerational Trauma, it’s revealed that just one person’s trauma deeply affected the mental health of the whole family. All the way down to his great-grandchildren. Which is why it’s so important for parents, especially mothers, to preserve their mental wellness.
How Can Busy Moms Practice Self Care?
Now that we know why self care is so important, here comes the hard part. Actually doing the self care.
Which can be damn near impossible as a busy mom. Like, how are you supposed to catch a break when you can’t even be alone for five minutes?
Well, the answer is that self care for busy moms is possible. It just requires a shift in mindset from the mom and everyone else around her to make it happen.
Remember to Put Yourself First
I know. I understand that women, moms especially, want to put everyone else before them. It’s what moms do, right?
Well, not necessarily.
Because you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you try to, you’ll get burned out. And that means you can’t be there for your family, your kids, or your work the way you want to.
That’s why it’s critical for moms to put themselves first. And this is not just the mother’s duty to do this: self care is a family affair. Kids, partners, in-laws and even employers can all pitch in to support a mother’s mental wellness.
Setting Boundaries With Family Members
It may seem odd to set boundaries with family members. But it’s an absolutely necessary self care step for busy moms.
What do I mean? It starts with teaching kids (in an age appropriate way) to respect a mom’s designated alone time. You can do this by:
- Setting aside a part of the day just for you that’s the same every day. This makes it so kids and partners get used to it as “Mom” time.
- Arranging this mom time around your partner’s schedule so they can watch the kids while you take a moment to relax.
- Whipping out the tablets and/or turning on Frozen for the 10 millionth time. Don’t be ashamed!
- Enforcing your alone time. Unless there is some major emergency, gently deny any requests or bids during your Mom Time. This can look like “No, I can’t open your juice right now – you can either wait or ask Dad.”
- Not overcommitting yourself to family activities that cause you to run around from one event to another.
- Saying no and meaning it.
Create a Boundary not a Wall
You may be saying “this seems like something that might hurt my child’s feelings.” The important thing to remember is that you’re building a boundary, not a wall.
Walls are created out of overwhelm and frustration. They cause emotional trauma because they’re vaguely defined, poorly explained, and executed with anger.
Boundaries are created out of love for yourself and others. They breed connection because they’re well defined, communicated properly, and executed with kindness and patience.
So be gentle, kind, and consistent with your self care boundary. It will make a big difference in everyone’s life if you do!
Create a Self Care Kit
Self care kits are great for everyone but they are especially awesome for busy moms!
What is a self care kit? It’s a collection of items that you keep on hand to help you relax. It can contain anything from adult coloring books you can do during breaks to herbal tea packets. Anything that helps you take a mindful moment to relax.
Some things you can keep in a self care kit as a mom:
- These awesome Encouragement Cards for Moms (Made by Mama Shark to remind you that you’re awesome!)
- Calming essential oils like this super portable roll on from UpNature
- A Dammit Doll for when you need to release tension, stress, and anger
- A magazine (I prefer them over books for self care because they’re so visual and don’t require much emotional investment)
- Prescribed meds (it’s okay to take and need meds, it’s important self care)
- Mama Shark recommends keeping Rescue Remedy on hand in this article on dealing with anxiety as a mom.
- A Mindfulness card deck
- Refreshing facial wipes like these Soothing Cucumber Wipes
If you’d like to learn more about building an awesome self care kit, check out this guide called the Ultimate Self Care Package.
Make Self Care Time Count
As we’ve mentioned, Moms don’t get a lot of time to themselves. Realistically, even the designated “Mom Time” you’ll take isn’t always going happen the way you want it to.
So when it comes to self care for busy moms, think quality over quantity. Make that self care time count!
How can you do that?
- Do the self care task that gets you the highest payoff from the lowest amount of time input. Like if you only have five to ten minutes, it may not be practical to do a whole Yoga flow. It may be more reasonable in that time to enjoy a hot cup of tea and read a couple pages of your favorite magazine.
- Avoid multi-tasking. You may not have a lot of time, but that isn’t a challenge to pack in as much self care as you can get. Multi-tasking is actually pretty mentally exhausting so stick to one or two tasks that make you happy.
- Try to focus. If practical, fully invest yourself into your self care task. This kind of focus can be a very powerful emotional reset for a busy brain.
- Make a Plan. Things just go better when they’re planned out! Mama Shark has a great guide on How to Prioritize Tasks as a Mom that you can also apply to your self care time.
I know it can seem like self care is selfish. Especially when you have SO many responsibilities like moms do.
So here’s something to consider if you’re feeling guilty about putting yourself first, Mama. Self care isn’t actually about relaxing, it’s an absolute necessity for your mental health. It’s as important as going to therapy, getting regular checkups at your GP, eating healthy, and taking medication are.
And you absolutely deserve good health, Mama.
My Soul Balm Shopping List
Here at My Soul Balm, we are very serious about self care! And we practice what we preach! Below are Maria’s tried and true self care picks from Amazon.
A Word from our Partner Mama Shark
“Hi! My name is Stephanie- aka Mama Shark! I’m an Jesus-loving, introverted, somewhat crunchy, and highly practical mom of 2 precious, sleep-hating kiddos and I’ve been married for almost a decade to my wonderful husband. Creating order out of chaos is my jam and I am passionate about reducing the mental load of motherhood!
As I worked out how to handle all these responsibilities (who knew tiny humans could require so much!), I wanted to do better. Better in a “surely this can be made easier” kind of a way. I am wired to create order out of chaos- and let me tell you, I have plenty of chaos to work with!
At MamaShark.blog, I am bringing my experience as an entrepreneur and my passion to make things easier for Mamas together into a practical how-to guide with the goal of reducing the mental load of Mamas and helping them live healthier, happier, and easier lives!“
Oh and remember to check out Stephanie’s awesome 5 Day Declutter Your Mom Brain Challenge
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