Since becoming a mother of (now) two, I often think I have a grasp on motherhood . . . but then I often realize I do not have a grasp on ME. I lose sight of what makes me “me.”
We as mothers all deserve to feel like who we know ourselves to be. I didn’t realize until just recently how far away from feeling like “myself” I had been. While breaking down to my husband, I figured out that I miss many things: wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes, being an ICU nurse, taking a shower that allowed me the time to shave my legs, curling my hair, spending time with my best girl friend, going window shopping, reading “fun” books, having my old (young) body (sans stretch marks, extra weight, cellulite, gray hair, etc), and enjoying alone time with my husband. It was in that moment of recognition that I knew I needed to make changes for me to feel like myself. Would these changes allow me to be who I once knew before becoming a mother? No. Nor do I expect that or even want it. The Kylie that I knew pre-kids is not what I want . . . I want to be a wife and mother more than anything else in this world. BUT, I know to properly love and care for them, I have to love and care for myself.
I sat down and really thought out what I needed for ME so that I could be the wife and mother I knew my family needed. For me that meant: attempting to get my body back into as close of shape as I could before babies, shopping when time and money allowed, spending alone time with my husband, working as a nurse, and simply taking daily showers. Self care is what I need . . . it is what we all as mothers need.
Self care for a mother can look like:
Waking up an hour earlier than everyone else. Do not kill me for saying that – I understand what no sleep means too. Use this time to read your Bible, complete a workout, or simply be alone and sip your hot coffee.
Taking a shower during nap time/school. But Kylie – what if my infant doesn’t nap when my toddler does? Girl, I am living that right now! When Miller naps and my two month old will not, he stays in his crib in his room and I bring the monitor into the bathroom with me with the volume turned up full blast.
Plan some “alone time.” I do this especially when my husband is on a work trip and I am alone with the kids for up to two weeks at time (like right now – Thursday I have a sitter scheduled to watch Layth while Miller and I go out of town to celebrate his 2nd birthday on Friday). I need a break – even if it just for a couple of hours. I will have a baby sitter scheduled so that I can have at least an afternoon to go window shopping or even nap at my parents house. Yes, I do that and it is okay! Hiring a sitter is totally worth the cost, I promise you.
Splurge on yourself. Schedule something for yourself that you love at least once every three to four months. I love to shop. Brian and I visit his side of the family every couple of months at least. While visiting his parents who live near a Target, I always sneak away for an hour or two and shop all ALONE and it is glorious. If you love being pampered, schedule a massage or pedicure! If you love entertainment, see a movie, play, concert, etc. Going alone or planning ahead and bringing a friend is just what you might need.
Communicate to your spouse. Communicate to them when you need help with something, when you are frustrated with them and/or your kids, when you are excited about something, etc. The worst thing that could ever happen to us as mothers is to feel completely alone even in our own household. Communication is the most essential characteristic of every single relationship to hold it together!
Fuel your passion. My passion away from my house is being a nurse. Working part time as a nurse allows me to be at home more than work . . . but still work enough that I can fuel a part of my heart no one else can. My one to two days a week at work allows me the adult interaction I need too!
Find clothes and products you feel comfortable (and beautiful) in. In the last couple of years, I have realized just how important skin care products, make up, and clothes affect my confidence and personal appearance. It is much easier to not put yourself down and truly love YOURSELF if you feel confident in your own skin and/or clothes.
Spend time with your closest friends. This can be the form of a play date or a scheduled weekend away visiting your best friend who lives four hours away . . . I still wish I did this more than I do now but spending time with any of my girl friends makes me the happiest woman ever! I actually just returned from a girls weekend recently and have another one planned for September!
For you, self care can be in the form of spending nap time reading a good book. It could be forming up a new recipe once a week, hiring a weekly sitter to watch your kids while you go to the grocery store, joining a gym with a daycare, or even just having your kids watch a 30 minute tv episode so that you can meditate in peace. Take the time to figure out what YOU need and what works for YOU.
I often remind myself that I know I would never give up on my marriage or kids . . . so why would I give up on myself?
love always, kylie