Practical Tips for Taking Care of Mom
It’s been said over and over again that moms tend to place others before themselves. It’s also been said that if you don’t take good care of yourself then you can’t be much help to others. For the most part, I agree with the statements. As moms, we do tend to place our families before ourselves which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since we aren’t supposed to be self-seeking, but it could be a bad thing if we repeatedly place our health and basic needs at the bottom of the list. As a mom of a tween and teen, I know more than ever that modeling taking care of myself will benefit my daughters. So, what advice do I have for taking care of yourself as a mom?
The Essentials for Taking Care of Yourself as a Mom
Make it a habit to get yearly check-ups. I’m not a fan of doctors or medical establishments, but I’ve made it a point to get my yearly blood work and pap smear completed even after having an hysterectomy. The number one reason I go to the doctor every fall is to make sure nothing that I cannot see or feel has changed. I have an idea of my baseline when it comes to my iron, blood cells, etc. This also means my doctor can compare my health to my health because he knows me at my healthiest. Knowing that my overall health is good also allows for me not too overthink common ailments. Have you had your yearly exam? If not, what can you do to make sure you are checked out in the next six months?
Invest in your diet. I thought hard about this one because food can be super expensive. But, I decided I needed to say it. I haven’t always invested in my diet. There were times when I tried to go all organic or buy the “best”, but it wasn’t sustainable because food can be expensive. As I’ve gotten older, I have no choice, but to find ways to invest in my diet if I want to feel good and remain healthy. This summer I visited the ER twice due an abnormal heart rate. I had a procedure that revealed that my heart was indeed healthy which I thought it was due to number one. I have good cholesterol and couldn’t imagine having blockage. The cause of my heart rate being abnormal was my stomach. I knew I was having stomach issues for years, but I had no idea that it was starting to effect other parts of my body. I attempted to fix it solo, but my methods did not work. I needed help from the medical community. Although I had removed some foods from my diet, I needed to remove even more. Sweet tea is not my friend at all, and turmeric and ginger tea is now a daily staple. Investing in my diet wasn’t only a money thing, but it was a time thing. I’ve had to take time to research. I’ve had to take time to adjust to my new normal. I’ve had to take time to get to the root of the cause so I’m not just treating the symptoms. Have you noticed changes in your body that can be affected by your diet?
Know your non-negotiable. Now, this is were the idea of “Am I being selfish?” might enter your mind. But, please hear me out. When I became a mother, I had no idea that I was supposed to feel as if I couldn’t get certain things done. Now that I’ve been exposed to other mother’s stories, I know there’s a whole world of my moms who haven’t been able to shower, go to the bathroom alone, go to the store without assistance, and so on. I must say not knowing this world existed was a gift to me. My non-negotiable hasn’t changed since I became a mom, and to this day there have been very few days that I haven’t showered. Showering is my non-negotiable. It’s the one thing that makes me feel off if it isn’t done. I don’t necessarily have to take a shower at the same time every day, but on most days I take two showers. They refresh me. When my girls were younger, they showered with me. I didn't feel like they were invading my space. The main point for me was making sure that I showered. What’s your non-negotiable? What can you do to make sure you experience it as often as you need to?
Lean on your family. My family is amazing. I don’t brag on them often enough because bragging isn’t a good quality, but for this point I have to tell y’all my family is wonderful. Now, they are not perfect, but they are dependable for the most part. :) As moms, we often feel like we have to do EVERY thing to make sure it gets done. I have to debunk this myth. We might have to do all the things if we want the task done a specific way or by a specific time, but if we relax some of the expectations our families can be helpful. My daughters and husband know that I can’t do everything by myself. They help with cleaning, cooking, and caring for the dog. These are the main things that take up a lot of time. If your children are still toddlers or babies, you can’t really expect them to help, but you can decrease some of the work you’ll have to do by eliminating toys or clutter, keeping meals simple, delegating a chore you really don’t like to your husband or partner (my husband folds the laundry), and reducing distractions that are outside of your home. By not having to shoulder it all alone, I am able to spend time doing fun stuff with my daughters along with homeschooling them.. Do you ask your family for help? If not, ask yourself why? Decide if your answer is a fact or is it an assumption.
Make room for quiet moments. Each morning I wake and pray. This is a habit I’ve had for about as long as I’ve been an adult. Praying first thing in the morning offers me clarity and gives me peace. I also find quiet moments throughout the day. When my girls were younger, my quiet time was during their naps or when they were playing with one another. Finding quiet time doesn’t have to last for hours, but I like to think of it as a time that you can block out everything around you. Throughout the day, I block out the distractions of my home and my children. During these moments, I pray, read a devotional, or simply breathe. Quiet moments remind me to slow down and not rush through life. Do you make time to slow down in your daily living?
Taking care of myself as a mother is a priority. This isn’t because I am selfish, but because I want to fully enjoy the moments I have with my family. I don’t want them to become comfortable with me appearing overwhelmed, feeling sick, or anxious about life. Taking care of myself is just as much about my family than myself so I guess it is true moms do tend to place others before themselves.
Happy mothering, friends!