75 Self-care ideas for moms
I started out writing this post with the newly single mom in mind.
If you’re newly single, I see you.
You might like: Newly Separated? 5 Things You Must Do Right Away
After a few paragraphs and a few days to let things percolate, I decided that this really is for any mom. Dare I say every woman, no matter your situation.
That may seem a bold statement but…
If you are older and married…yup it applies.
If you are older and single…yup it applies.
If you are young and single…young and newly married…a new mom…a seasoned mom…you guessed it…it still applies.
Why do I think that?
I know self-care is thrown around these days so much it’s annoying. I mean really, really annoying…you can’t get away from it.
And some people think the concept of self-care is overdone.
But here’s the thing….
I’m here to tell you I believe 100% that if I had taken it seriously, I mean really seriously from the beginning of not only my marriage but my entire life, I would not be separated from my husband. And to top that, I’m going to say every relationship I’ve ever had with anyone would be different.
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For me, self-care is and was one of the biggest reasons my marriage is struggling.
This is more than bubble baths and pedicures. (Although they help so anything that makes you feel good is a yes.)
This is about letting go of trying to control everything.
Asking for what you need and want.
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This one skill and yes self-care really is a skill. To know yourself and follow through consistently taking care of you without letting your life hijack it.
Everything from career, marriage and family is a potential hijacker to being authentic to yourself and honoring yourself enough to realize you are the only one who’s going to be with you from birth to death. Literally no one else.
Culture teaches us not to be selfish. To think of others first. And while that’s honorable, if you don’t think of yourself first everything else eventually suffers, most of all you.
I am a testament to this. For years I have knowingly and unknowingly put everyone else above myself and have paid for it multiple times and am still learning this lesson. I wrote about this when it impacted my health way back in 2016 and again 2017 after I was no longer caregiving. And if only I’d followed my very own advice I bet any money my marriage wouldn’t be in jeopardy.
A quick recap, over the last 16 years, I have become a mom, a caregiver, a home schooler, a blogger all on top of being a wife, and of course me. 🙂
At one point I was doing all of those things at once! As if one of those doesn’t impact 30 years of being a couple, imagine all of them!
I was trading myself to gain some sick sense of satisfaction that I could do it all. And yes, I really believed I could.
I would refuse help from my husband because I thought I had to handle everything in the house since he worked and I stayed home.
I wouldn’t ask the kids for help because my perfectionist side wanted it done just so that I would oversee it all and waste more time that way.
And outside help didn’t happen because I wouldn’t ask.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
While I am not blaming all of my marriage problems on my lack of self-care, it is one of the biggest contributors.
When you don't place value on yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? From all corners of my life I was undervalued by others, but no one else more than me.Click To Tweet
For women like me, people pleasers, conflict avoiders, self-care is often difficult.
We are constantly looking to see what others need. We are adapting ourselves to the situation, often bending like pretzels to fulfill others desires, wants and needs. And it’s so hard to relax and not think about all the things we need to get done.
It eventually becomes awkward and uncomfortable to even recognize what we want, what makes us happy or even feel comfortable being the one to make even simple choices.
Like the joke asking women where they want to eat. “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” We don’t even know, can’t even make such a simple decision anymore.
When you consistently operate that way, you become angry, tired, resentful. You can’t be grateful, happy or be in a position to receive anything anyone else has to offer. You can’t possibly be the person you want to be or even should be when you feel that way. You just have nothing to give.
Self-care comes in many forms. What works for me is not necessarily what works for you.
It really is anything that feeds your soul. Something that makes you feel good. Even something that temporarily makes you feel bad, but feels so necessary to your core, you feel you must do it.
One of my most recent self-care activities was just that.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Over Christmas vacation I had a particularly difficult event happen.
I literally chose to throw myself down, push myself to stay down and wallow in the sadness of it all.
For three days, I didn’t shower or get dressed, in fact I barely did anything at all. I barely spoke. I interacted with people only when completely necessary. . From the time I got up, until going to bed.I just stared at the tv. I ate what was most immediately available like cereal or quick picks from the fridge.
I allowed myself to be in the mind numbing nothingness.
When I couldn’t get lower, I pushed lower. It was a conscious decision.
Then on day 3, I went to bed with the conscious decision, that’s enough of that. I knew I couldn’t stay there.
The next day I got up, knowing no more, but being deliberate in the thought that it would be calculated baby steps out.
So I consciously said to myself. What do I need to do today? What’s the next step? Breakfast. Okay, you can do that. And I’d do it. Then okay, what’s the next step? Shower. Okay, you can do that. And so on, over and over again.
I did that for the whole day and half the next and I was out. Having been much better for it. Like rising out of the fire. Though at the time I actually visualized a manhole with a ladder and climbing up to the next step and the next.
Well that’s just fine, you say…but when am I supposed to do all this. I work, I have kids, a husband, a house to run. I don’t have time.
Oh, I know. Believe me.
It’s simple, just not easy.
But with practice, it gets easier.
So, how to make all this self-care happen. These will help you create more time for self-care, to then put back into you.
- Stop trying to control everything.
- Give up trying to be everyone’s everything.
- Let go of what people think.
- Ask for help. (and accept offers)
- Don’t say yes, when you want to say no.
Again, it’s not easy. But for real, it works.
So first, brainstorm a list of self-care ideas…that YOU like.
Stuck? For 75 self-care ideas…keep reading.
Try to make a list of at least 10.
The more immediate the feel good, the better. Because they are quick boosts. Meaning, if exercise makes you feel good when your done, but you hate doing it, then it can be on the list, but it’s not your best choice.
It should feel fun, not like work.
They also don’t need to take a lot of time. It could be as simple as putting lotion on your feet. If it’s something you wish you did but often skip, it’s a good one for the list.
Strive to do 3 every day. Get this printable blank D.I.Y. 30 Day Challenge that can be used for self-care or any challenge.
If you have little kids, like under 3, if they nap, yeah, if not, you need helpers. Older siblings, spouse, neighbor, whoever. Yes, they may go to bed early, but that’s good spouse time. If you work (home or outside, no matter) than your time is even smaller, but it can be done.
If your kids are older, woo hoo they have time where they do things on their own but also they are now part of the self-care plan. They can do stuff that’s normally on your list.
Done is better than perfect…let that shit go.
From meals, to housework to errands. Depending on age kids can do so much more than we give them credit for…besides…it’s not just good for them, it’s good for you and for your marriage.
Take a hard look at what you can delegate. And learn to go do you when they are pitching in. Learn to receive.
Need ideas for self-care?
75 Self-Care Ideas
- Read a book
- Do a jigsaw puzzle
- Do a crossword or suduko
- Go for a walk
- Take a bath or shower
- Listen to a podcast
- Read a magazine
- Work on your hobby or try a new one
- Play an instrument
- Knit or crochet
- Color, draw or paint
- Write in a journal
- Write poetry
- Watch tv
- Paint your nails
- Window shop
- Buy yourself something…even the dollar store counts
- Watch the birds
- Pick flowers or fruit
- Sit with your favorite drink and be still
- Listen to music
- Dance in your living room
- Do yoga
- Get a massage – even if your kid does it, lol
- Play with your pet
- Call a friend
- Do a face mask
- Take a nap
- Give yourself a massage….hands, feet, or the happy ending kind 😉
- Connect to your spirit with an angel card…I have these
- Hang out at the library or bookstore
- Go to the gym or other physical activity (swim, bike, hike, ski, kayak)
- Go for a drive
- Intentional wallow (if you skipped to the list, see above)
- Scroll your favorite social media (Instagram is better, think pets and humor… less drama)
- Take photos
- Go to bed early
- Sleep late
- Drink water
- Take your vitamins
- Get outside in the fresh air (and hopefully sunshine)
- Read affirmations and positive quotes
- Go to the beauty parlor (for hair, skin, nails)
- Take your medications
- Make a dream board
- Go to therapy
- Get dressed in something that makes you feel sexy
- Put on makeup
- Go to a movie
- Rearrange a room or decor
- Write a gratitude list
- Eat a treat
- Get some hugs
- Have sex
- Change your sheets
- Shave your legs
- Breathing exercises
- Buy yourself flowers
- Say no
- Ask someone for help
- Delegate a job to someone else
- Take yourself to lunch
- Watch funny videos
- Take a day off
- Visit a museum
- Google places to go on vacation (just for fun)
- In winter, put your clothes or pj’s in the dryer while you shower
- Light a candle, incense or diffuser
- Do a written brain dump to get out negative thoughts or find new ideas for your next project
- Step away from the technology
Okay, that was me. Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite form of self-care?