As mothers, self-care is something we know we need to do, but it is often easier said than done when it comes to integrating it into our daily practice. In fact, I feel pretty comfortable saying there is probably not a single mother in New Zealand right now who would happily give her self-care an A1 grading on this matter.
I think, I’m pretty typical when it comes to my intentions as a parent – I’m there for my boy, engaged, present, holding space for him. He can’t take care of his own needs yet. That naturally means his needs are my responsibility. By default, mine take a second place.
Parenting is a 24/7 job
If you have cracked the great secret mystery of stopping time so that we parents can take care of ourselves for a few hours, get some work done all the while continuing to be a parent, please let us know. Soon.
In the meantime…
Don’t worry, I’m not going to lecture you or add to the never-ending mothers-guilt by reminding you what you should be doing to take care of yourself so that you can take care of the next generation.
I have two tips:
When you have time to sleep and eat, do it as well as you can.
When “sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn't work
It didn't work for me. I’d wake up from an afternoon nap feeling ten times worse than before it. This meant I needed to make a big effort to get to bed early. So self-care means come 8 or 9pm I’m often tucking myself in for the night.
Apparently any hour you sleep before midnight is the equivalent of two hours after midnight, which is perfect for those of us who need to be up and on duty for 3am feeds.
Nutrition is especially important for breastfeeding mamas
Make sure you are getting enough calories. And make as many of those calories as possible quality calories.
Your body is producing a superfood after all. Even after you’ve finished breastfeeding, your body, brain and mood will still require and thank you for any good nutrition habits you’ve put in place. As much as possible avoid missing meals and energy-sapping sugary snacks. Sugar creates patterns of peaking and falling energy and has poor quality calories.
Eating balanced nutrition creates balanced moods.
These I’m sure would be considered the very basics of self-care. And beyond these, self-care means different things to different people. Some require physical exercise or time out with their girlfriends on the town, others will want to kick everyone else out of the house so they can read, sing, dance, write, draw. The range of expression of self-care is limitless.
The one thing we ALL need is permission – self-permission
Permission to GIVE that time to ourselves.
Did you notice I didn’t say TAKE that time for ourselves? That’s right, we’re not taking the time from anyone or anything. We are giving ourselves the time – it’s a gift.
If you are having trouble establishing and maintaining your own self-care you may like to consider Self-Care Support©. It is a blend that was originally created for healers, healthcare practitioners and care-givers but when you read through the product descriptions below you’ll see how perfect it is for parents too.
Self-Care Support© provides support when you are experiencing any of the following:
- Feeling like work has taken over.
- Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities or other people’s needs and demands.
- Feeling like too much is happening or life is out of balance.
- Caring for others at the expense of caring for yourself and feeling drained.
- Assists you to nourish yourself and look after your own needs so that you can consistently perform at your best.
- Supports you to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Supports relaxation and recovery when you rest.
When you take it 3 or 4 times a day, the bottle lasts 4-6 weeks which is perfect as it takes 28 days to make a new habit or break an old one. Made from a combination of New Zealand native plants Self-Care Support© is your ally from nature. It can support you to give yourself the gift of self-care and assist you in establishing a new routine of long-term sustainable care for yourself.
The native plants contained in Self-Care Support© and their benefits to you as a parent
Starry Hibiscus (Hibiscus trionum) - Tenderness
Supports the need to care for yourself. Helps to attune to your own emotional needs and urges. Helps to feel emotionally secure.
Mairehau (Phebalium nudum) - Achievement
Helps to feel strong and capable. Assists in recognising the signs of over-work and overstrain. Helps to remain neutral while being of service to others.
Creeping Pratia (Pratia angulata) - Empathy
Supports the ability to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty. Assists in knowing when it’s time to look after your own needs.
Coastal Lobelia (Lobelia anceps) - Decisiveness
Supports equanimity, objectivity, mental strength and clarity. Helps to know when to be firm and say ‘no’.
Native Hawthorn (Carpodetus serratus) - Moderation
Helps to create and maintain moderation, harmony and balance. Enhances the ability to adapt and adjust. Assists in moderating emotional responses and developing self-control.
Wheki (Dicksonia squarrosa) - Self-Care
Helps to be in tune with your own holistic needs. Helps to know that you can look after yourself and help others. Helps to know what you need to do for yourself to create and maintain your own holistic wellbeing.
Smooth Shield Fern (Lastreopsis glabella) - Healers Protection
Provides protection, like a personal bubble or cocoon, when feeling over-sensitive to others.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends. Receive articles like this directly in your inbox and be in to win with our monthly subscribers only draw – sign up below. One product goes to a lucky winner each month.
Plant images via First Light®