Self-care for moms is an important topic. We are so glad to have Julie Burton, mom of four and author of the book The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being here today to share some great tips to help moms re-boot their self-care.
“I will re-connect with my husband when I am not so exhausted,”
“I will start exercising again when my kids are a little older,”
“I will see my girlfriends when things calm down at work and at home,”
“My kids really need me right now. Those things will all have to wait,”
… said many of the hundreds of women I interviewed for my newly released book The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being. I too, have made many such declarations over my past 21 years as a mother. But as many mothers experience, I learned the hard way that while at the core of motherhood is taking care of others, mothers cannot pour out of an empty cup.
From the moment you become a mother and commit to caring for your child, you also need to set an intention for yourself: I will honor and respect myself by taking care of my needs and practicing regular self-care. This will make me happier and better able to care for my family with passion and love. I will set a good example for my child so she will understand how to practice self-care herself throughout her life.
In raising four kids (ages 21 to 12) and spending the past five years researching self-care, I have learned that moms are challenged at each every stage of parenting. But the key to being a happy, healthy, and connected mom is to continue to claim your right to happiness and well-being, and stay true to yourself.
I know, easier said than, done. There is only so much time in the day, so much energy to expend, and a lot of people who need you. And yes, many of your self-care practices will happen on “borrowed time.” But The Self-Care Solution offers dozens of simple, realistic, and sustainable strategies for moms to care for themselves while caring for their families.
This Mother’s Day, it is time for Mom to honor Mom. Give yourself permission to care for yourself, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Commit to and implementing one, two or all five of these simple, realistic self-care practices on daily basis:
- When you wake up in the morning, prior to getting out of bed, take a moment of gratitude.
Connect with the blessings in your life before you allow the to-do list to start firing through your brain. Gratitude puts the ground under your feet, and is a comforting place to return to when you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.
- Take note of your self-talk. Challenge negative messages you tell yourself with this statement: “I am good enough.”
Say this as many times as necessary throughout the day to turn potential stressors or worries into manageable challenges. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and that you deserve to be kind to yourself.
- Write down five songs that make you smile.
Think: HIGH SCHOOL! Put those songs on your phone and play them when you are in the car. Sing along. Let yourself experience joy and levity. Let your kids appreciate your taste in music (well, at least hear your favorite music, instead of always playing theirs).
- Notice how thoughtful and methodical you are with your child’s nutrition and need for movement. Transfer that thoughtfulness to your own nutrition and exercise.
Start from a place of worthiness. You are worthy of filling yourself up with healthy foods that you enjoy, and moving your body every day. Walk up and down the stairs for 15 minutes when your baby naps, bring a healthy snack to the baseball field so you can munch on fresh apple slices when watching your son’s game instead of a hot dog from the concession stand.
- Write down five things you love most about each one of your kids, your spouse, yourself.
Keep them in a notebook near your bed. Read them in the morning or at night to remind you of all the love you feel. This will help you to “lead with love”, which starts by loving yourself.
Julie Burton is an experienced writer specializing in self-care, parenting, and relationships. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, is the former editor of Momtalk magazine, and has written for many local and national websites and publications. She is the co-founder of the Twin Cities Writing Studio, and teaches writing and wellness workshops. Julie lives in Minnetonka, MN, with her husband and four children.