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Self Care and Motherhood

October 12, 2018

 

 

 

Hi Mamas,

 

This blog is for YOU! Now that autumn is here, we can enjoy and appreciate that SCHOOL is back in session. Though it may seem like a hectic time, back-to-school does provide more structure, which can be helpful when trying to work more positive, self-care habits into your life. 

 

Self-care is subjective, and can mean different things to different people. Self-care for you may mean taking a walk, getting a manicure, or soaking in a bubble bath. Really, self-care is anything that helps you to decompress, and take a moment to nurture silence in order to preserve your inner peace. So, now that the kids are back in school, you can think of the extra time as an opportunity to make room for the healing, self-care practices that work for you.

 

Why Is Self-Care So Important?

 

Self-care is something that I encourage for all my clients, and I also make sure that I have my own self-care routine in place. Self-care emphasizes the importance of spending time on ourselves, and it also provides an opportunity for restoration. It helps us to sustain and preserve our energy, while allowing us to show up as the best versions of ourselves.

 

If you have ever been on an airplane, you have heard the safety speech about what to do in case of an emergency. When the oxygen masks are deployed, it is essential that you put on your own mask, before you attend to others. This may go against your natural instincts to make sure your children and those around you are safe. But the reason why we must attend to ourselves first is so that we can be in the position to help others. It is this same principle that is behind my recommendation to make time for self-care in our day-to-day lives.  WE DO NOT NEED TO BE ON AN AIRPLANE!!!!! to see the internal benefits of self-care.

 

Demystifying Self-Care As A Mother

 

Many of the mothers I either know personally or work with have a tendency to feel bad or guilty about being unavailable to their children while practicing self-care. While this is natural and makes sense, I try to ensure them that it is not selfish, but in fact an act of selflessness.

 

When mothers practice self-care on the regular, there is a greater likelihood that they will not only have more energy, but also be able to be more present with their families. Self-care helps to prevent feelings of burnout and being constantly overwhelmed. Not having an outlet to release negative feelings can lead to a tense energy that spreads throughout the house.

 

Furthermore, by modeling good self-care habits for your children, you are offering them one of the greatest lessons they’ll ever learn! As hard as it is to manage being a parent, just imagine the daily stress that kids are experiencing these days. When you solidify your self-care practice, you are not just taking care of yourself, you are also teaching an important life lesson to your children, and encouraging positive habits and practices for them.

 

So... How Do I Fit In Time For Self-Care?

 

Trust me when I say that as a mother, I understand all the different hats you’re wearing. Whether you are a full-time stay-at-home mom or a working mother, the demands are high. But self-care is something that I hope you can see as an investment in your inner peace and balance.

 

So with the seemingly insurmountable amount of work all mothers are facing, I want to keep this simple: do something for you, It can be ten minutes out of your day, or whatever time you can take. I am not asking you to work harder as a mom, but instead, to maybe just work a tad smarter with how you are expending your energy! Work on capturing moments throughout your day when you can find a way to disconnect, in order to connect with yourself.

 

If you are a mom now, I am making a compassionate guess that you are no stranger to feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and possibly somewhat isolated. Self-care practices can help you to reclaim your energy while providing a feeling of empowerment, so that you can conquer motherhood.

 

So, I leave you with this simple question for you to ask yourself:

 

“What makes me feel good, and nurtures my heart and soul?”

 

Now, how can you plan to make room for more of this in your day-to-day life? Again, I am not asking for Rome to be built in a day. Every act of self-care that we do for ourselves is progress.

 

So, mamas, if you decide to create an official self-care routine, that’s wonderful. If you decide instead, or for now, to seize those moments in the day that allow for some self-care, that’s wonderful as well. Again, this isn’t about working harder; it’s about working smarter.

 

Please consider how self-care can help you to preserve your energy so that you can accomplish all the things you need to do, without feeling completely drained. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water”.

 

What Are The Next Steps When It Comes To Practicing Self-Care?

 

To help you embrace self-care as a mother, I have created and collected some exercises and activities that can help you get started.

 

I have written a Self-Care Contract that is simple and easy, but helps to keep you accountable in your Self Care practice. You can access and download my Self-Care Contract here, for free.

 

I am also including a pie chart visual, which helps you to break down and visualize how you are spending your time and how you can fit in more self-care.

 

And lastly, I have compiled a list of websites and apps that are designed to help mothers navigate the different aspects of motherhood.

 

It is my hope that these resources will help you along your journey of motherhood, while allowing you to show up the way you dream to as a mother. Being a mother under any circumstances seems to me to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. By taking care of yourself, and putting on that metaphorical oxygen mask, you are honoring yourself, and planting the seeds for a happy household.

 

Till next month,

Hillary :)

 

 

 

RESOURCES

 

 

Life as a Pie Chart

 

 

This is an exercise I use with a lot of clients.  What I like about this exercise is that it helps us think about what our priorities are, and how much time and energy we want to invest in that specific sphere. 

 

This is a fluid exercise that we can do weekly or during a time where we are feeling overwhelmed in finding balance.   We all have different spheres and assigned percentages, however there is ALWAYS room for self-care to be apart of our Life Pie Chart.

 

 

In completing this exercise be specific on what areas you want to focus on.  In each sphere be specific, such as in the self-care sphere you can write “I will go to yoga three times this week.”  Whatever floats your boat, and makes you feel as if this will support you in being accountable.

 

 

Please see the above example, as someone imaginary because it is!  We all have different spheres; the point again for this exercise is for you to see visually how you are spending your energy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Websites and Apps to Help make Things Easier

 

Here are some other online and app resources to help navigate motherhood.  If there are any I am missing please SHARE!

 

 

 

Best Six Apps for  Mamas and Papas- Parent Magazine

 

  1. Today’s Parent Milestones- Information ranging from prenatal health to parenting skills.Useful Articles.FREE

  2. White Noise Baby-Sound app which plays a variety of soothing music and sounds which will stimulate brain and playfulness for baby …. 99 cents

  3. WebMD Baby-Provides medical information and tips from doctors about various medical issues which affect infants.Free

  4. Milk Maid- Helps mothers who are breastfeeding, helps keep track of milk produced and consumed by baby and scheduling-$2.99

  5. Total Baby- makes it easy to log all aspects of your newborn’s care, including bath times, immunizations, milestones, doctor visits and more$5.00

  6. Qwiki- It’s inevitable, you'll be taking endless photos of your newborn. This app helps you quickly and easily pick out the best pics, and then turn them into beautiful short films. Think of it as a highlight reel of baby’s first week, first bath or first holiday. The options are endless.Free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© 2018 Hillary Schoninger LCSW. All Rights Reserved.

1 E Superior Suite #506, Chicago, IL 60611