Being a mom is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I don’t know what I would do without my little munchkins and I feel blessed every day I wake up and get to be their mama. However, sometimes I get so wrapped up in taking care of them that I let the ball drop on taking care of myself. As much as I love having a life that revolves around my children, I need to remember that every day they are looking up to me as a role model for how life is supposed to be lived. I want them to grow up to love themselves as much as I love them. To do that, I first need to teach them that I love myself and it is okay for them to love themselves too. These are some of the small, easy ways I practice self-love.
1. Hire a babysitter at least twice a month.
Go out to dinner with your partner. Stay in and take a bubble bath with your favorite candles lit and Nora Jones (my guilty pleasure) playing softly in the background. Spend the evening drinking margaritas and eating tacos with your besties. Do whatever you feel like doing, but get the kids under someone else’s eye for a few hours. Let the responsibility of cooking dinner, cleaning up, and helping with homework fall on someone else. I make a point of planning at least two evenings in advance per month to hire our usual babysitter and get out of the house for a kid-free night of fun. It’s a quick and well-deserved break that leaves me feeling energized and refreshed. By the time I get home, I am ready to be back to my kids and mom-ing!
2. Buy clothes that make you feel sexy, comfortable and confident.
This one is always a tough one for me. As soon as I became a mom, I felt like I didn’t have the option to wear sexy clothes and lingerie. But just because I’m a mom now, doesn’t mean I have to abandon my sense of style and fall into the “mom jeans and mom haircut” school of dress. Some days I definitely fit the bill for a soccer mom but at least once or twice a week I like to put on a cute bra, some pretty undies, and my best booty flattering jeans. I take the time to do my makeup and even paint my nails. Doing something as simple as dressing in a way that makes me feel good changes my entire walk for that day. It reminds me that I am still a woman with a body and it is okay to walk tall and put a little bounce in my step.
3. Read something that doesn’t have a talking animal on the cover.
It’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t read multiple books per week written by Dr. Seuss. Now I like a good rhyme as much as the next person, but there are only so many times I can read the Cat in the Hat before my brain craves something more grown up. Reading is one of my favorite ways to spend a lazy Sunday or a rainy afternoon. Taking some time to myself and disappearing into a story is the most relaxing thing but living in a house with kids, relaxation is not exactly commonplace. It’s important for me to grab a book by Jodi Picoult (my favorite author!) or a new celebrity biography and remember that there are stories that exist entirely without a single talking animal.
4. Go get a pedicure.
This one is pretty simple and fits into my life pretty easily. Just like dressing nicely, pampering my nails– both the toe and finger variety – is not my first priority. However, sometimes grabbing my sister and spending the afternoon getting my feet rubbed, scrubbed, and beautified can feel like a religious experience. Again, this is a practice that just makes me feel good. That makes all the difference when it comes to loving myself and showing my kids that doing something because it makes you feel good about yourself is necessary and completely okay.
5. Drink good coffee.
When a good majority of the money you make goes toward feeding, clothing, and caring for your kids, it can be really hard to justify spending any more money than necessary on yourself. Most of the time, I don’t mind spending money on the kids and sometimes I actually even get a thrill out of it. (I’m a little nuts, I know.) But one thing I make sure I spend money on is my coffee. One of my favorite parts of the day is that half hour or so I have to myself with my coffee in the morning before my kids wake up. It may be a short period of time, but I get up just a little extra early so I can enjoy the elixir of life and not just have to gulp it down quick. I really love coffee so putting that extra effort into making sure it is good coffee kickstarts my day in a way only good coffee can.
6. Regular Exercise
Okay, okay. I can hear the collective groans over this one. I know. This practice is a little (a lot) less fun than the rest of them, but it is also one of the most important. By exercising a few times per week, (let’s not get crazy here, it’s hard to fit more than 3 days of gym time into a busy week!) I am not only setting a healthy example for my kids but also keeping myself in shape. Just like the clothes and the toes, (see what I did there?) physical fitness also does a LOT in boosting confidence and that helps immensely with loving ourselves. Remember – mamas can have rockin’ bods too!
7. Life’s short – eat the cake.
Or insert your own guilty indulgence here! Even Superman had a weakness. For me, it’s chocolate cake. Or chocolate cupcakes. Or chocolate chip cookies. Or brownies. Okay…so it’s chocolate. Whatever your favorite food that isn’t so good for you is, every once in a while, let yourself have it. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be every day. But it’s important not to deprive yourself of the things that taste like sunshine on a fork. Along with the boost of dopamine that comes with eating something delicious, you will also be setting an example for your kids that you don’t have to always say no to the treats.
It is not always easy to take care of ourselves as moms. When your life is focused on taking care of tiny humans all the time, it can be all consuming. But it is so important to remember that self-care is as important as caring for our children. If we don’t teach them to care for themselves, who will? Plus, doing things that are just for you and making sure you are happy, healthy, and taken care of will help you love yourself more and even be a better mother.
Emily Krause is a millennial mom of two crazy kiddos and a content creator for True and Co. She believes in self-love and the power of women. Emily runs on coffee and Gilmore Girls quotes. When she’s not writing she can be found playing outside with her two kids, buying too many books, or searching for the perfect mac and cheese recipe.