As a mom of a toddler, self-care is something I know I should prioritize but in reality is first thing that gets put aside. The common analogy “if a plane loses oxygen, you need to put your oxygen mask on first before your child’s” gets thrown around a lot in the parenting world. But I often ask myself what that looks like for me, a mom of a lively and energetic toddler!
The toddler stage brings about its unique parenting challenges. After a year on maternity leave, I transitioned back to work and my son started childcare. At the same time my husband started a new job and had to travel a bit. Getting back into the hustle of daily life in the city meant the life became much more fast-paced. While I used to thrive on this energy, some days I felt like I was running on an empty tank, especially on days we didn’t sleep very well (most days!).
Tiredness manifested itself as irritability, impatience, and an unwillingness to give my time to others. As the weeks went on I started to notice I was feeling resentful of anyone asking for my time. Needless to say, I knew I couldn’t linger in this state for long.
So what does self-care look like for me, a mom of a toddler?
There is something about December that cues my mind to slow down. Knowing I needed to pull myself out of this headspace, I finally made it a priority to figure out what self-care means to me and to adopt some simple, self-care rituals into my life.
Self care to me is:
REST: Getting more sleep, by going to bed earlier.
HYDRATION: Staying hydrated by starting the day with a huge glass of lemon water.
MUSIC: Putting on my favourite playlist when I am home.
MOVEMENT: Going for a walk with my baby in nature
PRESENCE: Turning off social media for a few days.
MEDITATION: Five minutes to pray
GRATITUDE: Writing down three things I am grateful for each day
INDULGANCE: Eating a bit of chocolate and drinking a glass of wine.
RELATIONSHIPS: Arranging babysitting so I can go on a date with my husband or out with friends
When I finally identified what self-care meant to me I was able to carve out a bit of time in my daily routine to do the things that fill me up.
So what was the result of taking time to care for myself?
I feel more patient, happy and calm.
I play with and am more present in the moment with my son.
I have a renewed energy enabling me to serve others.
I have a renewed energy enabling me to spend time with other.
I am inspired to write again.
I am anticipating Christmas rather than feeling anxious about all there is to do.
This season is all about giving to others and spending time with the ones we love. But when we linger in a state of exhaustion, it’s a dangerous place to be. I know the feeling of not wanting to give the little that’s left in us to anyone else – especially as a mom of a toddler who is very much dependant on me. There are times when life gets chaotic and we need to power through those periods of busyness and stress, but we ought not linger in that state.
As the year wraps up I hope you are able to take some much needed time to reflect on what self-care looks like for you. I hope you will not only give yourself the simple gift of self-care, but also realize that you are worthy and deserving of it too.
…and if you know someone who needs some self-care, give a little more to them this Christmas so they can give to themselves!
What does self-care look like for you? How do you carve out time to care for yourself?