It isn’t easy being a stay-at-home mom. Many days it’s downright exhausting when good enough doesn’t feel good enough. You feel like you are trying to do all the right things. You give everyone your best, and when you are done giving, you go ahead and give some more just to be sure everyone is taken care of. Motherhood is simply a legitimately hard job to do—raising a tiny little people to be happy, healthy and thriving big people in today’s modern world.
It’s so hard that it’s easy to feel like you are running on empty day in and day out. It’s the perpetual state of cleaning, cooking, nurturing, encouraging, finding the perfect balance between positive parenting and firm limits, and growing your relationship with your spouse and making him feel loved too. It’s so easy to forget about the most integral person in all of this—YOU.
Because it really is about YOU. Without YOU there is no cooking nutritious meals or squeaky cleaning or intentional parenting or love for all. Without YOU there is no awesome mama willing to be extra patient, and kiss all the boo-boos, make all the tears go away, and give your kids the best you can. That is why focusing on YOU really does matter.
You, you, you…
Give yourself permission to put yourself at the top of your to-do list.
Yes, the top. Numero uno. You, the mama.
This might sound scary or strange, but yes…
It’s okay to invest in yourself first before you invest in your kids.
It may even sound wacky and crazy, but in order to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself. When you go through your day on empty, there is not much left to offer everyone else.
Just think of it this way….
You are on an airplane with your child and the cabin pressure drops. The plane is about to crash. The oxygen mask drops down and you have to make a choice: Do you put your own oxygen mask on first? Or do you put it on your child first? Your deepest maternal instincts might be telling you to put the oxygen mask on your child. But if you don’t save yourself first, you won’t be able to save your child.
See where this is going?
Entering the day empty without any oxygen to your brain makes it impossible stay patient and calm when you are exhausted and at your limit. Trying to navigate the ups and downs and twists and turns of motherhood with an empty cup is treacherous. An empty cup is meant to whittle away at you, exhaust you, force you to act crazy, make poor decisions, and think negative thoughts.
There is no way to avoid losing your temper and yelling for no reason when your cup is empty. Prioritizing yourself is often mistaken for selfish, but it’s actually the most valuable gift you can offer your kids because you will be better when you do so. This is intelligent, smart, valuable and vital to
surviving thriving through motherhood—it’s self-care.
You have the power to create and nurture your best self. When you take the time to do something for yourself, you feel happier, you become more patient, and you become one heck of a resilient mama.
When your kids throw curve balls at you throughout the day, you can handle it better because your cup is full. When your kids need you throughout the day (and they will because all kids do), you will have enough stockpile in your cup to handle the depletion throughout the day. And you will be fine tomorrow because tonight and tomorrow morning your will fill your cup again.
Even more importantly, five years down the road you will still remember who you are. You will still remember what it is you like to do for fun. You will still remember what is important to you. You will remember all of this because you will have nurtured and strengthened your spirit all these years.
Filling your cup…
There are so many ways to effectively accomplish filling your cup on a daily basis. You can even fill it throughout the day, which is great to help you feel charged and ready to go. Use your creativity, your personal needs, and evaluate what is realistic to do each day.
Here are a few examples for inspiration:
- Wake up before your kids, enjoy the stillness of the house, and center yourself emotionally.
- Allow yourself to go to bed early in order to get enough rest.
- Establish a daily schedule or routine for yourself to create scheduled blocks of time just for you.
- Keep routines as simple as possible to streamline and save time.
- Consider putting your kids to bed earlier so you have more time in the evenings after they are asleep.
- Prepare for the next day the night before to save time and avoid rushing.
- Find ways to nurture yourself throughout the day even if it’s only 5 minutes of quiet time.
- Help streamline the organization in your home to save time on everyday tasks, leaving more time for yourself.
- Find ways to stay balanced and ask yourself, “What do I need to do right now to stay in balance?”
- Help your kids learn independent play.
- Ask others for support or help so you can take a little time for yourself.
- Make time to spend time with a girlfriend and talk once a week.
- Display several quotes or affirmations in and around your home to encourage you.
- Shift your mindset so you feel comfortable regularly filling your cup.
- Make it easy by doing ten small things to fill your cup each day.
So when you start your day tomorrow…
And the day after that…
And the day after that…
Remember that you are a priority. You are important. You matter. And yes, it is very much okay to take time to invest in yourself each day because every great mom fills her cup first.
Want more on motherhood?
- The Key to Creating a Successful Stay at Home Mom Schedule
- The Angry Mom Days No One Really Talks About
- Making Peace with Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
- Why I Finally Quit Doing It All
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