When I felt totally depleted as a stay at home mom, unshowered and exhausted to the depths of my soul, I remember looking up self-care ideas for stay at home moms and getting frustrated. Go out with girlfriends. Take a class in something that interests you. Get your nails done. Basically doing something you like, without your children, for an extended period of time.
Although these are great ideas, all of these activities centered around making more time for yourself and arranging babysitting. But that can be hard, especially when you are an exhausted, burned out stay at home mom.
The truth of the matter is arranging opportunities like that can be difficult to do on a regular basis, leaving you starving for some self-care. To me, these types of activities are things that busy moms do occasionally. For moms to feel better, we need self-care on a daily basis. In order to do that, we need to create a whole new mindset around what self-care is for a mom.
I will show you how you can develop a self-care mindset by prioritizing yourself, making simple changes for daily self-care, and avoiding some common issues that prevent moms from practicing self-care more often. Then I’ll give you 15 practical self-care ideas for stay at home moms that won’t seem impossible to do.
A daily self-care mindset revolves around self-love, self-compassion, and self appreciation. Basically, you are being mindful of how you treat yourself on a daily basis.
Most moms start making sacrifices for their children when they become pregnant. It starts with giving up your glass of wine or extra cup of coffee. Once the baby arrives, you give up lots of sleep. You willingly give up so much of your time for your precious, tiny baby who depends on you for everything. You move on to giving them food off your plate, even the last bite. Slowly you start making choices based on whether it is worth the effort to get what you want or let your toddler get what she wants to avoid a meltdown. Choose your battles, right?
Years later, you may not even realize how often you prioritize your child’s happiness over your own. I mean they are children, right? You’re an adult. So you can handle disappointment better, right? But when you put somebody else’s happiness and well-being before your own all the time, you are going to start feeling the effects. You may even burn yourself out.
Reducing Unnecessary Sacrifices
I found that I was prioritizing others, even when I wasn’t consciously choosing to do so. I’m lactose intolerant, and I would go to the grocery store without a good list and come home. Only to realize that I bought lots of foods that contained dairy and lactose for my family. More times than I’d like to admit, I would forget to make sure I bought snacks and foods I could eat, too. In my own mind, I was so low a priority that I’d be forgotten. I would literally forget myself and my needs.
One day, I discovered that Hidden Valley makes a dairy free ranch dressing. I hadn’t had ranch dressing in years! I bought myself this more expensive salad dressing as part of my self-care, and it made me ridiculously happy. It was more than salad dressing. It was me prioritizing my wants, spending a little extra money on myself, and acknowledging that I was worth it.
Sometimes you will need to prioritize somebody else’s needs before your own, but sometimes you need to choose your own needs. Being a mom is choosing to care for everyone in your family, including you.
Teaching Self-Care to Our Children
If I was to the point where I would forget myself, what example was I setting for my family? I mean if I wasn’t important enough for myself, how could I expect them to treat me any differently!? My partner and children learn how to treat me by the way I treat myself.
If you want your family to start treating you with more appreciation and start prioritizing your wants, then first you will need to show them how, by treating yourself more kindly and prioritizing yourself.
I am trying to create a family culture in our home that promotes caring for everyone in your family, including mom. When my children see that I am visibly upset, my son will come give me a hug. My daughter will often show up a few minutes later with a colorful drawing for me and encouraging words written neatly on it, like “I love you, Mom!” and “Best Mom.” Moms deserve compassion just as much as others, and it is okay to allow our children to care for us sometimes.
We can also actively teach our children how to pay attention to their wants and needs by showing them how to do that for yourself. When you need a break, you can say,” I love being with you, but mommy needs a few minutes by myself. Please go watch your show.”
I want my own children to know it is okay to ask for what they need. Keep in mind as your children get older their development allows them to better understand that you have wants and needs. Because your children love you, they want you to be happy, too
Don’t forget that we are also teaching our children how to treat themselves by modeling how we treat ourselves. Do we really want our daughters to grow up to be selfless, self sacrificing moms? We want them to be happy. In order to do that, we need to show them how by caring for ourselves.
15 Daily Self-Care Ideas for Stay at Home Moms
- Giving yourself permission to rest for a few minutes without guilt
- Going for a walk or sitting in the sunshine
- Relaxing with a hot drink and a warm blanket
- Letting your children have screen time when you need a break without feeling guilty
- Giving yourself permission to say, “No.”
- Listening to your favorite music
- Noticing what you are grateful for in your life and writing them down
- Picking out something just for you at the grocery store
- Choosing to do things that bring you joy each day
- Doing something just because you want to (putting makeup on, dressing nicely, or dressing comfortably)
- Praying or meditating (even if it is only for a couple minutes)
- Connecting with nature. (Your own backyard is a good place to start.)
- Do something creative with your children. Make art.
- Send a message to a friend or family member
- Start a friendly chat with people you encounter during your day (cashiers, people in line with you, other moms)
Self-care happens on many levels. First you have to foster a mindset of moms matters, too. Start prioritizing yourself and include yourself as a member of the family that needs love and care. Find tiny ways to do this daily to bring more joy into your life by choosing what you want and eliminating unnecessary sacrifices. Don’t forget to praise and appreciate yourself for the small things. Remember you are showing your children, especially your daughters, how a mom takes care of her family and cares for herself, too.
P.S. If you liked this post, check out my other posts on how stay at home moms can take time for themselves, avoid the effects of not taking time for yourself, and acknowledge unrealistic expectations for moms.