3 Powerful Self-Care Tips for Busy Moms
If I had a gold coin for every time I have been interrupted in the shower by my children, I would have a giant pit of gold coins to dive into and backstroke through, a la Scrooge McDuck. On second thought. . . screw the gold coin swimming pool and just let me shave my bikini line with what dignity I have left and a little peace. Because when a child abruptly flings open the bathroom door and shouts, Moooooooooooom, it startles the razor right out of my hand — which is not what I want most when yielding a sharp object in a close proximity to my lady parts.
In case you hadn't noticed, this shower intruder scenario is the perfect example of the total lack of boundaries in my house. I've created and nurtured a warm environment where my kids have their every need and most all of their wants met at the drop of a hat. I go out of my way to be available to them and the crux of the problem is this: I can't turn it off. Or to be more precise, I'm scared to turn it off.
Oh the fearful thoughts that run through my head when I imagine my child, gushing blood from his knee, needing his mother to clean and bandage his wound, crying futilely to the frontside of the locked bedroom door; his cries for help drowned out by the rush of water in his mother's ears as she selfishly cleans her hair on the other side of this sealed barrier. Which is why I don't lock the door, duh. And why I make concessions in my privacy and personal space and happiness in order to keep myself available for the possibility of an extreme emergency that may or may not ever happen.
I've learned that for every blissful feeling motherhood brings, there is a sinister antagonist of a counter emotion lurking behind a curtain, mocking me for thinking things will always run smoothly. But the reality is, thing usually do run smoothly; in the sense that I've never had to dial 911 and the "emergencies" we've experienced have been few and far between and in the grand scheme of things weren't really that big of a whoop. When I'm being honest I can see how my hyper-availability is a frivolous exercise in a false sense of control as well as something that wears me down.
For all the mamas who feel me on this, it's time for us to reach for some self-care practices that can free us from the worry, restore our confidence that the kids will be all right, and allow us to privately groom ourselves. Here's what I've found that works.
Although I can't bring myself to lock both the bedroom and bathroom door while I'm showering, I have started locking just the bathroom door. That way they can come to the door and talk to me but can't walk in. Same goes for when I'm changing my clothes. I use the line, "I deserve to have privacy when I need it," for those times when I get complaints about not being available enough.
Whether you want to read a book or catch up on your shows, taking some time for yourself with kids in the house can be challenging. You have to find what works and for me that has been noise cancelling headphones. My daily meditations are really important to me and crucial for my mood and sanity, so on the weekends I wear my noise cancelling headphones while I meditate to drown out the shouts for more waffles. If you don't have noise cancelling headphones, I suggest you purchase some on the double as they are the very technology miracles are made of.
Manage Your Fears
As a parent, it's impossible to avoid worrying about your child. But it is possible to manage fearful thoughts and work toward staying more grounded in reality — you just have to be willing to make this your new habit. Try this: every time you catch yourself worrying about your child, stop. Just stop and say to yourself, "my child is safe and cared for." Look around for all the evidence you can find that your child is, indeed, safe and cared for. You'll be surprised how the proof of their safety will outweigh the potential threats.
It's so easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of motherhood that you forget to take in the moment, but you have to start giving into what fun and wonder you can find in the present moment. Kids are a great example of this, so look to them for inspiration. As I was packing up backpacks for school one morning, my son burst in from shooting hoops outside and excitedly encouraged me to come to the driveway immediately because he heard a beautiful songbird chirping in our tree and he didn't want me to miss it. I grumbled about backpacks and leaving on time, but he insisted. Now, I'm so glad I hustled out to hear that bird and see the look of marvel on his face because that simple moment brought the both of us immense joy.
We're all in this together, moms! So if you have a good self-care tip to share, please leave it in the comments below so we can all learn from your wise ways.