It’s be awhile since our last Real Moms, Real Talk update. Now that my little guy is almost a year (whoa), I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about this being a woman with a kid stuff. For this installment of our series the topic is Self Care. And I’m confident all you moms out there can attest, self care is hard, if not nearly impossible in the first year.

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Energy for the gym? Not when you’re waking up 3+ times a night. A day at the spa? Not when you’re breastfeeding and slave to the pump. Squeezing in a manicure? Not when only 20 minutes of daily life is unscheduled.

Ok, ok, it’s not all doom & gloom. I have picked up a few fitness tips (pilates as much as you can & the 7-minute workout app, these exercises, these online classes & walk and walk and walk). And I do highly recommend you carve out time for a monthly massage to relieve mommy shoulders, get a pedicure or do whatever makes you feel good – your partner can babysit for an hour or two (does it drive anyone else crazy when the dad’s say that?! It’s called parenting! But I digress). But my definition of self care has shifted. Rather than worry about getting rid of my under-eye circles or covering my gray hair, I’ve gotten a lot more concerned about the state of my spirit.

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If you thought you were busy sans tiny humans, having a kid throws an entirely new level of busy that can be so overwhelming. The schedule of parenthood feels a bit like living in the movie Ground Hog Day. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. Rinse. And repeat. But as I was recently reminded; if you’re too busy life will just rush on by. And I’ve never had a year feel so fast.

I happened to read this article this week and it really made me stop and think about how the busyness trap really drains your spirit – especially as a mom. The piece talks about Essentialism, or living a life of intentional purpose. As the article explains,

At the core of our busyness addictions are needs for personal importance, to please others and to feel a sense of purpose, artificial though it may be.

Me. To a capital T. When you add being a mom on top of being a modern woman in today’s 24/7 lean-in world, there are so many things you feel like you have to do. But again, as the article explains, we tend to intertwine who we are with our activities. And the constant need to be doing something to feel purposeful ultimately leads to draining our joy.

So my biggest lesson in self-care has been and will continue to be learning to say no to the things that are draining and dedicating real quality time for the things that fill my cup, many of which became grossly neglected in the past year. Another gem of a thought from the article:

Hold fast to committed intentions and do not chase your sense of purpose in every opportunity that arises….Discover your worth in a purpose that contributes, not merely produces.”

I want to think more about the impact I can have everyday rather than what I can accomplish. How can I make both myself and those around me feel good? 

Because what do they call parenthood? The longest shortest time? Otherwise known as a blur. These critical years will go by in a flash and if you loose yourself to the doing of the stuff, the errand running, the house cleaning, the diaper changing, laundry folding, deadlines and requests from others, you’ll hardly recognize yourself and have very little to show for it everything is said and done.

I’m just thankful I’m becoming wise to this trap now so that I can try to make a change. I realize it won’t be easy, but I can’t care for anyone else very well if I don’t care for myself first. I wish I could say I had a magic pill that teaches you how to stay lazer focused on those committed intentions (and loose the baby weight). For now I’m just going to try taking it one day at a time. A few easy changes are on my list:

– Call or text a friend everyday 

– Go on weekly date nights

– Take some sort of class (fitness or otherwise) that doesn’t involve babies 

– Be easier on myself – things will take more time to get done and that’s ok.

If I can get my spirit back this year, next year I can focus on my abs.

For the rest of our amazing Real Moms’ takes on Self Care, get to clickin’ below:

The Effortless Chic | A Daily Something | Could I Have That | Parker EtcSacramento Street|Sarah Sherman SamuelOur Style Stories | Ave Styles | The Refined Woman

You can catch up on the rest of our Real Moms, Real Talk series, which has included discussion about Feeding, Travel & Work here!

photography by bess friday

What do you think?

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10 Comments

  1. Yes! And it’s amazing how the things we say no to (or the things we decide to just let slip away) are not missed at all. The weekly date nights is a really good idea. My husband and I waited way too long to start that after having kids, but we do it now weekly and love it.

  2. Love your thoughts here , Erin.
    This lesson of being a mom in balance comes to each of us who have had children ..I remember mine, when I knew what all in my family liked to eat, but I had FORGOTTEN what I liked to eat. Crazy huh?
    Taking your time to know what You need, not in selfishness, but in kindness and goodness to yourself, has benefits not only to YOU as a person but to your husband and your sweet now big boy. Are there still sacrifices you will have to make? You bet, however, they can be balanced ..
    So go slow, listen to your heart and spirit. . Neither will steer you wrong and remember what I always told my children, You have value because you breathe, not by what you DO. I learned it later in life as a mom. I am glad you are open to it now, for you, and your two big guys … lots of hugs .. apartment 34.. YOU GOT THIS…

  3. Being a mother turns us into better people I think. We start caring more about our spirit and less about looks alone, we care more about ourselves and the people around us. It seems like these little beings have some magic power over us, haha <3

    xoxo – Emily
    larimar.com

    1. I agree Emily. It forces you to examine what’s truly important as the luxury to be self indulgent fades. It also makes you examine what type of person you are, who you want to raise your kids to be and therefore who you want to surround yourself with. It takes adulting to a whole new level.

      1. So very true. It’s funny to think I used to be afraid of growing up not so long ago.

        – Emily

  4. You are so right! I’m not a parent, but being at uni and working has taken it’s toll. So I don’t even want to imagine throwing in a little one into the mix. Your spirit really is the most important, and taking time to nurture it will make a world of a difference.

  5. I’m 3 months pp and just started seeing a therapist to deal with some ppd issues… self care is a big topic and, essentially, is my homework. Appreciated reading your take on this.