Self-care doesn’t need to take up lots of time or money. The key to self-care practices that work is to stick with practical and simple self-care, focusing on self-care basics.

I was inspired by this article in Motherly to talk about how my concept of simple self-care, while in practice isn’t really revolutionary, has completely changed that I think about self-care. Instead of making big plans, let’s get back to self-care basics.

 

In Part 1 of this series on simple self-care and self-care basics, I talked you through my decision-making process and what it took for me to get to a place where I finally took my own self-care seriously. The thing about it was that I was in a place both physically and mentally where I couldn’t indulge in any fancy routines. Nope. That’s why this is basic. It’s self-care that is actually doable AND makes a difference in the long run.

The teeny and seemingly insignificant change that I decided to make, which would incorporate even just a token amount of self-care into my life was to start taking a vitamin first thing in the morning and drinking a glass of water.

Once this new little habit was part of my daily life, I started thinking about other small and practical things I could do every day to help my health and mood. So I made a list of what I knew would make me feel better on a physical and emotional level. Things that would help fuel me and fortify me for the draining and challenging task of… being a mom.

The list of additional habits I wanted to cultivate started to get pretty long, but I was able to widdle it down to a few things that were totally doable. These focused mostly on my sleep, exercise, diet, and mindset/spirituality.

But this basically narrowed down to two main buckets of topics that I needed to focus on to tend to my needs. My body and soul.

The first I decided to tackle was my body.

Ah, this body. Something I have had love and hatred for throughout my life. From loving my new and fairly large breasts as a teenager because of the attention they got me, to hating those same breasts as a teenager because there was only ONE kind of attention they got me.

Then being a 32-year-old mom whose current breasts are being fully used for their intended purpose in milk production, but don’t look quite as close to the societal standard of what breasts “should” look like anymore. (Hello sagginess.)

Not to mention the constant nagging voice in my head talking about how I’m not thin enough, and each bit of cellulite on my ass and thighs made me just a little bit less lovable and worthy as a human being.

When I first started thinking about self-care as a mom after I had my first child over four years ago, I had a much different approach. Back then I was mostly thinking of it as superfluous and something to add as a bonus to my life instead of something essential to fuel my life.

The idea of working out or eating better was about trying to mold my body into what I (society) thought was acceptable. This meant that exercising or dieting was a penance for my lack of perfection instead of something I did just for me no matter the external outcomes.

I decided it was time to change that. This time it would be about doing what is right for ME, not other people, not society, and not a partner.

This time I vowed to favor practicality in my decisionmaking, which is why I chose to focus on my sleep, exercise, and diet.

(Though I was specifically not interested in a “diet,” but rather just a focus on filling up with super good foods for as much energy as possible… if some cake or chips slipped in there, so be it.)

I did NOT come up with random and arbitrary goals. I created goals that I could create habits around, and I knew these choices would actually feel better based on my own personal experience mixed with science.

So let’s dive right into the first self-care basics goal I set for myself. Next time I’ll get into exercise and diet, but for now… let’s talk sleep! Something that isn’t super sexy or revolutionary, but incredibly necessary.

Let’s talk about the overtired elephant in the bedroom for moms. Sleep.

Eight hours of sleep is like the quest for the Holy Grail for moms, but I decided to take on the challenge anyway. As a mom whose twins still do not regularly sleep through the night I know it seemed like a Herculean task, but it turned out to be super simple and hinge on just one thing.

In order to get those eight hours of sleep, I needed to actually be in bed for around 10 hours every single night. Since my kids usually wake up between 6am-7pm, that meant I needed to be in bed by 9 pm every night.

Why 10 hours in bed? Because chances are I would have to be up for at least one cumulative hour each night. If I am in bed for 10 hours then I will likely end up getting 8-9 hours of sleep.

I know. This might sound extreme. It’s so tempting to get in your Netflix binges or other adulting during the late hours of the day/night, but I found that by ensuring I skipped those evening indulgences I could be better rested the next day.

Being more rested during the day meant I was more productive, got more done, and then had more energy to actually enjoy the adult indulgences I DID have, perhaps while my kids were napping or watching their own Disney Junior TV binges on rainy days.

While I do cherish this early bedtime for myself, I make exceptions because life happens.

For example, this a few Saturdays ago I stayed up until around 11 pm because my daughter was happily playing with the neighbor kids until late into the night as their mom and I drank wine. So I totally let that bedtime slip because summer fun sometimes takes precedence. But the fact that at least 6 of 7 days a week I stick pretty closely to my self-imposed bedtime, I can handle the occasional late night.

Then this last Saturday, my bestie cousin and I went to the Ren Faire (yes we are nerds and we totally dressed up). It was our mom night away. So we stayed up until the super late hours of around 11pm again. Yeah we are party animals.

I hope the point you get here is that you don’t have to be dogmatic or stuck in stone with the choices you make. You CAN have some flexibility. Rules were meant to be broken.

BUT if everyone broke the rules all the time our world would be chaos.

The same goes for our own worlds. We can bend or break rules we create for our own well-being from time to time, but if we totally ignore self-care basics forever… we’re gonna be on the fast track to a hot mess express.

Our bodies are how we navigate this world.

They are our home. They are the place we reside. They are also our car. The vehicle that gets us to where we need to go.

Just like your car, you need to make sure it has gas and periodically the oil is changed, tires rotated, inspected, etc. Let’s at least take as good a care of our bodies as we do with our car. We can’t trade it in when we want a new one, unfortunately.

I have had to accept that this is the body I am stuck with. There are some awesome part and some not so awesome parts. Like being short… It’s cute and all, but reaching the top shelves is a bitch…

In the next installment of this series on self-care basics I get deeper into how and why I have (at least somewhat) learned to accept my body and truly become body positive when it comes to how I feel about myself and my body.

But for now, let’s just accept on face value that our body deserves the same, if not more attention, than a car or even our home?

Like our car or our home, we CAN delay or ignore the general maintenance that is needed for some time. We can skip cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes for a night because we are running late for a hot date with our partner. Maybe we can delay our oil change for a couple of weeks because life is really busy right now.

Eventually, those delays will catch up with us. (Take it from someone who forgot to get an oil change for like 6 months then had to drop $3k on an entirely new engine the good ole Kia. Yep. It was me.)

So it is from this angle that I have approached not just my sleep situation, but my entire view of my body. There IS an aspect of my body that I view as beautiful, sexy, hot, voluptuous, and more.

But this view of my body is a new perspective, and it is one of utility.

That is why we are starting with a discussion of sleep. This is the place it all seems to begin for us moms. All our poor decisions and lack of self-care begin and end with our lack of sleep.

Like it says in that Motherly article I mentioned before, the deficit we have in terms of missing sleep is often so huge that we could sleep for years and never catch up.

The advice I am trying to fulfill is one as old as parenting it seems, and that is the “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

As I mentioned earlier, I try to be in bed by 9 pm because that is what ensures that I get a solid 8 hours of sleep in. This has been the case since my kids were newborns, especially my twins! Imagine getting up double in the night. It was surprisingly easier than I anticipated because of the fact that when it was bedtime, I literally went to bed with them.

Side Note: Discussions on bedsharing are a whole other topic, but suffice to say that after consistently falling asleep with my first child during night time feedings in a rocking chair, which is statistically less safe than bedsharing, I brought her to bed (with some safety precautions). I never looked back, and then decided to just have a family bed with all kids cuddling me each night.

Whether you literally go to bed WITH your children, or you just go to your own separate bed at the same time as your children is not really the point.

The point is that you are in a bed for a pretty large chunk of time.

With my twins, I went to bed with them at around 7 pm in the early days. My then 3-year-old came along too. We would eat snacks in bed and watch TV for an hour or so until we drifted off to sleep too.

Then I would usually be up around 10pm, 12am, 2pm, 4am, and 6am, or something like that. But as I said before, I would usually get a cumulative 8 hours of sleep or more.

There were, of course, days then and days now when I wake up exhausted, but they are few and far between. In fact, I wake up with more energy now that I did before I was a mom going to bed at 11 pm-12 am each night and not waking up until 8-9 am.

This isn’t going to be equally easy for everyone. Some moms don’t have a partner to lean on like I do. All those nights when I went to be at 7pm? My husband was up cleaning. I have a cushy situation here where I have a partner, and he actually helps me co-parent plus take care of the home.

Some moms work night shift and then take over childcare as soon as they get off. Life is tough sometimes, and more sleep is a luxury that literally isn’t available to some moms. Even focusing on self-care basics is hard for some moms.

But I will challenge most of you to look at your time in the evenings and see if you go to bed just a *little* earlier. Is that extra 15 minutes (or 2 hours) of scrolling Facebook really worth it?

And if you have hobbies or valuable time you spend in the evening with your partner, how can you optimize that time? Like instead of hanging with your partner for an hour watching TV every night, can you go to bed earlier and then have a legit date one night a week?

Just think about it. See how you can actually do that old and tired, but still true, saying about sleeping when the baby (or kids) sleep.

What’s Next?

When we talk about our body and what it needs, besides sleep, we need to feed it and exercise it, focusing on self-care basics.

So in the next edition of this little series, I’ll talk about the diet and exercise changes I made that have helped me stop GAINING weight and lose almost 10 pounds so far without really trying.

But this isn’t about weight in terms of feeling crappy about my belly being a little too chubby according to unattainable beauty standards. Which of course is always something I’m working on. The feeling happy and loving with the body I have… not trying to reach unattainable and useless societal standards.

This is about losing that extra bit of weight that just mades you feel uncomfortable and bloaty. Ya know when you can still fit in all your clothes, but they just feel pinchy and weird? That’s what I mean here.

There were just a few simple self-care changes I made to the way I eat and move my body that have had a huge impact! Can’t wait to share more self-care basics.

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Must-Try Foods for Picky Toddlers They’ll Actually Eat

Must-Try Foods for Picky Toddlers They’ll Actually Eat

If you're trying to get your little one to be more adventurous with their eating, these foods for picky toddlers are a great place to start! We all know what it's like to slave over a delicious and nutritious meal only for our little ones to push it away and stick...

Creating a Baby Registry on Amazon

Creating a Baby Registry on Amazon

The best thing new parents can do when shopping for their bundle of joy is creating a baby registry on Amazon. In this post we will talk about all the pro's and con's of creating a baby registry on Amazon and how to do it. But first, let's talk about what a baby...

Gratitude is the Attitude Moms Need + How to Get it

Gratitude is the Attitude Moms Need + How to Get it

Gratitude is the attitude many of us WANT to cultivate as a mom, but we have so much on our minds, and sometimes remembering how much we have to appreciate and be grateful for gets put on the backburner. While gratitude is the attitude we know we *should* be focusing...

What is Self-Care for Moms, and Why is it Important?

What is Self-Care for Moms, and Why is it Important?

Self-care for moms is more important than for most other people on the planet. Being a mom is like having 2.5 jobs, and a lot of us have jobs on top of that! When will we take self-care for moms seriously? There are countless memes about how moms are exhausted and...

Is Mom Guilt a Good Thing?

Is Mom Guilt a Good Thing?

We've all felt the mom guilt, haven't we? The mom guilt and the mom-shaming seems to be at epic levels, but have we ever stopped to consider if there might be some good to be found inside the messy mom guilt? The other day I posted on my personal Facebook profile...

Learn from a Child to Be a Better Parent

Learn from a Child to Be a Better Parent

We exepect our children to learn from us, but there is so much we can  learn from a child. Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, "The soul is healed by being with children," and nothing could be more true, even if having children is also one of the hardest things you can do it's...

Teaching Kids to Share is Hard, and I Don’t Force It

Teaching Kids to Share is Hard, and I Don’t Force It

Before having kids I thought I totally knew what teaching kids to share was all about, but now that I'm a parent it is a whole lot harder than I anticipated. Sometimes doing what's best doesn't fit into societal expectations, and that's what makes teaching kids to...

Vacationing with Kids: Is it Even Worth It?

Vacationing with Kids: Is it Even Worth It?

After spending 10 days driving from Pennsylvania to Orlando, FL for our very first Disney vacation as a family, I am starting to wonder, is vacationing with kids even worth it? It was just a few days after we got back from a recent trip to Disney World when I was...

30 Best Wooden Toys for Kids and Babies on Amazon

30 Best Wooden Toys for Kids and Babies on Amazon

If your kids (or you) are feeling a bit of sensory overload with all the colorful, plastic, and noisy toys, these 30 best wooden toys for kids and babies will simplify the playroom. Wooden toys for kids made out of natural woods bring a sense of peace and calm to play...

I Stopped Trying to Be a Perfect Mom to Be a Happy Mom

I Stopped Trying to Be a Perfect Mom to Be a Happy Mom

Raise your hand if you have ever felt like crap about yourself for not being perfect. 🙋🏻‍♀️ Me too. In fact, I've spent most of my life in a constant state of fear that everyone will find out that I am (GASP!) not perfect. On the surface, this sounds ridiculous. I...

Best Diaper Bag for Twins from Real Twin Parents

Best Diaper Bag for Twins from Real Twin Parents

We were on the hunt for the best diaper bag for twins. Our trusty old diaper bag has finally called it quits after five years of service, and it's now time to shop for a new one for the twins (plus an almost 5-year-old). My husband and I have scoured the webs for the...

Self-Care Ideas for Moms (From a Dad and Teacher)

Self-Care Ideas for Moms (From a Dad and Teacher)

These self-care ideas for moms are must-know if you are one of those people who craves alone time and doesn't know what to do with it when you get it! Ironically, it's a dad who is going to share some of these essential self-care strategies with us today. Taking care...

Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

We could talk about the health benefits for mom and baby which most people point to, but there are other reasons to consider why breastfeeding is important. Breastfeeding is a complicated topic in mom culture today. While we are in a sort of renaissance when it comes...

Teaching Kids to Cook, Getting Started

Teaching Kids to Cook, Getting Started

Teaching kids to cook has a ton of benefits for parents and kids. While it may seem daunting to let your little ones take on the responsibility of helping prepare meals, it is totally doable. Most parents make sure that the entire kitchen is baby-proofed and safe for...

Mom Hack: Knowing Baby Developmental Leaps

Mom Hack: Knowing Baby Developmental Leaps

Dealing with cranky kids is rough, but if you want to take those extra fussy baby days in stride then knowing baby developmental leaps is essential! We've all been there. Our sweet little squish is the most calm and cool kid ever... until they're not. You wake up one...

5 Tips for How to Give Birth Naturally Without Pain

5 Tips for How to Give Birth Naturally Without Pain

Want to know how to give birth naturally without pain? Awesome! It IS possible to greatly reduce discomfort during birth. These are the five best ways. Before we dive into specific natural childbirth techniques for relaxation and feeling more comfortable in birth,...

What are the Baby Blues After Birth?

What are the Baby Blues After Birth?

One thing they never tell you about is the baby blues after birth. Sure, you’ve heard of postpartum depression, but the baby blues? It’s almost a little secret of postpartum that stays hidden... until you’re going through it. (Quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I'm...

Sleep Training Without Cry It Out Method

Sleep Training Without Cry It Out Method

Is sleep training without cry it out method even possible? It sounds like sleep training without cry it out method is a dream, but it can work! If you’ve been looking for an extremely gentle way to encourage sleep in your baby without the tears, this one’s for you....

How to Prepare for Twins, 5 Tips from a TwinMom

How to Prepare for Twins, 5 Tips from a TwinMom

Once you get past the shock of having twins, you can start to go a little bonkers with figuring out how to prepare for twins. To be honest, you will never be completely ready for becoming a twinmom, but these are the five best tips for how to prepare for twins.  ...

Clearing Clutter Where to Start

Clearing Clutter Where to Start

It's so easy to get buried in stuff when you're a parent. Kids have so many things! Combine that with yours and a partner's? The clutter can easily get out of control. That's why today we are going to talk about clearing clutter, where to start. Mia Danielle joins me...

Two Shirt Method: How to Discreetly Breastfeed in Public

Two Shirt Method: How to Discreetly Breastfeed in Public

Learning to breastfeed as a new mom can be challenging, and when it comes to breastfeeding in public, things can get awkward pretty quickly when you aren’t very experienced at it. But there is a super simple trick to low-key nursing in public, it’s called the two shirt method.

Having a Motherhood Identity Crisis?

Having a Motherhood Identity Crisis?

Becoming a mother for the first (or second, third, fourth, five...) time is life-changing and beautiful, but it can also lead to a motherhood identity crisis. People say your life is over when you have children. I tried to deny it. I tried to fight it. I tried to...

Nourishing Your Body (Simple Self-Care Part 3)

Nourishing Your Body (Simple Self-Care Part 3)

How often do we think about our body as either a baby-making factory or something that needs to snap back into pre-baby shape? We are either feeding our bodies to feed our growing babies, or trying to morph it into something it resembled before a human incubated...

Learning to Love Your Body as a Mom

Learning to Love Your Body as a Mom

Who else struggles with learning to love your body? I know I’m not the only one, right? As we try to change the way we view moms and postpartum bodies, so many times we are still just learning to love our bodies ourselves.

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids with One Simple Tip

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids with One Simple Tip

We've all been there, right? There are few people who can push our buttons like those little cherubs known as... our kids. But we also know that keeping our cool is key to being the parent we want to be. Try this one simple tip on how to stop yelling at your kids....

Being a Mother is the Best Feeling. What Could Compare?

Being a Mother is the Best Feeling. What Could Compare?

It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of motherhood, but being a mother is the best feeling. This whirlwind of diapers, sticky hands, bath times, bedtimes, routines, schedules that are thrown out the window, baby pools, and more is exquisite even if it's so hard. I...

Skin Care Products for Breastfeeding Moms

Skin Care Products for Breastfeeding Moms

Which skin care products for breastfeeding moms are best? Which ingredients should you avoid, and what is considered safe? This will get you started in your research into which skin care products to use while breastfeeding.

How to Be a Better Parent with Personal Development

How to Be a Better Parent with Personal Development

How many time have you agonized over losing it and yelling at your kids, or felt guilty over all the screen time they are getting lately? It's normal if you tend to wonder how you can be a better parent. This is a tough job. Karen Hewitt shares in this episode of...

Forgiving Yourself for Parenting Mistakes

Forgiving Yourself for Parenting Mistakes

We’ve all thought it at least one, right? The question: “Am I screwing up my kids?” The truth is… yes. To some extent. We all are. Because we can’t do this job perfectly and it’s time we learn that forgiving yourself for parenting mistakes is not just ok, but essential.

Weight Loss for Busy Moms: How to Start Your Healthy Journey

Weight Loss for Busy Moms: How to Start Your Healthy Journey

Moms are under so much pressure to not just be the best mother possible, but to look like society's idea of perfection while doing it. It can be really hard to both love ourselves exactly as we are while also wanting to be healthy and happy. Jai Murphy, certified...

How to Enjoy Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

How to Enjoy Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

For a lot of moms (and dads), being able to stay at home with the kids and ditch the 9-5 sounds like a fantasy. But once you’re actually at home with those kids 24/7, it can get a little monotonous (and chaotic) to say the least. It can be hard to actually enjoy it. So here are our 10 best tips on how to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom.

25 Inspirational Mom Quotes

25 Inspirational Mom Quotes

25 of the best inspirational mom quotes for motivation, inspiration and commiseration. Enjoy these inspiration quotes mamas.1.The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. -Honore de Balzac 2. One of the greatest titles...

What Do Moms Want for Mother’s Day? (This Mom Shares the Truth)

What Do Moms Want for Mother’s Day? (This Mom Shares the Truth)

Been wondering... what do moms wants for Mother's Day? Some people are just sooo hard to buy for, and while this is just my personal opinion, I'm about to let you off the hook and clue you in on what moms want for Mother's Day.This might be shocking to some, so...

Are Royal Births Different Than Ours?

Are Royal Births Different Than Ours?

Have you seen this meme? It's a glowing Meghan Markle with Prince Harry and the newest royal baby, Archie on one side. On the other side, is a typical family at the hospital after a birth, with mom rockin' some of our fav mesh panties.   There is no doubt that...

The best way to practice self-care is to be super practical and focus on simple self-care methods that work! No elaborate plans or babysitters, just focusing on refilling your cup and making sure you\'re in the best condition possible to be the best mom. Simple self-care for moms is all about focusing on necessity.