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A Mom’s Guide to Self-Care

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When I worked outside the house, I got dressed for work. Every moment I was home, I was in sweats, a t-shirt, no make-up, and my hair in a messy bun.  When I first became a stay at home mom, it got worse. A lot worse.  I gave up on myself.  Having a newborn and caring for a toddler is exhausting. No sleep, endless nights, even longer days. The children would not get on the same schedule. I wish I knew then what I know now.  I would have asked for help.  Someone to show me how to care for myself while caring for them. What I needed was a guide to remind me to care for myself and why I need to without feeling selfish or guilty.

Now, it has been over a year since I became a stay at home mom.  I am now a work at home mom. I chopped off my long hair to an inverted bob because it’s easier to manage.  For me, being comfortable is the key. Leggings are my go-to item. This way, I am comfortable and not being a bum. At least not all the time. My morning routine is set in stone and life has become easier.

My morning consists of writing, coffee, yoga, bottles, sippy cups, and diapers. Not too bad?  Wait, I can’t forget running the sweeper, making the beds, getting my other children (my two kittens) breakfast, and cleaning out the litter box. Plus, I get my husband off to work.  I pray that my 3-year-old daughter sleeps past 5:30 a.m. so I can be just a tad bit more productive. Although, it usually doesn’t happen.

Truthfully, my morning is hands down the most productive time for me.  If you are not a morning person then that’s fine. These 8 self-care techniques can be implemented at any time throughout the day.   I have learned to set aside time in the morning, at night, and a brief ten minutes when my husband gets home from work to take care of myself.  All moms need “me” time.  Whether it’s just a second to breathe or to be able to load the washer in peace. It’s those little moments that let me recollect myself.  Every mom needs that time to take a second and remember that all the stress is worth it. With that being said, I give you A Mom’s Guide To Self-Care.

Guess what Mom?!  There are ways to take care of yourself.  I’m not saying to take a weekend off and go to a spa. While that does sound nice. For most moms, it’s simply not possible anytime soon, if ever.  Still, self-care is a necessity for all people, even you, mom

It doesn’t matter what ages your children are, you still need to practice self-care. Mothers are busy people. A mom puts her family first all the time.  As a mom, you need to take care of yourself in order to properly care for your family. With that in mind, here are a few things that every mom needs to remember.

    • Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is necessary.
    • If mom is not happy, no one is happy.
    • The home revolves around mom.  If you are unable to care for everyone and everything, your house is utter chaos.
  • Everyone needs a break, no matter how small. That includes MOM!

With all of that in mind, here are a few strategies that all mom’s need to implement from time to time.  Plus, a recovery tip under each self-care strategy for A Recovering Mom’s Guide to Self-Care. That’s why we are here in the first place, right?

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1. Time Out

This can be taken in a couple different ways. First, take a moment for yourself. As a mom, you deserve it. You spend all day taking care of everyone else and the house and the pets and working. You are probably thinking about pulling your hair out.  Instead, take a timeout.

Instead of doing a load of laundry or folding the towels. Go to the laundry room and just sit down, close your eyes, and breathe. Try not to think about the million things that still need to be done. Take a damn break.  Seriously.

The second way you can implement a timeout is on your children.  I don’t mean to make them sit in the corner while you take a nap.  If your baby is screaming bloody murder and you just can’t take it anymore.  Put your baby in her crib and walk away for ten minutes.  It will give you a moment to reassess the situation and calm down.  Moms get stressed out.  Even though we are superwomen, it is hard to wear a cape all the time.

Recovery Tip: Let’s hit the recovery side of our lives for a quick moment.  If we let ourselves crazy and out of control, it’s a trigger for relapse. If you give yourself a timeout.  You will feel better. Don’t let yourself fall into that downward spiral once again.  You deserve much better. Those kids deserve their mom.  You are a Sober SuperMom and be proud of it.  You got this.  Make sure you know it!

2.  Help

It is alright to ask for help.  Everyone needs it sometimes.  Don’t be ashamed to take your friend or relative up on that offer they made to watch your children. Go to the movies with a friend. One night, go to dinner with your husband and no kids.

My husband and I are exhausted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Work + Kids = Our life and very little sleep  One day I asked my mother to take the kids for a few hours so, my husband and I could go out. Do you know what we did?  We came back home and went to sleep for about 4 hours.  It was wonderful, something that we both needed and appreciated. Does my mother know we did this? Of course not and she doesn’t need to.  All she knows is she gave us a wonderful day.  It truly was perfect and much-needed.

Recovery Tip:In recovery, something we had to learn was that it’s alright to ask for help.  That being said, if you are in long-term recovery or even new in recovery – asking for help should come naturally. People would not offer to help if they did not want to.  Plus, people like taking other people’s kids for one simple reason.  They can always give them back.



3. Eating Clean

One way to feel better about yourself is to eat healthier.  This is common sense but, that does not mean that we practice it as we should. Eating clean or healthy gives you more energy as well as improves your overall health.  As a mom, we could all use more energy.

It’s not a lie that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It gives you the energy you need to get up and get moving.  Plus, if you eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of gorging on a few large meals, you will feel better.

I’m not telling you to go on a diet but, many mothers do complain of gaining weight after they have had children. Don’t be one of those women that assume you are going to get fat and sloppy the older that you get.  That is not true!  If you start to eat better, you will lose weight. Heck, maybe you need to gain weight. Eating healthy will improve your health either way. If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Recovery Tip:After years of not eating right, we need to take care of ourselves. We know that willingly putting poison into our bodies was not healthy at all but, did we care?  Not at all.  So now that we are clean and sober. Why don’t we take it to the extreme and only put healthy food into our bodies? Fruits, vegetables, protein, and water. There’s a bit more to it but, let’s take it to heart. Hmmm….I’m beginning to think of a 30-day challenge. Stay tuned for what I have in mind.  🙂

4.  Exercise

Who didn’t know that this was coming next?  It’s a no-brainer. Exercise and eating healthy will make you feel better, leave you less stressed out.  If you are a mother of little ones that are home with you all day, it may seem impossible to exercise.  I’m no telling you to do 100 pushups and situps while your baby is napping.  The weather will be getting warmer so, you can take the kids for a walk in the stroller.  Not only will you feel more energized, but your children will also love it.

Actually, one of my favorite things I recently started is yoga.  I love it.  It makes me feel better.  I’ve only been practicing yoga for a few weeks and I already can feel results.  I’m sleeping better.  My body doesn’t feel tight and in the need of a good massage.  Yoga does make you feel better.

My 3-year-old daughter does yoga with me.  She loves it.  When Daddy gets home from work, she shows him her yoga moves.  She is a lot more flexible than me.  It takes 15 minutes out of our morning.  Not bad at all.  At the end of our yoga session, I let her show me a few moves of her own. She is so proud.  Yoga is beneficial for us both. Plus, we are building a bond.

Recovery Tip: Exercise and eating healthy, that’s a new one.  A healthy living plan (exercise and diet) is just like our recovery.  It’s something we must work at. Learn to implement into our daily lives. After doing it for so long, it becomes a habit, a routine that we do without thinking.  Just like we woke up every day to do our dope first thing. Not a second thought about it. Well, that has changed. Let’s change the rest of our lives. As mothers, we need to be healthy.  Our children need us to live forever, let’s not make our time here shorter than it has to be.

5.  Sleep

Moms are exhausted, plain and simple.  We need to get enough sleep.  I get up at 4 a.m. or closer to 5, it all depends on my children waking up. Although, I do go to sleep between 8 – 9 p.m. every night.  That’s what time our children go to bed and we don’t argue with them.  We are out just as quickly as they are.

If you are cranky, irritable, and snappy.  Chances are you might need more sleep. You can try to get your children to take a nap at the same time if that’s even possible. Then, instead of catching up on blogging or housework, go to sleep with them. When I lie down with my kids, they sleep longer. Heck, I’ve gotten so used to sleeping with my youngest, that I need him to fall asleep at night. Thank goodness, he’s only turning one. I still have a couple of years to break this habit, for the both of us.

If you absolutely can’t sleep during nap time.  Ask your hubby to let you crash for a half an hour.  You will be amazed at how much better you feel.  He’s exhausted too so, simply return the favor.

Recovery Tip:The only thing I have to say about this is this.  In addiction, we didn’t sleep.  One of my favorite sayings was “I’ll have time to sleep when I die”.  I didn’t want to miss out on any chance to get money or get dope. Sleep only happened when I could not hold my eyes open anymore.  When I was dope sick, I couldn’t sleep a wink. I’m sure in early recovery, you caught up on all the sleep you needed.  Well, now it’s recovery from working your ass off as a mom.  Time to catch up on sleep and self-care once again.

mom self care

6.  Alone Time

No lie, we all need alone time. As a mom, it could be ten minutes. But that ten minutes could be the difference to whether or not you go off the deep end. Everyone needs time to themselves. A moment each day to sit back, collect your thoughts, think of all the things you are grateful for, and how to tackle the day’s tasks.

My “me” time is each morning when I go down into the basement to have my first cup of coffee and the first cigarette of the day. It can be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on what time it is, or if the baby is up, or if daddy is running late for work.

Since I work from home as a writer.  I get up anywhere between 2 and 4 in the morning.  My kids get up early.  Yet, that extra few hours really gives me a jump-start on the day and I love it.

Recovery Tip:There is a difference between alone time and isolation or solitude. Do not hibernate and try to seclude yourself from society. Although, sometimes moms do just that but, not intentionally.  If you got babies and stay at home – your only human contact might be your family.  This is not good for your mental state, especially in early recovery. You need to have support outside of the home. Be sure to differentiate “me” time and isolation. It’s a dangerous world in an addict’s mind.  Even those in recovery.  Having too much time to think can quickly lead to actions with negative consequences.



7.  Prayer

People have the habit of only praying to God or a Higher Power when they are in trouble or they need something. No matter what religion you are or what you believe in.  Most of us believe in a power greater than ourselves.  I mean someone or something that is equal to us, couldn’t have created us, right?

The point is if you pray every day, you feel better.  Both mentally and spiritually. You don’t always have to be asking for something.  In prayer, simply talk to your higher power. Tell your higher power how grateful you are for your life and the things in it.  You will be amazed how much different you feel if you start doing this on a regular, consistent basis.

Recovery Tip:In recovery, the 12 Step Program tells you that the first step is to believe in a power greater than yourself.  Now, I don’t do the NA thing or AA for that matter.  I’m going to tell you how I personally do things.  Not that you want to know but, I’ll share it anyway.

Seriously, though.  In my addiction, in your addiction – I’m sure you have done a lot of fucked up things that you are not proud of.  Things that make you cry when you think about them or even situations that make your skin crawl when you think of it.  Even though it’s in the past, it will always be in the back of our mind.  

I tell God, a God of my understanding, all the things that I am sorry for. The cruel things that I wish I could take back.  The fact of the matter is that I can’t change what I’ve done.  So, I ask for forgiveness. Not only from God but from the people I hurt.  I ask if he could help send those people a message that I am thinking about them and I apologize from the depths of my soul.   

Now that I’ve been clean and sober for years.  I tell God how grateful I am for my children.  That my family loves me and has accepted me despite everything I’ve done.  I tell him how much I love my life and everybody in it.  This is one of my reasons for creating this blog.  I feel it is my destiny to help those that have to go through the hell I have been through.  Even though, it’s the hell I put myself through.  

When I get upset thinking about the horror of my past, praying helps me.  Praying is part of my self-care.

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8.  Personal Interests

Every women, man, child needs something to take their mind off of everyday life. Some type of creative outlet.  For example, children play make-believe. Men work on cars, do woodwork, etc.  Women write, do crafts, garden, read, etc! Everyone needs something!  It will help you to feel at ease. Even if the whole time you are gardening, you may be thinking about stressful situations but, pounding that dirt is relieving your aggression.  You see what I’m saying?

Recovery Tip:In addiction, our one and only coping skill was to get high.  To be truthful, all we did was get high. Our old hobbies and interest went out the window.  Ultimately, it was nothing more than self-destruction.  Now we must find other methods to cope.  Such as doing something that we love.  As mentioned above, hobbies are not only great self-care practices but amazing recovery tools for coping.

Break Down

Every man or woman needs to take out time to care for themselves, especially mothers.  I have no idea why people believe that a stay at home mom spends all day watching talk shows and soap operas while indulging on bonbons. That’s bullshit. My children’s father will be the first to admit that he could not do what I do.

Being a mom is hard work, very hard work. We all need a little self-care.  Such as to indulge in pampering ourselves once in a while. Whether it be reading a book for 20 minutes or taking a nice hot bath without interruptions, it’s something us mamas NEED to do.

Furthermore, when we are mothers recovering from addiction, self-care becomes even more important.  When things get rough, our brains automatically tell us to take a drink or a hit.  That is no longer an option for us.  If we don’t practice self-care techniques, our potential for a relapse increases.  It’s an everyday struggle. Even though we may not think about using every day.  It is still something that lingers in the back of our mind.  Unfortunately, one little slip up could cost us the amazing life we now have.

Many mothers have a glass of wine to help them wind down at the end of the day, a night-cap if you will. Yet, as a mom in recovery, we can NOT do that. That is exactly why this Mom’s Guide To Self-Care comes in handy. Although, we may know ways to care for ourselves. It sure doesn’t hurt to see it all written down to give us a reminder of what we should be doing.

mom self care - mommy time

If you have any self-care practices or recovery tips that should be added! Please post a comment and tell me what you think!  What self-care practices do you do?

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

I am NOT a licensed therapist. For immediate help call the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Adminstration’s 1-800-662-HELP. It's a free 24/7 service for ppl facing mental +/or substance use disorders.Or you can use the online treatment locator HERE.

Comments

  1. I full heartedly agree with all of these points. It’s so important for Mom to take care of herself so that she can take care of the rest of the family. Self care is one of the best things she can do for everyone!

    • Exactly, and sadly moms often forget about caring for themselves because they are so worried about taking care of everyone else. If you are a mom in recovery, you must take care of yourself! It is necessary for the well-being of the entire family. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Great post! When I was a first time mum I was no make up, messy bun. When I was due my second I went to the hairdresser and had it cut into a bob. Best thing I had done. Makes me want to put make up on and dress nicely. We have to look after us too!

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