9 Things That are Not Self-Care
I’ve seen a lot of posts and articles recently that self-care is something that is a fallacy in motherhood and we should just give it up. Many of the points they make in those articles may be in bold down below. Many times, they take the very basic ideas that are spoken about in articles about self-care for moms and expand on them to show how ridiculous it is. While they do have valid points, I have to disagree with many points they make. There are things that moms need to know that is not self-care.
This post will not be going after any of the articles I mentioned reading above, I’m going to validate some of their points. I am also going to expand on them and talk about what self-care is, and what it is not. When you’re a mom of a baby, toddler, or preschooler, it can be a handful to get through the day. Forget taking time for elaborate spa dates or anything grand. You need to find things that are intentional to your day.
The things that I am going to mention are things I’ve seen called out as opportunities for self-care. If they work for you, then keep doing you boo, but for many of us, these things might start with the intention of being self-care, but quickly turn out to be something else.
Grocery shopping & running errands
I have seen many lists that just suggest running your errands as your self-care. The truth is, this can be nice alone time, but how much time are you really focusing on yourself? If you’re battling crowds, trying to remember every last thing you need, and not thinking about the needs and wants of yourself, that is not self-care.
Even if you’re a woman who loves some retail therapy, doing the errands you must do, aren’t fulfilling. Going into the shops that you love, that make you most happy, will bring the most joy to yourself. If you can, fitting them into your errands can interject a little self-care into your day.
There are things you could do during your errands that would put more of a focus on self-care. Stopping at a coffee shop for your favorite drink. Stopping into a shop that you have been wanting to explore. Remember, this time is for you. Do the things that make your soul happy. Things that fill your cup.
Take some extra time, if you can, and go into the shops that you have been wanting to explore, or the shops that are your favorite to wander through. That is where you will find your self-care, not at the grocery store.
The 2-minute shower while kids scream
One of the best ways that we moms try to get in some self-care is in the bath or shower. Yet, with young kids in the house, getting a peaceful shower is like spotting a unicorn in the wild. It isn’t easy to find time to get a relaxing bath time.
It never fails that when I get in the shower Little Miss needs everything all at once and immediately. Her world would come crashing down if I try to take a relaxing shower, forget taking the time to pour a bath for myself. It just can’t happen.
When you do get to pour a nice bath & have some self-care time in there, it’s ruined by the pounding on the door or constant interruptions. That 2 minutes you get to wash your hair & body just don’t cut it as meaningful self-care.
Be intentional with your ‘me-time’ and make it something that really brings you fulfillment.
Washing the dishes or other chores
In the past I have talked about finding time for myself when washing dishes. That example was quite unique to that situation though. It might work for you, it might not. I had been neglecting myself, letting myself get ran ragged. There was no self-care happening, at all. Which, is pretty bad for a self-care blogger.
So. One day, I pulled out my headphones and turned pandora to “Bowling for Soup radio” which gave me a ton of early 2000’s music. I did my dishes, the worst chore in the house, while dancing around my kitchen.
By the time I finished cleaning the kitchen, I was invigorated! I felt like a past version of myself that only comes out here & there. It was amazing self-care while getting chores done.
Yet, even though that one time was so good, I haven’t been able to recreate that same result. Sure, the dishes are done, and I have fun dancing around, but I don’t finish at the same level. It just doesn’t work.
You might be able to make chores a bit more enjoyable, but it’s not the same overall.
Going to bed early
What does this going to bed early thing even mean? Anymore, going to bed early means getting to bed before 1am.
Even in the nights, I would love to go to sleep at 9, something needs to be done. There’s always something that needs my attention before bed.
If you’re forcing yourself to go to bed early and neglecting other things that are vying for your attention, you’re not going to go to bed in the peace of mind that this is what you need and you’re doing it for your own care.
It would be amazing to go to sleep early, but at the end of the day, I have 30,000 things I’m trying to wrap up. I just don’t have the time to make that happen.
Drinking extra water
This is one I saw floating around and it is definitely a struggle point for me. I constantly struggle with the need to be drinking more water. I am, sadly, good at forgetting to drink water the way that I should because I’m too wrapped up in other things that need my attention.
Since this is something we should be doing anyway, it isn’t really the refreshing self-care we are after. Yes, it is a form of self-care, but not the kind that really restores who you are deep within.
Stopping to buy your favorite coffee shop drink, or making a cup of tea, or even having a glass of wine at the end of your day might be your self-care, but if it comes with a screaming child, you’re not getting much out of it.
Overindulgence in sweets
Sweets. My happy place. I love to bake. I love to have sweets around, but I know that overindulging in whatever I have on hand will ultimately make me feel worse about myself.
There is a difference between having a slice of cake and enjoying each decadent bite and grabbing bite after bite, snack after snack until you feel miserable. I’m guilty of doing both. There are times I control myself and really savor every bite and then other times that I grab snack after snack, and make myself feel miserable.
When you indulge in something, make it worth your while. Savor those bites and appreciate their goodness, then move along with your day.
Who here wouldn’t love a luxury vacation? But, fact of the matter is, we can’t always afford them or aren’t able to vacation the way we would like. While we all would love to lounge pool-side at a tropical resort 9 months of the year, it just isn’t practical.
You can’t push off your self-care for some arbitrary time. When you’re feeling like you need something, you need to do it. Don’t wait weeks or months to finally care for yourself. You deserve more.
Plus, I once read that taking you kids on vacation is just taking care of them in a different city and throwing off their schedules. If you’re taking your kids on vacation with you, it’s not much of a vacation for you because you’re still stuck in parenting mode.
A mother being selfish
This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves. Why is there this misconception that mothers that practice self-care are being selfish? We don’t question when dads take time for themselves. They can have golf night, guys night (known in our family as ‘yoga night’ for some reason) or go hide in their Man Cave without question. Yet, when a mom wants to go spend a few minutes applying a face mask to make herself feel pampered, she is somehow selfish.
There is a pang of certain guilt among new moms, who see these “perfect moms” and think they need to be that ‘perfect’ as well. It is that perception of the moms who ‘have it all together’ that makes moms feel like if they take a break and focus on themselves then they’re somehow being selfish with their time.
When you break down the perception of the perfect mom, you realize she thinks she is falling short in so many ways. She has days she cries herself to sleep and feels like she is screwing everything up, or she has help that makes it easier.
This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves. There are so many articles floating around talking about how moms don’t have any time to focus on their needs. That as moms, our children should be absolutely first priority in our lives, and we don’t need anything but to keep our family running.
I call bull on that. That is the best way to find yourself in a major burn out. Put yourself on the list. Make yourself a priority again, and start feeling better about who you are as a mother. Make it happen! You deserve it. Your family deserves it. Your marriage deserves it.