We all understand that we should fill up our own cup before we can help others, but that's not always attainable. While we wish we had an hour each day to devote to our own health and wellness, we can take a couple of minutes to do something that makes us feel more like, well, us.

Mamas shared their go-to self-care hacks on Chairman Mom for those days when you don't have the time, but you need a pick-me-up on the go.

Here's what works for them.

1. "I find that even stepping away for a few minutes really helps. If another adult is in the house, just taking a walk around the block."—Sarah

2. "I started making smoothies at night or in the morning and load them with fruits and veggies (usually frozen). Perhaps it's mental, but I usually feel more energetic and productive knowing I'm getting some nutritional value out them and I really enjoy them too! It's something super small to look forward but hey, sometimes it's the little things..."—Mengel

3. "I threw on a face mask that my friend brought me from South Korea."—Liz

4. "I make an epsom salt bath for myself and get in the bath with my toddler during night time. If I don't want to get all the way into the tub, I'll still sit on a stool and put my feet in the bath while my toddler splashes around."—Sarah

5. "5-10 min YouTube Yoga."—Ancean

6. "I have little accu-balls (pressure balls) that I roll my feet around on."—Sarah

7. "I find sitting outside even for 5-10 min with coffee and breakfast feels great before I have to spend the day in a cubicle. If I have time I'll do the same thing in the evening with some wine."—Nicole

8. "I think listening to music that YOU love is also a kind of self-care."—Amy

9. "It's such a small thing, but at the end of a really long day, I like to do my nighttime routine (wash face, apply skincare, brush teeth) by candlelight with soft music playing. The simple act of shutting the door, lighting a few candles, and putting phone on airplane mode + Peaceful Piano playlist makes even something as mundane as brushing your teeth feel positively spa-like."—NMP

10. "Playing music I like and dancing around for my own joy."—Sarah

11. "I put my headphones in, my shades on and just completely space out. Feels so relaxing, especially in the middle of the workday."—Petya

12. "I sometimes play a 4-minute meditation / yoga nidra soundtrack while lying on the floor (this is a theme for me, it seems) during dinner time while my toddler is hungriest and actually eating."—Sarah

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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