Menu

5 self-care strategies for busy moms

Going beyond spa days and manicures.

5 self-care strategies for busy moms

By Ashley Abeles

As mothers, we are tasked with countless responsibilities. We are often balancing parenthood, career, relationships and more. Additionally, we face pressure to emulate an unrealistic image of motherhood, one that we see on diaper boxes and baby commercials. Those imaginary women are able to do it all—flawlessly, and with perfect hair. Many of us, perhaps unknowingly, absorb this expectation and hold ourselves to that standard.

The problem? It is unachievable.

When we set our bar at an unattainable height, we will undoubtedly fall short. The result is a hearty dose of mom-guilt with an extra side of shame. When we combine these feelings with all of our motherhood duties, it is no surprise that many women feel depleted. While juggling obligations, it can be challenging to find the time or resources to recharge ourselves. Furthermore, in the throes of mom-guilt, it is easy to feel undeserving of self-care.

Many women believe that, by caring for themselves, they are taking something away from their families. This could not be further from the truth.

In order to meet the needs of others, our own needs must also be met. An empty well cannot yield water. Practicing self-care is not an act of selfishness; it is a necessity. We must remember that we are not prioritizing our wellness above our families. We are prioritizing our wellness for our families. Self-care allows us to be the best versions of ourselves—for us and for those we love.

Rest assured that self-care is not only spa days and manicures, as lovely as those can be. Simple daily practices and adjustments to our perspectives may also serve as self-care. Wellness does not need to feel like one more task on an already overwhelming to-do list.

Below are self-care strategies for busy moms that require little-to-no time and do not cost a dime.

1. Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that teaches us to focus our attention on the present moment. Rather than ruminating over the past or planning for the future, we learn to tune into what is happening right now. Meditation has also been associated with reduced stress and anxiety. This is a practical strategy for overbooked moms, who can dedicate as much or as little time as they have available. Positive results may be achieved in only a few minutes a day.

2. Let go of perfectionism

Some of us are perfectionists by nature and others have learned this tendency through social pressures. Regardless of how we adopted perfectionism, it is important to recognize that it is unhealthy for us. When we set unachievable expectations, we are destined to fail.

One of the most caring things we can do is allow ourselves to experience success. This is crucial to our emotional wellbeing, and can only be achieved when we let go of perfectionism. There is no such thing as a perfect mother.

3. Prioritize rest

As busy parents, rest can feel elusive. While there are times when exhaustion is out of our control, there are other times when we have a choice. For instance, when the baby is finally napping, we can choose to do the dishes and respond to work e-mails, or we can choose to give ourselves a break.

While most of us would like for our homes to be immaculate and to be voted employees-of-the-year, we must realize that these are not necessities. Rest, on the other hand, is.

Our children will benefit more from a healthy, replenished mother than from a fresh batch of laundry. Recharging may not always be an option but, when it is, take it.

4. Stop comparing

In this day of social media, we have innumerable opportunities to compare ourselves to others. With the click of a button, we have access to the lives of everyone we know. We may see our mom friends baking homemade bread, hand-sewing Halloween costumes, or running the school fundraiser, and suddenly feel inadequate.

Remember that these are only some of their moments, and likely the best ones. Very few people share their darkest moments. Stop comparing your worst to someone else's best. Social media is not reality and motherhood is not a competition.

5. Be honest

Motherhood can be beautiful, but it can also be lonely. That sense of isolation is frequently rooted in a lack of honesty about parenthood challenges. Because discussions of motherhood are often censored, it can feel that we are the only ones struggling. We change this by being unedited and truthful when sharing our experiences.

Honesty fosters meaningful relationships and helps us to build the villages we so desperately need. Authentic connections are imperative to our wellness and are only developed through honesty. Allow yourself to have those genuine support systems.

Originally posted on HealthyWomen.

You might also like:

14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

Stylish storage cabinet

Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

White board calendar + bulletin board

With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

Bamboo storage drawers

The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

Laminated world map

I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

Letterboard

From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

Expandable tablet stand

Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

Neutral pocket chart

Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

Totable fabric bins

My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

Work + Money

Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

"The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

"A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

Keep reading Show less
News