Here's what I bought.
Remember that time you got 8 full hours of sleep, spent the whole day at the spa, and just fully prioritized your self-care? Me neither. Didn't happen. But here's what I do remember: Giving myself a 2-minute "time out" recently in my laundry room to breathe deeply, after one of my 3-year-old twins described me as "stressed out" (I didn't even realize he knew that term), and my sweet, empathetic 7-year-old then bringing over a crumpled scrap of paper that read, "Mom, I hope you get a spa day soon."
I remember that day because it was the moment when I realized that my stress level, my exhaustion and my perpetual dismissal of self-care was not just affecting me, but my kids as well. It was also the moment I realized that when we think of self-care as selfish, everyone suffers.
If the first hurdle in embracing self-care is understanding that it isn't selfish, then, I would argue, the next challenge is actually figuring out what we, as moms, even want. Seriously—what do you really want? What would translate into a happier, healthier you? What would actually improve your quality of life?
I know my list looks like this:
For me, like a lot of moms, sleep is right up there at the top of the wish list. What if you took your anxiety, chronic pain or whatever else keeps you up at night seriously, and invested in an über-luxurious, crystal weighted blanket? Embrace the natural healing energy of crystals as you feel your troubles dissipate under the comforting weight of this blissful blanket. Everyone around you will thank you for it.
I wish I could always be the type of mom I am right after a long bath. When I do actually manage to carve out the time for a real, deep soak, it is so restorative. I can reflect. I can physically feel the tension slip away from my body. I'm a calmer, more rational parent than I was pre-bath. And, after a long soak, my back can handle two more piggyback rides for each of my kids. This kit by Maude has the bath products that truly help you relax while your skin gets the nourishment it craves, so that you can be the mom you want to be.
If "unwind" isn't the right term, I don't know what is. After all, aren't all of us mamas feeling tightly "wound" from the stress of everyday life? Not only can your body "unwind" with this lotion by Seascape, but your mind can rest at ease, too. That's because it is ethically sourced, suitable for vegetarians, never tested on animals, and free of paraben, silicone, petroleum, and SLS. We aren't the only ones who have taken notice of Seascape—the UK beauty and travel industry has recognized this amazing brand 43 times for product quality and performance, including with 13 "WINNER" awards for best in category.
It took me years to invest in high-quality clothing. Until recently, I was always the person who would waste $200 on eight different flimsy robes, rather than just buying the one, $126 robe that would last for years and have the look and feel I was really seeking in the first place. I learned over time that it's best to go for the quality item the first go-around. This robe is not just soft cotton, it's the softest. It takes care of you while you take care of the fam. You've earned it, mama.
A concluding, personal tidbit on self-care:
One thing that my (now almost 95-year-old) grandmother has told me a number of times over the years has always stuck with me—when serving grapes to her then-little boys, she'd only allow herself to eat the less appealing grapes that had already fallen to the bottom of the bowl. In fact, she called those the "mother grapes." The idea, I suppose, was that the best offerings are never for mom. I didn't understand that story growing up, but now, as a mom myself, I get it, and it makes me sad.
Why do we relegate ourselves to the "mother grapes?" We all do it. We are strong women, we are feminists in the truest sense, but we do it. Why? Because selflessness is a part of the job of being mama. But what I urge moms to remember is that it's not all of the job. You can be selfless all day with your kiddos, and then practice self-care at night. You can wake up after just four hours of sleep to make pancakes from scratch for your munchkins, but you can do it in a great robe. After all, aren't selfless mamas the ones who need and deserve self-care the most?
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