STOP! Before you click the close tab on this article, I know that the title can be a little off-putting, especially to new moms out there. For those of you, who are wrapped up in that baby or toddler stage off, stick with me. I promise it will be worth it.
The first thought you are having is: How am I even supposed to get away from my kids for even two seconds without them destroying stuff, let alone hide in the bathroom to spend time with myself?????
First, let me tell you I get it cause I’ve been there. I have four kids that are all less than 2 years apart from their older sibling, so we were in that crazy stage of life very intensely for awhile.
Second, these are simple methods I found I was able to fit into the pockets of my busy days. For example, you can do a couple of these things quickly: when the baby is napping, the kids are doing homework or playing, brushing their teeth, having screen time, etc.
Each step can take less than 5 minutes. Some literally take 20-30 seconds once you know exactly what you are doing.
When you are ready to put yourself higher on the priority list and give yourself permission to do so, then these 7 steps are a easy way to begin. I’ll be honest at first I was only doing one or two of these, but have worked up to completing all 7 every single day (for the most part).
I remember all too well when I was in that stage of life with all the itty bitty babies and not knowing how I was going to make it through the day. I followed lots of personal growth and self development people who knew how to be successful by starting their days at 5am. And it worked for them, because they were leading the pack. They would get up before the sun and check off a list of 10 things that would set them up for a productive day leading to a successful life.
What I wondered is: Did these people have children? Because I was all about doing the activities that would lead to success BUT some days I wasn’t sleeping at all or I was up at 4 o’clock with the crying baby and then had to try to figure how to fall back asleep. Sometimes, the baby would be up for an hour in the middle of the night and as soon as I fell back asleep another child would wake up for the day at 5am. Sure, I was part of the 5am club, but not by choice.
As the kids were getting older and more independent, I found I could sneak away to our closet or bathroom to fit in a little bit of me time. That amount of time grew and grew to the point of where we are now. They can entertain myself and I get blocks of time to myself even closer to the top of the priority list.
Looking back to the stage of life that many of you might be in right in this moment, I knew that this too shall pass and the next stage was coming. Even though the kids needed me 24/7, I needed to put my oxygen mask first making time to take care of mom. It was important for me, as a mom, a woman and wife to take a step back and intermingle these 7 methods in throughout the day, so I could go to bed knowing I took all of 15-20 minutes for me!
- VISUALIZE YOUR GOALS
You can do this in the shower, folding laundry, on the way to the gym or in the car after dropping kids off to school. Focus on what you really want your life to be like and focus on the way it makes you feel by keeping the thoughts positive and full of your own desire.
- WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR
Leave a notebook in the bathroom or on your nightstand so it is there waiting for you when you have that free moment to write. Reflect upon the day and jot down 3 things you are grateful for or appreciate fully. I suggest doing this immediately after your morning shower or directly after the last child is in their bedroom (for the first time).
- TAKE DEEP BREATHS
When life gets overwhelming (which it will), stop, literally walk away and take 3 deep breaths to re-center yourself. It will allow to pause the intense moment for the time being before you react by yelling or saying something you don’t mean.
- LET IT ALL OUT (ON PAPER)
Empty your brain by writing. Utilize the ten minutes after you get the kids in bed and before you sit down to rest for the evening after an excruciating bedtime routine. This is a different journal than your Gratitude one, because this allows you to release emotions you might be holding in but need to let out. It might a couple sentences one night about what a great day you had or it could pages about everything, everyone and their brother. No one has to read this but it is super cathartic.
- QUIET TIME
This is where you get to sit with eyes closed in your quiet hiding space to clear your mind of the things that are racing around. As for your meditation/prayer/quiet time, this is whenever you can sneak away for 5-10 minutes knowing everyone will be ok without you. For me, it’s around 1:30 pm after I have fed the children and gotten them settled to rest after school. I head upstairs, go to my closet and concentrate on my breathing.
- LOVE YOURSELF
Give yourself 3-5 affirmations that you can easily remember to say every day. They should be something you believe is true about yourself (or can truly see happening). I do mine in the car on the way to the gym. It’s the first thing I do on this list at 5:45am because I can speak wisdom and power into myself to start my day and it takes all of 30 seconds.
- MOVE YOUR BODY
Find the time in your day to get moving, exercise, dance with the kids and fuel your body. The 5 AM club might not work for you now but guess what? When all the kids are sleeping through the night and that’s the only time of day you have to focus on yourself before the kids hit the ground running then you make time early in the morning to get those endorphins going and gain some clarity to your day.
Bonus: If you’ve got time left, read at least 10 minutes a day of a good book that is going to push you to become a better version of yourself.
Start with baby steps! Begin with one and get comfortable with that then add another one until you have built a self-care routine including all 7 methods.