‘Mum guilt’ – the struggle is real! I was recently asked by a supporter of Mamas Mind Menu to post on ideas for guilt free self care. This mum feels guilty when she tries to do anything self care related beyond keeping her water intake up and washing her hair a few times a week. I can totally relate. On Monday night I was feeling low. About to start another working week with lots of time away from my baby girl, the ‘mum guilt’ was winning. By bedtime, despite avoiding screen time and alcohol and doing all the right things, I wasn’t feeling relaxed at all. I needed a self care pick me up with instant gratification that was both quick and guilt free. This got me thinking about how we can enjoy guilt free Mama self care with minimum effort and maximum impact. Here’s my conclusions…
1. Pick A Time When Your Baby is Sleeping
Ok, I’m not saying that it isn’t important to prioritise your own needs occasionally when your baby is awake/ in the room. All I’m saying is, there are times when you just need 5 minutes peace to achieve some meaningful self care. Sometimes the only way to do this is when your little one is sleeping to avoid disturbances.
Sometimes, when little one is awake, it’s hard to find time to do the basics on your own, let alone have meaningful self care (exhibit one below 🙈…)
Perhaps this image is too much?! Over sharing?? Ok, but I hope I’m not alone in feeling like it would just be nice to do my business without a little shadow hanging onto my knickers occasionally!
2. Ignore The Mess
When our babies are awake we so often feel like we should be with them/ entertaining them/ providing stimulating development activities for them. When they are asleep we feel like we should be cleaning/ tidying/ doing life admin/ looking out for other relationships which have been on the back burner while we tended to our Babas. At least this is what goes on in my mentally illuminated Mama mind – Is it just me?!
So, on Monday night, this is the mess that I decided to ignore. Laundry remained on the drying line and floordrobe stayed exactly where it was.
I’m fairly confident that Mr E would tell you I’m very experienced and talented when it comes to ignoring mess. This is a fact I can’t deny! But, despite my procrastination, I still waste a lot of energy worrying about my long to do list. Some would argue I should JFDI but, for the purposes of Monday night’s exercise, I decided to not tidy up but ALSO (and this is key), not worry about it. I let myself off and took the decision to tell myself there wasn’t anything wrong with leaving it there another day.
I guess what I’m saying is this allowed me to free up the headspace to think about what my self care needs where at this time.
3. Translate a Big Idea into a Mini Version
My ultimate self care experience would be a spa break with massage and facial thrown in. This obviously wasn’t going to happen at 10pm on a Monday night! Instead, I decided to focus on what I liked about the idea…
- The smells – when at the spa there are always lovely smelling treatment rooms and steam aromatherapy chambers.
- The massage – my aching muscles rejoice at a firm massage and I feel the tension leave my body
- The soft skin feel – after a facial or massage I always leave with silky smooth skin which is properly moisturised for once.
- The cosiness – it’s always super relaxing when your spa therapist wraps you in a big fluffy towel after your treatment and leaves you to relax.
But how could I achieve a similar feeling in ten mins before bed? I made a plan!
4. Take Action
Even if you can get past the ‘mum guilt’, it’s all too easy to shrug off the idea of self care. It can feel like too much effort to think through, especially if you’re sleep deprived or feeling low. Perhaps it seems easier to mong out in front of the TV or even just try and force yourself to go to sleep even though you’re completely wound up. Stop. ✋🏻 Take a step back and take a proactive decision to just try something different. Ofcourse, there’s always the possibility it won’t help your situation, but it’s unlikely you will regret trying.
I took that decision on Monday night and achieved quite a lot in just ten minutes. I decided to make myself a mini spa experience to see if it would help me relax and it did. I applied a freebie face-mask (one of those little sample sachets you can pick up from beauty counters in department stores). While this was working I brushed my teeth to save some time.
Next I took my time about moisturising my face and body. Since I became a Mama, moisturising is something that seems to have become a luxury and I rarely have been doing it. On Monday night, I decided to give myself a face, leg and foot massage with some beautiful smelling body lotion and face moisturiser.
I popped some cotton socks on to give the illusion of being wrapped up all cosy in a towel at the spa.
Before I hopped into bed I spritzed my pillow with some sleep spray to keep me in the moment. Then I put my eye mask on and listened to some relaxing music under the covers.
In just ten minutes I gave my body some much needed love, my Mama mind some overdue calm and I soon drifted off to the land of nod.
I would love to hear if this post inspires you to enjoy some guilt free self care. Leave me a comment!