“Self care” is a loaded topic.
There are almost 100 million Google results on “self care for Moms”.
There’s talk about “pampering yourself with bubble baths”, exercising, eating healthy food, taking naps…
There are thousands upon thousands of ideas.
But are massages and bubble baths really the best form of self care for moms?
No. And here’s why.
There’s actually nothing wrong with booking a facial and calling it self care. Amazing. Go for it. I’m all for it.
But if that’s something you did somewhat regularly pre-baby, that’s just called living your life as normally as you can now that you’re a mom.
Self care isn’t about what you do occasionally to make everyone around you assume you’re taking care of yourself.
It’s not about getting your hair done once a month and slapping the label of “self care” on it.
Again, that’s just you living your life and putting your needs upfront. Because your needs matter just as much now as they did before you had a baby.
Real self care is about asking for – and being willing to receive – the thing that most moms need above all else.
I read an amazing interview with Kristen Bell the other day. (I feel like we’re basically best friends at this point because she’s on repeat on Spotify at our house since the girls demand to put on their tutus and dance to the Frozen soundtracks at least 52,000 times a week! 😂)
In the interview, the writer asks her about how she takes care of herself now that she’s a mom and her response is genius.
She says, “I don’t think we’ve done a deep-enough dive on the topic of self-care.
For me, a manicure or a bubble bath is not self-care. It’s bigger than the hour you’ll take for yourself that week.
Self-care, to me, is asking for help. That comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes.
It’s having a quick video chat with my girlfriends.
It’s calling my sister, or my best friend, Jess (my girls call him Naughty Uncle Jess because he’s a fun piece of work), and saying, “I’m going to wring someone’s neck. I need you to come over here and defuse some of this energy.” He’ll come over, put on some music and have a dance party with them and I can just breathe.”
When I read that I shoved the phone in my husband’s face and said, “Read this! She’s genius! I’m so going to be her best friend!”
This is it.
This is self-care.
Plain and simple. Asking for help is the best form of self care there is.
But here’s the thing…
It’s so simple. Yet it can be so hard.
So hard to ask.
So hard to let go.
So hard to receive.
We’ve lost our village and we’re constantly told “bring back the village!”
But then we’re worried about what the mean moms will think of us if we admit that we can’t do it all ourselves, with a smile on our face, and freshly baked organic muffins cooling on the counter.
Because when a mom has a nanny so she can work, she’s sometimes shamed for not just quitting her dreams and devoting everything to her baby.
When a mom brings bakery store goods to the bake sale, she’s sometimes whispered about at the back of the PTA meeting as that mom who doesn’t care enough to bake her own cookies.
When a mom hires a tutor for her kid because she doesn’t have time to help him study for his math tests since she’s trying to make partner, she’s sometimes called a bad mom for being too career driven.
There is so much pressure put on us. So much pressure we put on ourselves.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Just because a handful of mean people might make you feel bad for not hand icing 500 sugar cookies, doesn’t mean they’re right to do so.
Asking for help, in any capacity, is not a sign you can’t handle it. It’s a sign you know how to handle it well.
It’s a sign that you aren’t willing to exhaust yourself for everyone’s happiness – except your own.
It’s a sign you appreciate where your strengths lie and don’t try to play supermom and do ALL the things even when someone else could do them so much better.
It’s a sign you understand that it’s okay for you to have joy in life beyond being someone’s mom.
A strong mom asks for help.
A smart mom asks for help.
A good mom asks for help.
And I know you’re a strong, smart, good mom.
So go ask for some help. Whatever that looks like for you.
P.S. Have a strong, smart, good mom who needs to be reminded to ask for help? Send her this little love note.