As I sit here on an airplane bound for Salt Lake City, I feel naked. On
either side of me, are two grown women who can feed themselves, take
themselves to the bathroom and are fully independent human beings. Our
conversations are both meaningful and meaningless ranging from cars to
natural make up. Before I was a mom, travel was a stressful event. Now,
traveling alone is relaxing and enjoyable. It’s funny the way things change as
we dive into motherhood. As precious as the time is with our children, the time
without is equally as significant. It is essential to our survival….. “mommy-time.”
Over the past seven years, the most important thing I’ve learned about being a
present mom is taking care of myself.
1. Exercise is not just for your heart
In my twenties I viewed exercise as a way to burn calories and “look good.”
Now, I am focused on “feeling good”. A huge shift in my patience and ability to
cope with daily stressors is evident after I move. My mind is calm, my body
feels relaxed and I am ready to deal with whatever comes my way. I am
grateful to fit it in whenever I can. I don’t stress about miles logged or calories
burned. If I have even ten minutes, I go for a walk or practice deep breathing.
Always keep in mind that even a small amount is better then nothing and
research shows that as little as ten minutes helps your cardiovascular system.
2.It’s okay to make friends that are not moms
I remember feeling very alone the first year of my 7 year olds life. I went from
being a professional, talking to adults everyday to trying to understand and
communicate with a fussy baby. I struggled with meeting moms who had
something to talk about other then their kids sleeping habits. Not that there is
anything wrong with those conversations but day after day like that left me
feeling a bit lifeless. I didn’t realize that it was ok to make friends without kids. I
have learned to enjoy the play dates for my children but have sought out
woman with similar goals and interests. I believe everyone comes into your life
for a reason and to stay well-rounded with friendships is very important for self growth.
3. Play dates are a nice way to socialize with other moms but lets face it, it’s not the same as a “girls night out.”
This tip has been so vital to my survival as a parent. Day after day of caring for
children keeps your energy and focus on them. This can be extremely draining
to a mother’s spirit. There is nothing like a “girls night out” to bring some energy
into your soul. When I’m with my close mommy friends, we laugh,
commiserate, and am able to let my guard down and relax. I prescribe a
minimum of one per month but more is ALWAYS better!
4.Put on your mask first
I know, we’ve all heard the airplane cliché but it’s nothing short of the truth.
Until we can take care of ourselves mind, body, and spirit how are we to care
and love another? I remember feeling so guilty when I was without my baby. I
worried about how others would think of me, a new mother alone and shopping
at the mall. I now realize how much that alone time means. If my mind is not
calm and peaceful I am no good to my children. I understand now how
important it is to take care of my needs too. Whether it be yoga, shopping, a
manicure or reading a book in silence, I treasure my alone time. I know that it
makes me a more attentive and loving mom. I also know how important it is for
my girls to know that I respect myself enough to take time for me. My hope is
when they have children of their own, they will follow my example.
What are your struggles when it comes to taking care of yourself?
Written By: Karyn Hendricksen, MS M.A.T
Karyn Hendricksen is a health and wellness enthusiast. She is passionate about gathering as much knowledge as possible pertaining to staying healthy, naturally.
Karyn’s education includes a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and Specialist Certification in Muscle Activation Techniques. She loves to educate others on how fun and easy it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle through both blogging and public presentation. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her awesome husband Russ, and daughters’ Alexa and Stella. She can be found Restorative Wellness Center.