Diary of a Working Mom (Part 2): The Self Care Struggle

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I always say if I could have a superpower it would be to survive without any sleep. Think of how much more we could get done in 24 hours if we didn’t have to spend a good part of it sleeping! But this is just wishful thinking!

Let’s face it . . . when we work as women, it doesn’t mean all of the other responsibilities we have at home just disappear. We still have to meal plan, get groceries, clean, organize, take kids to extracurricular activities, cook dinner, fulfill our church responsibilities, do yard work, help with homework, and much, much more.

Our free time is almost non-existent. Weekends are spent trying to “catch up” on tasks and sleep before facing another exhausting week. And then you read on social media that you need to be doing self-care, and it gets added to your never-ending “to do” list. It’s just one more thing you have to worry about doing or feel guilty about not doing.

Sound familiar? Believe me, I definitely understand the stress of being a working mom and trying to do it all. It is almost impossible to find time for self care. Yet self care is so important, and we hear about it all of the time. Here are practical ways you can take care of yourself that do not involve the spa or yoga.

Take a Mental Health Day

You are not a bad or dishonest person if you need to call in sick for your own personal sanity and mental health. Take a day to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. If getting caught up on laundry and shopping would relieve your stress, then it counts as self care.

Say Yes to Help

You are not a failure if you let someone help you. I used to always say no when my husband offered to help me with tasks because I thought it was a weakness if I couldn’t do everything by myself. But I’ve realized that unrealistic expectation had to disappear once I became a working mom.

Say No

This is something I struggle with. Just like it is hard to say yes to help, it is hard to say no when people are asking us to take on more responsibilities. Be honest. Say you simply can’t fit it in or it would create a schedule conflict. Most of the time, you are not the only person on the planet that can do that thing. They can find someone else.

Treat Yourself

Yes, I am giving you permission to eat chocolate. Try to get the healthy kind if you can though. Sometimes we just need a little treat. A little bit of satisfaction and joy when we feel stressed. It is okay if you occasionally get yourself a treat. If you are watching what you eat, then treat yourself to a healthy smoothie or healthy lunch from that restaurant you have been wanting to try.

Get Help with Cleaning

If you can afford to hire a cleaning service, do it! It is so worth it to have someone come and deep clean your house once or twice a month. I recently started doing this, and it has reduced my stress so much! In the past, I would stress out about the house not being perfectly clean. Now I can relax knowing that someone will be coming to clean soon and that speck of dust can stick around a few more days while I can choose to use my time in other ways.

If paying for cleaning is not in the budget, don’t be afraid to ask your kids and spouse to pitch in and help more. In between cleaning service days, my kids have small cleaning tasks to do throughout the week. Don’t feel guilty for asking them to help. You are preparing them to be a better roommate when they go to college!

Sleep

As much as I would like to not sleep to give me more time, I simply can’t function when I am chronically sleep-deprived. Sometimes when I am exhausted, I go to bed at the same time as my kids. Despite having a never-ending “to do” list, I put everything on hold and get some much-needed rest.

Diary of a Working Mom (Part 2): The Self Care StruggleI don’t do this every night, just on those days when it is not serving me to stay up late. I am not as productive when I am tired. The next day, I often wake up feeling like a new woman, more energized and ready to tackle my responsibilities again.

If going to bed early doesn’t work for you, try taking a nap once in a while. Even just a 10-20 minute power nap can be enough to refresh you and is an inexpensive and quick form of self care.

Self Care is Unique

Self-care looks different for everyone. We all have individual needs. Some of us need a pedicure or a massage to relieve stress. Others just want to sit down and watch their favorite show on Netflix. Even just taking a few seconds to deep breathe when you are feeling stressed can do so much. Do what serves you best.

I hope this article helps you find some creative ways to take care of yourself!

Read Part 1 to learn about Jennifer’s struggle with mom guilt. And read Part 3 to hear why she loves being a working mom.



The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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