We all know how famous moms are for putting everyone else’s needs before their own. But the ability to self nurture is an important skill for mothers to develop. Why? When moms learn how to take care of themselves, they often end up having more energy and zest to take care of those they love. The problem is finding the time.
Here’s my advice: Find someone who can help you give yourself what you need this Mother’s Day. Whether this is a spouse, a parent, a neighbor or a babysitter, voice what you need – and book their time. Don’t feel guilty – you are worth the effort.
So where to start? Fortunately this plan is as easy as counting to seven. This number also fits in nicely with the days of the week. I warn you, though: You might get so hooked that you want to incorporate a few of these well-tested strategies into the rest of your year. OK, so let’s get started!
1. Book time alone
Maybe it’s reading a book in one day or going for a long run. Maybe it’s gardening or finally finishing knitting the sweater you said you’d complete. Whatever you want to do, let your kids and partner know you need a few hours of peace and quiet to make it happen. Then relish in your accomplishment when you’re done.
2. Celebrate mom friends
Sure, Mother’s Day is about being a mom and spending the day getting love from your kids. But it’s also about cherishing and celebrating your role as mom – and sometimes that means finding fellow moms to laugh with. So send an invitation to the moms you know (family or friends) and coordinate a girls' night out some evening in May. Laughing about your kids and sharing parenting tricks can be therapeutic.
3. Try something new
Trying new things keeps us young and makes us feel alive. It also helps us to break out of the rut of daily activities that moms can often fall into. Always wanted to learn photography? Enroll in a class. Considered gardening? Get out the gloves. Whether it’s trying a new cuisine or making something from scratch, set a goal and start thinking about how you can make it happen. Even if the kids can’t take part, they will surely learn the value of challenging oneself.
4. Go on a date
Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be the traditional brunch out with fidgeting kids – or breakfast in bed with undercooked bacon. Instead, celebrate the relationship with your partner and book a sitter to have an “us night.” Crazy idea: Try not to talk about the kids.
5. Promote a skill
You used to do what? Remember those pre-kids days when there was time to spend on hobbies and talents? Those days singing in a band, writing creatively or coaching a team might seem like a lifetime ago. Bring them back. Find time to devote to something you used to do – something that made you proud of yourself. True, the proudest job you’ve ever done is being a mom, but it’s always important to view yourself as a well-rounded person.
6. Outsource something
The business of parents can never be explained to the fullest extent. There’s probably not enough time to even try. Find something to take off your plate. Whether it’s house cleaning, walking the dog at night, or taking the kids to their activities, hire a caregiver to handle one thing a week. Then make the most of that time to relax, tackle an important project, make a phone call – something from your to-do list.
7. Step back
Try to devote one day this week to take a step back from your role as mom – and just breathe deeply. “Mom, I need new soccer cleats!” “Mom, he hit me!” See what happens when you ignore the non-urgent mom-requests, replying with silence, or just an “OK.” They might think you’ve gone crazy. But they also might fix the problem themselves.
However you choose to spend Mother’s Day, remember that it’s important for your emotional well being to get yourself a little something special to remind yourself, yes… you are worth it.
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Dr. Robi Ludwig is a national TV commentator and psychotherapist who practices in New York City. She is also the author of the book “Till Death Do Us Part” as well as a contributor for TODAY.com.
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