I've been a Mom now for almost five years. That is five years of being number 2, or 3, or 4 in line of priorities. There are things that will always take precedent when you are a mom, rarely is that thing YOU.
In the last year, I have found a rhythm and a norm that allows me to be a good mom while also taking care of myself (it took a while!). My kids are finally at a good age to allow this and I have had some trial and error. I had periods where I felt like there was no time for me, I gave all that I had. Like everything, that time was a phase and nothing lasts forever.
I'm here to share the ways I make sure I am taking care of myself in order to be the best mom and wife I can be.
First thing above all else is to say NO when you want to (and likewise--say Yes only when you want to). This is way easier said than done, I realize that, but it is key to being happy. Say no to the birthday invitation that is in the worse possible time/location/etc. Say no to the family asking to stop by. Say no to the additional workload at work if that is what you want. You need to decide what your priorities are in the short-term and long-term and make decisions to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
For me, I want to see my kids every night. I want to have dinner with them and do their baths/bedtimes. I want to have fun with my kids every weekend but still allow for downtime to recharge as a family. These are my high-level my priorities, I say No to whatever doesn't allow this to happen.
I will say there are times where we can't say no. We still go to the party, or we fill our weekend to the brim, or we work late and miss bedtime. These times are not the norm but when you know your priorities and work towards thouse, then these one-offs will not derail you.
Secondly, speak up. If you need an afternoon alone, say so. Coordinate for your husband or parents to take the kids. Schedule a play-date drop-off (and plan to do the reverse for the other mama sometime in the future). For the longest time, I felt I was getting the short end of this stick in this area compared to my husband. He has a job that allows him free time and on top of that, I would randomly take the girls with me to Target or the grocery store. It took some time for me to learn but now I know. He wasn't intentionally leaving me to have no time alone, he didn't realize I wanted it. Now, a few days in advance, I will say "Hey I'd love to have some time to myself this Sunday, can you plan something with the girls." (Case in point---I'm here writing this and they are at the zoo). Just speak up and ask.
Lastly, find that thing that makes you feel beautiful. Our bodies have spent a lot of time being stretched and scarred, and are now starting to return to normal. Whether it's a gym routine, pricey dry shampoo, a high-end mascara, or the perfect pair of jeans---do it. It's hard looking in the mirror and no longer seeing yourself. It takes a while to gain the confidence back. In the meantime (and even after), do whatever you need in order to get your confidence up. Feeling good about yourself affects your attitude and relationships.
I've mentioned before that I struggle to find time for the gym. I love the idea of going and I do go off and on. When I am in a good rhythm with the gym, I am happier. When I blow dry my hair, I feel better about myself and in turn, I'm happier. These things seem small and insignificant but make a big difference. Trust me!
If you are a new mom in the thick of it, itgets better. You'll have time to yourself again and your body will once again become your own. You'll look in the mirror one day and recognize the person you remember pre-kids. I'm definitely not the same as I was before I had kids, but I have that feeling of being a person that is a mom versus having just the identity of Mother, if that makes sense. I am a mom but I am also so much more!
What are some things you've done that have brought you out of the mom funk?