We all need it, especially us mamas, but I really don’t love the term “self care”. I think it’s because it feels like there is a lot of pressure around self care. And it feels like just one more thing to add to my to-do list. I prefer to think of it as how to fill your cup up as a mom. That means just doing the things that make you feel happy and fulfilled. It doesn’t mean you have to get your nails done or go to the spa or take 3 hours to yourself. It can be SO many things.
I’m going to start by just listing off a bunch of ideas on ways you can fill your cup as a mom. Because as moms, sometimes we feel like we don’t even have the time or capacity to think about how we can fill our cup. Some of these things may work for you, and others won’t because it is different for literally everybody. That was my number one takeaway when I was compiling this list. I thought about what work for me personally, did a bit of research, and asked my Instagram followers what they do. Oh, and by the way, the other thing that was clear was that whether you have 1 or 2 or 17, this idea of “self care” looks wayyy different after kids than it did before them. And that’s okay!
Let’s get into it…
- Taking an extra long shower. This is a basic need but you extend it and make it like a lil spa. When I want to do this, I ask my husband if he can watch the girls while I take a “spa shower” which means I’m gonna turn the lights down, I’m gonna light some candles, maybe put on a little music, do like a leave in conditioner treatment, and shave my whole body.
- Doing crafts. This is something I loveee to do with my daughter. Some moms are not that mom and that it totally okay. But I personally love it. Some pretend play is fine but I just feel like we keep repeating the same thing over and over so puzzles and crafts are more my jam and something I always suggest when I’m feeling in a rut or like I need a mood boost. Basically, doing things with your kids that you like too.
- Get outside. I love this one so much. This is another one you can do with your kids, if you want. When it comes to filling your cup, some people feel like they need to be alone to do that and others are good being with their kids but they just need to do something for them with their kids.
- Social events. This has been a huge one for me, whether it’s with my kids or alone. If you’re an introvert this might not be a good one for you, but I am a huge extrovert and genuinely thrive going into a room where I don’t know anybody and I have to get to know people and ask them tons of questions. So I look for those types of opportunities when I can.
- Meditation. When I feel like I am spinning and losing my mind, I have a headspace app that I use but I also interviewed someone on my podcast who has a podcast called Meditation in Minutes so that would be a free way to get in some meditation. But, for me this is a good one. Sometimes my husband will even be like “do you need to go meditate?” and even like 10-20 minutes makes me feel completely rejuvenated. And this is something I need to do alone and quiet, no crying, no interruptions. So, sometimes I even just go sit in my car in the garage and do my 10 minutes.
- Cleaning. This might just be me, but my head feels clearer and I feel way more sane when I have a clean house. I honestly don’t love saying this one because despite the fact that I have embraced motherhood and being a wife and genuinely enjoy those roles so much, I’m very independent and don’t want to feel like a “domesticated woman”. But having a clean house makes me feel better and anything that makes you feel better fills your cup and is “self care”.
- Nails. Some people when I asked my IG followers said for them it is their nails, whether that means going to get them done or doing them at home. I love having my nails painted. I almost never go get them done because I genuinely do not enjoy going to get them done but I do like to try to do them during nap time (but that always feels like a race to the finish line).
- Folding clothes. Someone said that folding clothes fills their cup. This is very similar to my cleaning the house one so I loved this answer. My best friend from college loves folding clothes. She seriously told me that sometimes she’ll save a basket of laundry to do on her birthday as like a “treat” for herself (what?!)…again, what fills your cup is different for literally everyone.
- Working. For some people, working fills their cup because they love their job, feel like they have purpose, etc.
- Staying at home. And others are just the opposite. They like being at home, relaxing, vegging on the couch, hanging with their kids, getting to see their kids try something for the first time.
- Working out. This is another one I like to do. When I work out, I use Expecting & Empowered which I absolutely freaking love. I have a blog post where I explain how much it helped me while pregnant & after labor, but it's a pregnancy and postpartum workout app that gives you workouts for each week that you’re in. And it times each exercise in the app which I love because I can quickly pause if I need to grab the baby from her nap or take my toddler to the bathroom. I personally don’t get upset when I need to do this but some people need uninterrupted workout time and if that’s you, figure out a way to make that happen.
- Journaling. This one was a big one for a lot of people to get a chance to get their swirling thoughts down on paper
- Read. (If you like to).
- Not be responsible. Sometimes you just need a few minutes of freedom with no responsibilities. I feel this in my soul. I don’t even mind being in the environment still, but when my toddler needs a snack or to go to the bathroom, you go do it, I don’t want to be responsible for those things for just a few minutes. And sometimes I still do need to remove myself so we don’t get the “no, I want mommy to do it”.
- Hug from your partner. I also love this one.
- Alone time with your partner. I love this too.
- Bed time with your kids. This is one that fills my cup SO much. Is bed time frustrating some times? YES! But the minute they’re snuggled up to me I am just absolutely on cloud 9.
- Sleep. Some people’s self care is sleep. Whether that means making sure you get 8 hours in by sleep training your kid or keeping your phone in the kitchen so you’re sleeping and not scrolling…whatever it is.
- Drive to coffee. This was an interesting one that a few different people said. Getting a drive in and a yummy coffee. And, there’s a certain level of “done up-ness” that you have to do before leaving your house and I think that’s a great thing to take the time to do in a day (if that’s what makes you feel better).
- Call a friend. I don’t always need to go to a social event. Plus, that’s not always realistic. But I called a friend the other day and we talked for an hour and a half between screaming children and chatted about a lot of things and it was just nice to communicate with someone (and in real time, not on DMs or texts).
- Run the dishwasher. This goes along with my cleaning one but I have to run the dishwasher every night because it makes me feel like my house is more in order.
- Healthy snack. Sometimes I’ll just roast some broccoli in the oven leave it on the stove top so I can snack on it all day. Just something to make your day easier.
- Phone breaks. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I think I am a bit addicted to my phone so I needed to come up with ways to take a break. My therapist helped me come up with a 30 day challenge to put some structure around these breaks so it actually holds me accountable.
It’s really just doing things that make your life easier and more enjoyable that don’t have to be a great ordeal but seamlessly fit in your day. These examples are so simple and so easily can be worked into every day to fill your cup up a little bit.
To figure out what’s going to work for you, you really just have to think about when you feel the happiest. Is it when you’re totally alone? Is it doing a certain activity with your family? Going out with friends? Getting out of the house? And keep in mind, these things might change over time.
Once you figure out your things, what are your circumstances? Can you do it during nap time? Can your partner help? Are there things that will still fill your cup while your kids are with you?
If you can, tell your partner your thing(s) and they can support you and help you make sure that you are filling your cup. And we can do the same. My husband is like a puppy. He needs his workout every day to keep his energy and mood up and he literally floats in the house when he gets home. So, that’s something I try to protect for him. I try to make sure we can make it work in our schedule so he has time to go do that and he does the same for the things I need.
I hope this has been helpful to figure out some ways to fill your cup because sometimes when it feels so empty it feels impossible to come up with ways to fill it up again.