Self Help

Why Exhausted AF Moms Need More Self-Care in Their Lives—and How to Get It Done – Parade

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As most moms can attest to, self-care is something desired, but hard to find the time for. But no matter how you find the time to squeeze it in, experts agree that you’re doing yourself (and your family) a favor.

Related: Self-Care: Are You Doing It Wrong?

“Self-care is incredibly important for maternal mental health,” says Rebecca Weinberg, psychologist and director of clinical operations for the perinatal depression program at Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA. “We tell moms all the time that they can’t pour from an empty cup, so to be an effective caregiver, they need to make time to fill their cup, whether that is taking a bath, going for a run, or getting together with friends.”

Related: 15 Celebs Share Their Self-Care Rituals—and They’re a Great Reminder For The Rest of Us Too 

So how are real moms getting it done? We asked real moms to share their tips!

Dina Deleasa-Gosnar (@dishitgirl):

Self-care can be tough when you do not have anyone to watch your littles,” the mom of toddler Siena tells Parade. “On the weekends, I let my husband get up with Siena and start breakfast. Not having to hop out of bed and be ‘on’ that morning helps. And I do not help with anything until I have made my coffee!”

Related: The Self-Care Products You Need for Essential ‘Me Time’

The Hallmark Channel star and food blogger says that she squeezes in some easy self-care whenever she can. “I am a sucker for a sheet mask—10 minutes on, wash it off and I feel like I did something for real!” she shares. “Or if I have time to run and get a manicure or a pedicure, I go all out. I get the extra massage or the “spa” pedicure.”

Deleasa-Gosnar, whose sister is Danielle Jonas, wife of Kevin Jonas, also makes time for dinners with her girlfriends, having her husband handle bedtime and bath when she can.

Leslie Bruce (@leslieannebruce):

“Self-care is something all mamas preach, but most never take the time to do,” the author of the upcoming book You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom admits. “We know how important it is, but it’s often the first thing we sacrifice when our day goes up in smoke…especially when our ‘self-care’ for the day is exercising. I’m usually all too eager to toss that aside. Here’s the thing, despite the name, self-care isn’t just about us. When we actually take the time to nurture ourselves, we, in turn, become better moms, better partners, better friends. It’s a domino effect. Our personal happiness and health is just as important to our families as all the other stuff we do.”

The mom of two continues: “For me, my self-care comes during the evening, because my days are so unpredictable. My kids are usually asleep by 7 p.m. I don’t know how I’ve managed to pull that off, and I pay my dues in other ways, trust me. Once they’re tucked away, I know I have a few hours to myself, which usually includes doing something like date night with my husband, or Bravo and wine, or starting a new book. You get the idea! I think the important thing is making space for yourself, and doing something that is 100 percent selfish, whether for 10 minutes or an hour. Walk around the block and listen to a podcast. Lock the door to your room and take an extra long shower. Do that insane Pinterest DIY you’ve always wanted to, but never thought you actually would. Don’t be afraid to call in the troops to support with childcare. People want to help!”

Lauren McBride (@laurenmcbride):

“Wake up before the kids, if possible!” the blogger and mom of three explains. “I find waking up before the whole house wakes up allows me to get in a workout, read something good for the soul, or just have a cup of coffee in peace. It sets me up to have a great day!”

Jamie McLaughlin (@_themachouse_):

“Self-care is definitely a priority for me,” the blogger says. “I fully understand the power that it yields, and it makes the biggest difference in my endurance (aka surviving motherhood). Just knowing how vital it is, helps me create time for it and prioritize it.  After a really long day, I personally love reading, I love taking long hot showers and watching movies. All of these things allow me to decompress from the day and help my mind rest from whatever I dealt with during the day – and none of them take too long.”

For McLaughlin, it’s all about making no excuses. “The key to making time for self-care at the end of the day, when you are absolutely exhausted, is literally just doing it,” she says. “Doing whatever it is that will refuel you to wake up the next day, with a ready to go attitude. Whether that is a bubble bath, yoga, or eating a really good meal (from Uber Eats because who wants to cook at the end of a long day). Taking time to unwind and refuel yourself is what keep us going day in and day out.”

Jenn Hallak (@theoverwhelmedmommy):

“I’d say my best tip is to get dressed and ready every single morning, even if I’m not leaving the house all day,” the blogger and mom of two says. “It takes 5-10 minutes to put on makeup and ‘real’ clothes, but it makes me feel great and I get so much done when I do so!”

Louida Martin (@missloumae):

“I’m always doing for others before myself, and when I get a chance I like to pamper myself,” the Instagrammer and mom of two says. “I treat myself by either getting a couple of new outfits, taking myself out to a restaurant, or having a spa day.”

Sometimes, Martin finds that simply unplugging does the trick. “Another way I like to take care of myself is by shutting off social media and television, and enjoy an uninterrupted peaceful day at home while my daughters are at school. I also like to take walks in the park, so I enjoy getting time to exercise all while helping clear my mind and admire the beautiful trees and flowers.”

Caitlin Houston (@catalynbear):

“One thing I’ve noticed about myself is if I’m worn down, then I’m miserable towards everyone and everything,” the Confessions of a Northern Belle blogger and mom of two, tells Parade.“I make sure to go to bed a little bit earlier on the weekends after a long week (even if I want to stay up bingeing some trashy show on Netflix). I’m a huge believer in the whole ‘Treat Yo’self’ Motto, so I make sure that once a month, I do something for ME and only me, usually involving money. Examples include: buying a really expensive bottle of wine to enjoy once my kids are asleep, comfy new pajamas, or fancy desk supplies.”

Kimberly Lapides (@eatsleepwear):

“Self-care can seem non existent for moms!” the blogger and mom of a baby boy shares with Parade. “One of my biggest forms of self-care is to plan a lady date 1x a week. It’s so hard to carve out time for yourself when you have a little one at home so I always carve out time to meet a friend for coffee, lunch, or happy hour. If I get it onto my calendar, then that is pretty much written in stone for me.”

She adds, “Planning out adult time is my way of infusing a little me time into my week and having it on the calendar helps to hold myself accountable!”

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