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Sacrificing Your Self Care as a Mom is Not a Badge of Honor

by Cara Forrester

When I was pregnant with my first baby I visited a friend toward the end of my third trimester.  While we were chatting she said something that has really bugged me since. 

At the time I was working as a personal trainer and working out six times a week for an hour to and hour and a half each day.  She basically told me that I should cherish the time I had to workout now, because once the baby came I SHOULDN’T spend as much time in the gym…a little taken aback I clarified with her that I only went once a day for less than 2 hours.  She responded that once I became a mother I would understand that the gym and my other hobbies just are not that important and if I wanted to work out I could do a few push up and sit ups at home while the baby napped.  

My cousin, a mother of four, received a similar comment from her mother in law who said something along the lines of “moms these days have their friend groups, their girls nights, their gym time. When I was a young mom my life was 100% about my children 24/7 and I really did nothing for myself”.  She said this as though her sacrifice of her self care was a badge of honor.

I believe this mindset can be damaging for not only a mother, but her children and family.  Motherhood in new terms (MINT) means a lot of things, but one of them is motherhood in YOUR terms, with you-mama, as a person worth being cared for.  

Motherhood can be exhausting and overwhelming, but it is also magical and rewarding!   Caring for yourself not only enhances the magic, but reduces the overwhelm and fatigue of the day to day.  Think of it as putting on your own oxygen mask first.  If you are taking care of yourself, then you are better equipped to care for others.  While your self care may not look the exact same as it did before and you may need to make some adjustments, you can and should still pursue things that interest you and help you feel like you.  

Whether your self care is the gym, spa days, art, hikes or girls night out, DO IT, not only will you feel better, but your kids will see you taking care of yourself and learn that they should do that for themselves as well.

Here are a few tips for getting some self care in:

  1. Prioritize it / schedule it – some days, the laundry can wait so that you can get a 30 minute workout in while the kids nap or are in the care of others. Block your calendar and share it with your spouse so they can see when you’ll need them available to help.
  1. Ask for help – it’s NOT a badge of honor to try to do everything alone, it’s a recipe for stress, being overwhelmed, and exhausted. Ask for help so you can do things that help you care for yourself.
  2. Keep it simple – It doesn’t have to be some long, drawn out routine. Maybe just getting 30 minutes to deep breathe, have a warm drink, or watch your favorite show is all you need to refresh

You got this, Mama! If you are newly postpartum and looking for a group of women following a similar program, join our community! Head to the Programs page to check out our postpartum exercise program. You’ll get access to our Facebook group where you can chat with The MINT Mamas and other Moms like you!

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