Self care for busy mums sounds like it could be an oxymoron. Self care implies slowing down to look after yourself, but us busy mums often take life at 100mph, tending to the needs of our families, work and homes and if there is any time or energy left, then looking after ourselves.
But I know now that self care is essential. It helps us to be better mums. How can you continue to give when the tank is dry? We need to keep our own tanks topped up with plenty of rest, nutrition, exercise and pampering beauty products to keep us functioning at our best. You can’t expect to put water into a performance car’s engine and expect it to run. It needs premium oil, and fuel in the tank and regular maintenance to be at its best!
I used to keep powering on until I was ready to drop. Completing one task after another until sheer exhaustion compelled me to stop, but since turning 40, I have learned to slow down. I listen to my body and give it what it needs. If this means taking a book and a cup of tea to bed at 4.30pm on a Saturday afternoon then so be it!
I did just this a few months ago after meeting up with some friends for a weekend lunch. It was marvellous! I can’t remember the last time I spent time during the day, in bed. Not even when I’m ill. Let’s face it – as a busy mum I can’t afford to be ill. There’s too much to do, too many other people needing things from me. Back in my late teens I used to love lazing in bed all day with my boyfriend (who is now my husband!) We’d watch movies, eat meals and just relax guilt free. We didn’t have obligations to fulfil. As long as we turned up at work for the required number of hours, the rest of our time was our own. What luxury. But of course, when you are at this particular life stage, you don’t realise what indulgent luxury it is. You take it for granted.
Now I’m 41 and have lived the life of a busy career girl in my twenties. I have also lived the life of a sleep deprived new mum in my thirties. Building a career, paying off student debts and getting started with putting together my own home are all energy zapping things to do – fun but tiring. Then the babies come along.
I wouldn’t change a thing about the 3am feeds, the cuddles when my babies were ill and wanted holding, or attending every ‘stay and play’ group where we had to sit in a circle and sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” when all I wanted to do was crawl into a soft duvet and sleep for a week. I’d push around my swaddled infants in their cosy, quilted pushchairs with the luxe footmuffs and the fleecy blankets and wish I could get in there with them and have someone push me around to all the shops. But of course I couldn’t. However last week when my friend and I took off for a spa day and I had my facial, I felt like a swaddled infant laid on my memory foam pad on the massage table- cosy in thick, fleece blankets whilst the facialist applied the soothing creams and lotions!
To get the full value from that spa day, I have been taking care to continue to pamper my skin ever since! This Korres Party Survival Kit (£19) has all sorts of products to soothe tired skin and keep the whole body uplifted whilst the Korres Wild Rose Advanced Repair Sleeping Facial (£26) is a brilliant pot of thick, creamy night cream that works for the whole time I’m asleep! The BEE Good Hand Cream (£9) also pictured has been with me in my car so I can apply it when I’m doing the school run each day and keeping my hands soft.
I was busy before I had my kids then 13 years ago when my daughter was born I really learned what busy was! But now my lifestage is evolving again and my babies are growing up. They are both fully functioning, capable, literate, confident kids. I’ve done the stay and play groups, the baby massage, the soft play areas, the educational games, the reading after school every night, the learning to hold a pencil sessions, the swimming lessons, the dance classes, the nursery rhymes, the karate classes, the baking with the kids and plenty more besides. I’m not planning on stopping the baking, swimming or reading sessions anytime soon- we love them and my youngest still loves a cuddle and a book reading on a night, but essentially they don’t need as much dedicated one on one attention than they once did. This leaves a little more room for me!!
I’m not finished raising my two yet – I still have to get them both through the teenage years for a start! But it’s a joy to answer their questions, teach them things and listen to them when they are telling me about their day. We have cultivated a close but not smothering relationship – I back off enough to give them the space to handle things themselves with a watchful eye, and this way they develop self reliance. However I’m always present, accessible to them when they need and always taking an interest in what they are up to. My daughter and I have regular girls time when we take off for a day alone, and my boy who is a homebred loves his daily cuddles with mum.
I’m glad I put in all those dedicated one-on-one hours when they were little and all the watchful ever present hours since. As I see my beautiful children grow into the people they are meant to be, I realise it’s all paying off now.
This post contains beauty press samples.