Why Self Care Is Important For Moms

Updated October 4, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Being a mother is one of the most exciting and exhausting jobs in the world. You’re responsible for the life of someone else. You love your kids, and you want to make sure that they are loved and that you can give them the best chance to go out into the world and succeed. But before you can care for your children, you need to nurture yourself. You may be used to putting others before you, and that’s a beautiful quality. Unfortunately, when you continue to do that, your mental health and well-being can suffer. That’s why it’s crucial to take time to engage in activities that improve your mental skills and make you feel good. The importance of self care for mothers is invaluable, especially when you want to know how to be a better mother.

Here’s why taking care of you is crucial.

New Motherhood, Mental Health, And Self Care

Self-Care Can Be Healing And Can Provide Relief To Mothers

Being a new mom is a beautiful feeling, but it’s also hard work. You feel thrilled to have a newborn, and you want to devote all your time to them. It is difficult but important for busy mom to take care of their wellbeing and incorporate self care into their own routine. If you’ve adopted an older child, you have the same feelings. For moms who have given birth, there are many emotions present. Some busy working moms dive right into their roles and have no noticeable mental health issues. They might feel anxious or worried about their baby or feel the rise and fall of hormones, but nothing of note. Other moms could develop more serious conditions, such as Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Anxiety. Some mothers have a more severe condition called Postpartum psychosis, where they see or hear things that aren’t there. Even with celebratory holidays like Mother's Day and World Breastfeeding Week, it can be difficult to adjust to new motherhood. If you’re a mom and you develop any of these conditions, you should see a doctor and get a referral to a mental health professional.

Here Are Some Signs Of Postpartum Depression:

  • Notably depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Having trouble bonding with your baby
  • Lack of sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much. This can be exacerbated of the pressures of early childhood when kids wake up often.
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Fear or sense of inadequacy that you’re not a good mom
  • Thoughts of shame or guilt
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7, or you can text the word “HOME” to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to reach out to your doctor. Take some deep breaths. Your well being is important, and now is the time for self care. Postpartum anxiety also plagues the overall health of mothers, and you might not know you have it until you ask a mental health professional. If you find yourself excessively worrying about your baby’s safety or health, you could have postpartum anxiety. That’s a condition that a therapist can support you with and help you heal. Self care for moms and your personal well being is important too.

Practicing Self Nurturing Takes Effort 

The important part for busy moms is making sure that you are grounded and stable for your kids. Time for self care is important, even when you have a busy day or week. That means you practice self care regularly. It might not come naturally to you to put yourself first. But it’s crucial to do this as self care helps moms develop a healthy balance and allows you to be emotionally available for your children. It might take time to integrate self care into your routine. Once you do it, it will come more naturally to you. Perhaps you will take a bath on a regular basis. Maybe you will go for a walk. No matter what you do, the importance of self-care is invaluable. You need to dedicate a certain amount of time per week to take care of you. Do things that make you feel whole. You are not only a mother, but you are a human being who needs nurturing. It’s about factoring in the time to do things that fill you up.

Mothering Doesn’t Always Mean Sacrifice

As a mother, you are likely to sacrifice for your children. Some mothers say that they’ve never known they could love someone so much until they had a child and family. Before you had kids and a family, you may have done things for yourself, like get a massage or go shopping or engage in hobbies. But once you have children, you think about them before yourself. It’s crucial to curve the impulse to self-sacrifice and create positive behavioral changes instead. There are times when you need to put your needs on the back burner, but self care is essential to stay grounded. You don’t want to become resentful of your kids. The importance of self-care for mothers means that you take time to do things you enjoy. Maybe that means going out to dinner with your partner. It could mean taking a friend out for coffee. Every person has a different meaning behind self-care and how they approach self care. If you don’t take a break as a mom, you will burn out. That’s why its important to find balance and practice self-care. Of course, you want to sacrifice your needs for your children and family. But remember, when you do that all the time, you will burn out, and then you won’t be able to be a good caretaker. It has to be a balance between caring for your children and family and caring for yourself.

Mental Health Through Reflection

You have the power to produce food, give your child entertainment, and bring them to exciting places. Though your child may view you as a superhero, it’s essential to remember that you’re a human being. Just because you’re a mother doesn’t mean you don’t have mental health concerns. Everybody has problems, including mothers. Some moms have been through traumatic experiences. If you’re a mom that has experienced trauma, it’s important to get help. Part of your self-care strategies can include trauma informed care. Trauma informed care recognizes the impact that traumatic experiences have on us. Many moms experience trauma before they had children. Once you have a child, if you’ve given birth, you could develop postpartum depression. That chances of having this condition if you’ve endured trauma are greater than if you have not. Part of your self-care could be trauma informed care as well. It’s crucial to attend to your mental health whether you have trauma or other mental health conditions. Mothers can have a variety of mental health disorders. Some moms experience anxiety, whether it’s postpartum anxiety or any other disorder. Some others have depression or bipolar disorder. If you’re a mom who lives with a mental health condition, it’s crucial to attend to those by seeing a therapist and, if necessary, a psychiatrist. If you want to be there for your children, you need to be there for yourself first, and getting mental health care is crucial.

Fighting Guilt

Some people struggle with taking time for themselves. If you’re a mom who has a hard time doing that, you’re not alone. There’s a common expression, “mom guilt.” You feel guilty no matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re spending loads of hours with your kids or taking time for yourself, you sense that you’re not doing enough. The truth is there’s no right way to be a mom. You need to take time for yourself. It’s okay if feelings arise when you do that. Sometimes you may experience guilt when you want to take care of yourself. Remember that your self-care matters. You’re not doing anything wrong by putting yourself first. Getting self-care services can mean a lot of things. It could mean going to therapy. You might get self-care services by seeing a psychiatrist. You might get self-care services by going to yoga or taking a class. You might feel guilty because taking care of yourself is a break from being with your children, and you want to be there to raise them. Taking small breaks will not impact your children in a negative way. In fact, it will improve your parenting because you’ll come back to being a mother feeling refreshed.

Practicing Nurturing Yourself Makes You A Good Role Model

Self-Care Can Be Healing And Can Provide Relief To Mothers

Kids pay attention to what their parents do, and that’s why it’s crucial to be mindful of your behavior in front of them. It can help to find ideas on how to realistically nurture your well being. There are many easy self care activities you can try, including taking breaks, going for walks, going to a work out class, seeing friends, taking a bath, going to a comedy show, going to therapy, and trauma informed care, you are showing your children that taking care of oneself matters. You’re demonstrating how, when you practice self care; it makes you a kinder person. Your children will appreciate this and probably grow up to do the same. When you’re taking breaks or time for yourself in your chaotic schedule, and your kids ask you why, you can explain what self care does for you snf why its important to keep mom balanced or mom inspired. The importance of self care speaks for itself, but you can also show it to your kids.

If you admit to yourself that the tasks and schedule of motherhood are taking their toll in the last decade, it is time to find time for you. Maybe you can think of the last time you felt this way, and something negative happened. Take a moment to take a break, admit that you need it, and let relaxation happen.

There are hundreds of examples online about how to practice self care. The most important suggestion for busy moms is to put it on your schedule. If you don’t, the tasks may pile up, and you take on stress and lose focus as the day and night progress. Its important to come up with a realistic plan on how you can include self care into your day. If you can schedule time for yoga or a healthy lunch with lean meats and whole grains with a friend and that schedule becomes part of a routine, you can find the time to regain you energy, reduce stress, and focus on what matters.

For some specific examples of what to do, you could have alone time to read a good book, exercise with runsmart online, or listen to your favorite song for a few minutes. Maybe you are more social, and you want join a book club to read a good book together, an exercise class for moms, listen to your favorite music with a friend, or just thoroughly enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee. A great book to start with would be Self Care for Moms by Sara Robinson. In this book, you’ll likely look at self care from a new lens. Sara regularly speaks about quick and easy self care activities you can do in even the most chaotic schedule.

Other ideas to regain focus and alleviate stress include a good night sleep, meditation, and other physical activity like a walk. Some moms may be interested in aspirational activities they may have put on the back burner when they had kids. Get that master’s degree in sports psychology you’ve been dreaming of, listen to a supermum podcast, the mom project summit, or become a regular contributor to the community or a charity.

Many moms are not going to have hours to regain focus and alleviate stress. You might be saying that you do not have time for any of it. That is fair and understandable. It is still important to make the effort to take care of yourself. You could ask a friend to take a walk with you and your child, and maybe they could bring lunch.

Online Therapy With BetterHelp As Self Care

When you see a therapist, they can help you learn to practice self care. Online therapy is a great place to gain insight into taking care of yourself. You can work with a counselor who gets you. If you’re a mom who has experienced traumatic events, your therapist can provide trauma care services. An online therapist understands that mothers who have had traumatic experiences may neglect their self care. A skilled online counselor will help a mom dig deep into why they’re avoiding caring for themselves. The therapists at BetterHelp work with new moms each day. They also help mothers who have older children practice self care. If you’re struggling with any mental health concern, online therapy is an excellent place to work through it, whether you’re a parent or another person who wants to better their life. For many busy moms, it might feel like another set of tasks on your already busy schedule, but having a therapist to listen to you and talk about your stress can be life changing.

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