The biggest lesson motherhood taught me about self-care is not what you think.
Obviously becoming a mom made me realize that taking good care of myself was as important as taking good care of my kids. I’ve told that story a lot. It’s what inspired me to radically shift the course of my business and create programs specifically for moms that teach them to recognize their needs and that encourage them to not only tend those needs, but advocate for themselves within the rigid structure of motherhood.
I know, right? NBD.
Still, that’s not the biggest lesson motherhood taught me about self-care.
You can’t wing it when it comes to self-care.
It can’t be some thing that you figure you’ll do when the baby is sleeping or when your spouse is home or when your kid finally goes to preschool or to kindergarten.
Self-care can’t be a thing you wait to start when the timing is right.
There will never be a perfect time to start taking better care of yourself.
There will always be something that gets in the way or convinces you that now is not the best time.
The truth is, everyone loves excuses.
They get you off the hook.
“I can’t start this self-care practice today because my baby didn’t nap this morning.”
Or, “I can’t start this self-care practice today because I have a big deadline at work.”
Another good one: ”I can’t start this self-care practice today because it’s right before the holidays/spring break/summer vacation/school starts and it’s going to be way too crazy to focus on anything else.
When you’re always looking for the perfect time to do something to take care of yourself, you will never actually do anything to take care of yourself.
You’ll just keep putting it off.
That’s why you can’t wing it.
You can’t wait for the perfect time. You can’t sit around and hope that by the time your kids are in elementary school you’ll have more time.
Elementary school becomes middle school, which becomes high school.
And by the time your kids are out of the door and heading to college, then what? Will that be the best time to start taking care of yourself?
You’ll come up with some other reason why you have no time for yourself.
Or even worse: you won’t remember what brings you joy other than doing all the things for your kids.
Here’s what worked for me:
Instead of waiting for the right moment, I started stacking the new routines into ones that already existed – like slowly adding new practices to my simple morning routine of scraping my tongue.
Instead of trying to randomly add a new practice in at any time of day that seemed available or good, I looked for the times that were already defined by consistency and routine and then slid something new in with it.
And rather than make excuses for why I couldn’t do something, I always gave myself reasons why I needed to do it instead. On those days when it felt hard, I’d do less, but I maintained my new practice consistently until it became a treasured and regular part of my day.
Consistency is key. Winging it won’t work long term, or even short term.
There is no perfect time to start taking care of yourself.
Except for right now.
Want to learn how to incorporate self-care more seamlessly into your life, while using the energetics of the seasons as your guide?
Join my Self-Care for All Seasons program! Registration is open through March 3rd. You’ll get consistent, holistic self-work support while also honoring the seasonal shifts.