Self-care for Moms Without a Support System Feels Like a Myth
Everywhere you turn on the internet there’s someone telling you that you need to practice more self care. “Take care of yourself” “Take some me time” “Prioritize you!” “Take breaks!” Sure, it sounds like a great idea, but in the world of moms it feels like a far off dream world. Self-care for moms without a support system is beyond difficult.
Some moms are single.
Some moms are with partners who work a lot and are rarely home.
Some moms have partners who don’t act like partners or take any part in giving them time to themselves.
Some moms don’t have family nearby.
Some moms are estranged from their family.
Some moms don’t have a village. Actually, many don’t…
Whatever the reason for not having enough support to make self care a realistic part of your life as a busy mom, it is valid and a very serious issue. The importance of taking care of ourselves as moms is integral to the family unit, to our health and wellbeing, and to our relationships. And yet oftentimes, we put ourselves last.
According to a recent study, a shocking 78 percent of women said they often put off taking care of themselves in lieu of taking care of their families. That’s not okay.
In this blog I am going to share 10 things you can do which will help you get the nurturing, care, and time you deserve. You deserve to get back to feeling a little more like you and you deserve to not feel like an exhausted, worn out, and frustrated version of yourself.
In this blog discover:
- You Matter: Why It’s Important to Value Your Own Well-Being as a Mom
- Tips for Self Care When Your Village Doesn’t Exist
Why Self-Care Tips for Moms Benefit Short Term and Long Term Well Being
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You Matter: Why It’s Important To Value Your Own Well-Being as a Mom
When I became a mother it was biologically necessary for me to put myself last.
Because I breastfed my first baby, I was often up many times in the night, every night, to feed her. She was completely reliant on me. As the parent who was her main caregiver while my husband was at work I was often the one going without enough sleep, foregoing my own meals to tend to her needs, and being unable to take showers or care for my physical body or mental state because there was no other option.
That’s how it started.
But somewhere along the line, it wasn’t necessary that I put myself last anymore and yet I still chose to do it. It felt good to be needed, to be wanted, to provide love and care and nourishment. And before I knew it, it was just a habit. And then there was that small martyrdom tendency I had developed which made me feel important for constantly doing things for others. In a small way it made me feel like I was a better mother for being selfless. My ultra independence made me feel good until it didn’t.
Until those feelings became exhaustion, until I became isolated from my old life and a version of myself I recognized, until I became resentful of my husband and everyone else around me, until I felt like I was invisible, until I felt like I had dug the hole so deep I didn’t know how to get out, until I became miserable and burnt out.
@diaryofanhonestmom the struggle is real #momlife #momguilt #sahm #workingmom #momsoftiktok #momsover30 #realmomlife #motherhoodunplugged #momsgetit ♬ original sound – Wonders of Magic
So many moms experience burnout and it’s usually after years of trying to carry an unbearable load alone. Many of us don’t have support as well. But we make the load heavier by BELIEVING it has to be that way, and by BELIEVING that we are in fact less important than our children.
In order to really truly practise self care and feel the benefits of it without being weighed down by guilt, we need to accept that while our children may need our nurturing and care, so do we. We are in charge of saying “I deserve this” “I deserve rest” “I deserve to fuel my body” “I deserve to have energy” “I deserve to feel good” “ I deserve to feel whole.” If we don’t prioritise ourselves, who will?
And when we get moments to feel like us again, to rest, to play, to have fun, to go to therapy, and to just be our own human- we come back better equipped to love, nurture and care for the little humans that rely on us so much. For me, I’m less crabby, more energetic, less resentful, more fun, and more engaged when I take intentional time to step away and focus on me.
Caring for yourself is not selfish, it’s selfless, because it is in taking care of ourselves that we become our best selves FOR our families.
Having no support system is unbelievably lonely and hard. There is no one there to tell you that you matter, you are worthy, you are deserving and you should take breaks. Unfortunately, we have to be the ones to tell ourselves that. And if you need some more convincing, check out this Tiktok I made on why you matter.
Tips for Self-care for Moms Without a Support System
1. Say no to mom guilt
Mom guilt is a universal phenomenon and not to be taken lightly, because if you’re feeling guilty, you’re not able to access the benefits of taking care of yourself. Now this tip may not sound like it’s self care, but it is. It is the valuing of your own self as worthy. And if that is not self care I don’t know what is.
If you’re stuck: Remind yourself that you are just as human as your kids are and just as deserving of a chance to practise self care. Remind yourself that you are doing the best with what you have, and that by taking care of you, you are better able to take care of them.
2.Follow a Schedule
It takes discipline to make and follow a schedule with our kids, there is no doubt about that. But the benefits are endless. When we establish clear expectations for our kids, it helps to create more harmony and calm in our homes. We have enough time for getting ready in the morning, for meal times, for bedtime routine etc, when we don’t feel like we’re constantly in a rush we can create space and time for ourselves. Otherwise, one hour turns into the next and the next and before we know it the day is over and we haven’t had a moment to breathe.
3. Put the kids to bed early
This is part of establishing a routine and aside from being good for kids, it’s good for us too. It’s work in the beginning, but kids eventually get used to it and if you stick to it, bedtime isn’t going to be a dreaded battle every night. Sticking to a semi-strict sleep schedule was one of the best things I have done for myself and my mental health. Knowing that by a certain time at night I will *definitely* have a few hours to myself was an important part of getting through each day-especially when they were little. The psychological benefits alone, of having that time to look forward to, make it worth the early bedtime.
4. Simplify Meals
Just about every mom wants to feed her family good home cooked meals, and we often intertwine that notion with the idea that meals have to be complicated and time consuming, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Some of my kids favourite meals are baked beans on a baked potato with cheese, or bacon and eggs and fruit. They are simple and nutritious. And there’s nothing wrong with some good ol’ chicky nugs and mac and cheese. By allowing ourselves to do the simple, less than perfect meals, it’s one way we can squeeze in more time for us- without the guilt. Check out this website for 20 easy meals kids will love. .
5. Use screen time for breaks
The reality is that when you lack a village or support system, the time you get to yourself is extremely few and far between. Screentime has been unnecessarily villainized and the reality is that it is the EASIEST way to get a break when you have no other option.
Screens are engaging, there is no doubt about it. And there are so many options aside from Netflix and Youtube, with a plethora of educational games and more to choose from like Reading Eggs and Khan Academy for Kids. And if you’re thinking about how bad it is for your child to numb out a screen all day, it doesn’t have to be all day.
You can be an engaged parent who plays and takes your child outside but also makes screen time a part of their day. You’re not a bad mom. In fact, when you get to have a break, you’ll likely come back a better version of yourself.
6. Lower your expectations
This can be applied to everything. Meal times. How much you expect yourself to get done in a day. How presentable your kid looks walking out the door. How often you clean. How well you fold laundry. How many things you volunteer for at your kids school. The list goes on. You simply cannot do it all and by trying to, you will only stress yourself out. By taking things off the list and by living by the mantra “done is better than perfect, you will be able to create more opportunities for self care and prioritising you.
7. Plan your playtime with them
When you plan out portions of the day where you will be actively engaged with your children in play, you can feel less guilty about the times you are not. This doesn’t mean you can’t include them in cooking and everyday tasks but it is a myth that we need to be actively playing with our children all day long. You have a house to run, you may have work to do, and you have yourself to take care of too.
I’ve always found that rather than half pay attention to my kids for long periods, they and I both prefer shorter bursts of really intentional time. It doesn’t sound like self care, but intentionally playing also means intentionally saying that other points in your days are “me time”.
8. Budget Money For yourself
Girl, buy yourself some stuff, stop making excuses, spending all your money on the kids and feeling guilty about anything you buy for yourself. You deserve it. Chances are, your kids have more than they need anyway. Maybe it’s a fancy coffee on your errand run, maybe it’s a new outfit, or maybe it’s getting your nails done once in a while. You deserve to treat yourself and not feel bad about it. Strapped for time because your kids are stuck to your hip? Order online, it’s 2022. Treat yo’self.
Is money tight? Check out this blog I made on self-care tips for moms on a low budget.
A recommendation? Arrow it Forward is a fantastic little mama-owned shop that creates beautiful self-care items like this adorable and luscious-smelling candle. They’re branding is on point especially for moms and I love the way they smell!
They also offer beautiful treats, stationary, jewellery, and bath and body items with the most fitting #momlife names. Definitely worth checking out. I even snagged a code, so if you order make sure to use “HONESTMOM15” for 15% off!
9. Hire people
If you can afford to, hire someone to do the things you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do so that you can spend time on what you do want to do. It could be a house cleaner, a babysitter, laundry service, sending your child to daycare, someone to walk the dog or shovel the driveway- anything. Spending even a little bit of money to free up some of your time can make a huge difference. Even getting an extra hour of daycare for your child so that you get some time after work to get something done for yourself is helpful. It’s all about finding ways to carve out some time that doesn’t feel like it currently exists.
10. Stop cleaning your house so much
Tidy and sanitary are two different things. Having a sanitary environment for our kids to live and learn in is essential to their wellbeing. Having everything put away perfectly in its place at all times is not. Houses are meant to be lived in and children live to destroy- at some stages anyway. So give yourself and break and let it be messy sometimes. Find a system that works for you that doesn’t make you feel like you’re living groundhog day over and over. Domestic Blisters on Tiktok has some AMAZING tips on how to keep a functional home that isn’t perfect, how to create systems and how important it is to know that a clean house is morally neutral! Less cleaning = more rest.
Why Self-care for Moms Without a Support System Benefit Short Term and Long Term Well Being
It’s important to create opportunities for self care for your short and long term well being.
Momming without a support system sucks. It just does. It can often feel like everyone around us has someone to step in when needed, whether it’s a supportive partner, a parent or a trusted friend. But I assure you, I speak to women everyday who let me know they don’t have that, and just how hard it is.
You are not alone, and you are not a bad mom for wanting a break, some alone time or a chance to feel like you again.
And if you feel too selfish or guilty for wanting these things or doing them, you shouldn’t. Caring for ourselves is the BEST and most sustainable way we can care for our kids in the long term.
Mommy burnout, exhaustion, and mental health breakdowns are very real things and so much more likely when we neglect to practice self-care or value our physical and emotional needs.
Prioritising you IS being a good mom, and it’s modelling to your kids how they too should treat themselves. And remember you can’t pour from an empty cup.
If no one has told you lately, I see you. I see you day in and day out getting up when you’re tired, giving when you feel like you’re on empty, sacrificing when it feels like there’s no other choice. I see you loving those babies and doing the best with what you’ve got. You are doing a great job and your kids are so lucky to have you.
In the mood for some encouraging mom content? Check out my “Support Moms” playlist on my Tiktok profile and don’t forget to follow me. Alternatively, come say hi on Instagram.
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Yes yes yes
But, no no no
I still can’t do much of this
No support = No support
There’s no other way to reconcile it. No
Money coming in because you can’t work because there is no childcare means there are zero luxuries to be had. Diapers have cost me my last dime. Help!
This was so helpful! I’m a mum in the uk and have very little family support because they live far away and me and my husband both battle each other for our own time away from the kids! We love being parents but it’s so exhausting (physically and mentally) these are some great tips that I will definitely use. Thanks for being so real about parenthood!
<3 It's so fun, and fulfilling....BUT ITS SO HARD!
Thanks for this post. It’s the hardest thing imaginable not having a support system & having literally no idea who to reach out to.
<3 it's so hard!! I hope you find value in the content here!