I remember when I was twenty-four, childless, and single. I was sitting on a white sand beach in Mexico and my only care in the world was whether my next drink would be a Pina Colata or a Mai Tai.
Life was good.
When I think about being selfish and taking care of me, I dream about Mexico. I think about how I’d love to escape from the chaos of life and take a vaction. I think about how I’d love to ditch my yoga pants, crooked ponytail and dark under eyes and trade them in for a Hawaiian-themed bikini and the youthful body that once accompanied it.
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You know, you hear all this ohh rah rah about how we need to take care of ourselves as moms. About how we need to find a way to make it happen. To use all the benefits of Amazon Prime and finally update our wardrobe. To get a babysitter. To hire the cleaning lady. To streamline mealtime with clever hacks. To find solace by waking up at 5 am, praying our kids don’t smell us, wake up to join us, and ruin our morning tranquility.
Believe me. I’m that mom writing and talking about all the self- care ohh rah rah.
BUT. There’s something we need to set straight.
It’s not always that simple: There’s only so much time in the day and so much money in the bank.
If I could swing it, right now Mexico is my ideal self-care. I would LOVE to jump on a plane and sit on the beach for a week. I would sip Mai Tais with tiny pink umbrellas until I regretted it. The highlight of my day would involve deciding whether to nap in the hammock or under the umbrella on the beach.
This is also a pipe dream.
Currently, “taking care of me” involves jumping over the legos in the hallway to enjoy five minutes in the bathroom alone and placing my positive affirmations for moms all over my house so that I get the constant reminders that I need. My self-care also involves sipping enough coffee to keep my eye lids at least half open. (Side note: After kids, I’ve never regretted drinking too much coffee.) And the highlight of my day usually involves doing an awkward happy dance when both my kids nap at the same time.
What is an exhausted mother to do when she wants to take care of herself, but Mexico is not happening for the next…ahem decade?
How do you find a way to take care of yourself when money and time are tight? I’m going to skip the ohh rah rah cheers about how we all need to come together for an Oprah moment. No. Just no. I’m too tired for Oprah. And you probably are too.
Let’s talk legit strategies.
Self-care is absolutely necessary to feel good about who you are as a mom. It must be done. But I’m going to bet that if you had enough time and money, you know exactly how you would take care of YOU.
You don’t need me to share 25 ways you can take care of yourself as a mom. You already know what you want.
I’m not going to share fluff with you. Let’s talk about real actionable stuff like how to save money and time so you can actually do the self-care you’re dreaming about.
Meal planning is your friend.
If you want to manage your time like a boss, cutting down on meal prep, cooking time, and grocery shopping will save you! I’ve wasted more time, money and food in the past year by not doing this!
Grocery shopping and meal-planning prevents over-buying and money thrown down the drain–literally.
Ready for a super simple solution? Dump recipes.
Make 10 meals in one hour. Throw ’em in the freezer and you’ve got dinner planned for the next 10 days. Plus, then you’re not cleaning up pots and pans galore…there’s just one dish to clean…the crockpot.
Cut wasteful spending. Find a budget that works.
You know there are areas of every household that are wasteful. When my husband and I took a look to see where our money was really going, the waste was astounding. There were at least 10 areas where our spending was wasteful and totally unnecessary.
It’s no wonder why we didn’t have enough money to hire a babysitter and take date night. Once we cut out unnecessary expenses, the money I needed and desperately wanted for self-care was there–in my bank account.
Easy peasy solution: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget Book
She teaches busy moms how to slash spending, pay down debt, streamline your life and save thousands per year.
Get organized. Streamline your systems.
You need a routine and a system that will simplify and automate your life as a mom. When you clear your life of the clutter that is filling up your home, mind, and schedule, big changes start to happen. Week by week, you start to see the extra time you need to implement the self-care YOU really want.
If your days feel chaotic and you are looking for a better routine, you can check out my 25+ sample routines and schedules for moms here.
Take back your time and energy!
Our job as moms is so important, and we really want to do it right. But so often, we end up feeling discouraged and even like we’re failing.
Dolly Pardon recently shared this pearl of wisdom…
You just have to learn as you go. And you don’t ever need to, what they say, put all your eggs in one basket. You need to always keep something just for yourself. Always keep something for you.
And you know, good ‘ole Dolly’s right. We mamas need to keep a little slice of heaven for ourselves. We don’t have to put everything into just our kids and mom life.
Go forward friend. Save some time meal planning, focus on streamlining your family systems, and pinch those wasted pennies so you can do the things YOU really love when you grab a few hours of child-free time.
I don’t have Mexico, a Mai Tai with a tiny pink umbrella or a hammock with my name on it.
But gosh darn, I do have chocolate, wine, a remote, and quiet. For now, that’ll do.