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I was never the mom who did everything for her child and nothing for herself. And you know what? I don't even feel bad about it. There is no way my household and my sanity can run well if I'm in shambles. Makes sense, doesn't it? But you'd be surprised at how many of my mama friends don't do things for themselves.
"I've never been to Target by myself," one of my friends told me the other day.
I quickly stifled the wide-eyed look that I wanted to give her. I didn't want to judge, but I was shocked that this mom of two kids had never experienced the joy of going to Target kid-free. And even after I offered to watch her babes one night so that she could experience this, she quickly declined.
"The house would go to hell if I left."
What? Girlfriend, please! So I've made a list for my fellow busy mamas who really want to make an effort to do more for themselves.
Lock Yourself in the Car
Are you laughing? Don't laugh, girl. If the kids are in the house and safe and sound with another adult, go in your garage or parking lot and lock yourself in the car. I'm not kidding. Take a book with you. Or a cup of tea. Take whatever you want but crawl over the six-week old cookies in the backseat of your car, spread out and just sit. That's it! Talk on the phone with a friend. Scroll Pinterest on your phone. Paint your nails (crack a window, of course). Watch a movie on your tablet. Knit a hat. Do whatever you want! Pretend that crusty backseat is your temporary oasis.
As a mother I am trained to put myself last, so I literally have to remind myself to take care of myself.
Plan a Monthly "Can't Miss It Even if the Sky is Falling" Date with Friends
I've already mentioned how much I need my girlfriends. 2015 is here and I've already scheduled lots of dates with my gal pals and I won't stop. Many of these dates are made months in advance, but they are practically written in stone. There are Plan Bs, Cs and Ds in place if the babysitter can't make it and it would literally take a flood for me to not link with my girls. These dates HAVE to happen.
Barter with Fellow Mamas
I'm not the only one that does this, am I? If you've got a village of fellow mommy friends, do favors for them in exchange of sitter services. Cook a meal, take their kids to the park, bring her a basket of beauty goodies...anything. In exchange for your services or treats, ask if she can watch your kids so that you can get some free time with your spouse. Or you know, sit in the car for an hour or so. A girlfriend and I do these monthly trades, and we both enjoy not only helping each other out, but also getting some much needed free time.
Wake Up Earlier
I know, it sounds crazy, but given that I've forced myself to go to bed at a decent hour, I make a strong attempt to wake up earlier. I've gotten really good about this and it's amazing how much of a better start to the day we have when mama has had her tea, done her yoga, had her few moments of quiet time and written out the To-Do list. I find that aiming for a good 30 minutes before you need to really wake up means you can have a much calmer start to the morning. There are A LOT of benefits to waking up early.
If the following suggestions seem achievable to you, you can really ensure they get some play by setting reminders for yourself. Oh yes girl, a reminder. As a mother I am trained to put myself last, so I literally have to remind myself to take care of myself. Each week, I get various pop-ups and emails that remind me to do something for myself. These reminders practically flood my inbox and I'm okay with it because at least the thought stays at the forefront of my mind.