“You haven’t lived until you’ve tried hour-and-a-half long hot yoga,” says your childless friend. “I really rebalanced my chakra at that retreat in India,” brags your empty-nester mother-in-law. “Wait you haven’t done cryotherapy?” gasps your urban gay bestie. But as a woman who doesn’t even have time to scrape the chicken nugget goo out of her microwave, let alone focus on her spiritual center, the self-care movement can feel way eye-roll-y. We hear you. But we’re also here to tell you it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or life-disrupting. Here, nine quick and easy ways busy moms can take better care of themselves on a daily basis.
9 Ways Moms Can Practice Self-Care…When They Don’t Even Have Time to Take a Damn Shower
Choose Sleep Over Cleaning
Look, there are always going to be dust bunnies to vacuum, missing Legos to retrieve and too-small pajamas to box up and hide in the basement. And we’ve all felt the thrill of speed-cleaning the refrigerator at 11 p.m. But if you, like the gazillions of moms we know, prioritize chores and household maintenance over getting eight hours of nightly sleep, you could (per the CDC) be putting yourself at risk for depression, obesity and heart disease. Give yourself permission to live with occasional messes (or, you know, permanently disorganized toy bins) in order to go to bed half an hour earlier.
Treat Yourself Like A 3-year-old And Limit Your Screen Time
You already know that excessive screen time before bed is terrible for your children, but what about the 45 minutes you spend mindlessly scrolling through your feeds every evening? It has the same effect, making you groggy, anxious and less able to actually relax. Ban technology in the bedroom…and while you’re at it, put down the phone at the dinner table, too.
…and Unfollow Moms Who Make You Feel Like Crap
Camille from PTA who makes from-scratch zoodles and DIY slime after a day at her law firm? Jessie from the gym who somehow has a six-pack two months post-partum? Un. Follow. See? You feel better already.
Plan A Night Out
Book a sitter. Bribe your mom. Negotiate a Yalta-level treaty with your husband. Do whatever it takes to buy yourself a night out of the house and away from your children. Then go see Tully, which is quite possibly the most honest film ever about motherhood.
But Also, Say No To One
Haven’t you heard? LOMO is the new FOMO. In other words…ain’t no shame in turning down plans. Maybe this means giving yourself permission to let your kid nap and miss playgroup. Or skipping work happy hour in favor of family time. Whatever you opt out of, don’t over-explain yourself, and don’t spend one instant doubting your decision.
Eat Off Your Own Plate…not Your Child’s
Remember those pre-baby squid ink risottos you concocted? Oh, how the might have fallen. But know this, Ms. Human Garbage Disposal: There is a middle ground between cheffy cuisine and licking hour-old maple syrup off a child-sized fork. You’re better than that. Make yourself a proper meal, dammit.
Try A Face Mask
You can literally do it while cutting the crusts off salami sandwiches.
Write A Gratitude List
Feeling like the most underappreciated woman who ever walked the earth? (*Spends two hours researching soccer camps only to be told, “you’re not fun like daddy!”*) Take a step back, sit down and write up a list of things you are truly, deeply thankful for. Start with biggies like your health and your kids…then move on to frivolous stuff, like your Dyson hairdryer or upcoming Brandi Carlile tickets.
Use A Candle Instead Of The Bathroom Light
You want a spa experience at home…but you’re turned off by the bath toys and training potty…not to mention your husband’s dirty underwear strewn over the towel bar. Here’s a nifty trick of the trade: Turn off the lights and light a candle. See? It’s like that mildew on your shower curtain isn’t even there.