Self Care For Moms Does Not Look Like That

I think I signed up to the wrong mailing list.

I was lured there with images of smiling women carefully positioned on pastel yoga mats atop a sunny-yet-snow-capped mountain peak.

From a stuffy house in a dreary town, these women seemed to be offering a slice of self-care that they promised was attainable.

They promised it through their white-toothed smiles and catchy headlines.

This morning, one headline in particular caught my eye and stood up, mountain-pose-style, from within my inbox:

"Up Your Self-Care Game With These Quick Daily Rituals"

Nice!  Better self care is something most of us are striving for, right? And as a mom, the word 'quick' literally sang to me.

I'll be honest, I opened the link without hesitation. I should have known better. I should have known what to expect, but sleep deprivation seems to be blurring my BS Barometer...

Here's the first point offered to those of us desperately seeking better self care (and the only one I will mention here, as I couldn't finish reading the article in question due to the simultaneous shock and laughter that overtook my body, and the fact my toddler was traversing the stair gate...):

"Ritualize your morning beverage"

Ok...sounds interesting...maybe they want me to be more mindful when I sip my tea? I could do that!

Not quite, unfortunately:
"Sip your mug [of superfood coffee] slowly in a calm space in your home. I'll sit at my altar and light a candle and burn sage, palo santo, or copal. Then I write or work with oracle cards and drop into a 20 to 30 minute meditation and prayer practice. My meditations consist of breath work, mantra, mindfulness, body scanning, clearing out old resentments, and connecting to my "why" for the day."*

*This is an actual quote.

Riiiiiiiiiight then.

Do I need to say it?  Probably not, but I will anyway.

I admire this human with her self-care ways.  Clearly it works beautifully for her.  Clearly, also, she has no children.

Because those of us who don't live in mountaintop yoga retreats don't actually stock "superfood coffee" in our cupboards.  And in my house, amid the morning pre-school rush, there is no such thing as a "calm space", let alone the capacity to burn anything that isn't toast.

And 30 minutes of meditation?  30 actual minutes solo?  Daily...?

Clearly I signed up to the wrong imaginary mountain retreat.  I need the one for moms, please.

I need the one that shows us how to hold our downwards facing dog whilst the toddler crawls under our bellies as if we're downwards facing tunnels.  I need the one that reminds us about the simple pieces of the self care puzzle that we all know, but seem to forget amidst the chaos that is child rearing.

I need the one that reminds us to walk outside every day, even if it's raining.  To breathe more deeply, even if in between breaths we're talking about what little Joey said on the playground and repeating the mantra "gentle hands!" over and over again.

Because self care is accessible to us, as moms.  It just looks a little different to the glossy mountain pitch above.  For us, it needs to be carefully weaved into school runs and grocery trips and bath needs to happen in the moments between moments, culminating in the quiet that finally surrounds us as our little humans finally close their eyes for the night.

These days are intense.  Maybe we need to collectively fine tune our BS Barometers and accept that our self care might need to happen in micro chunks for a little while.

Oh, and just for solidarity and as a #NoFilter view of real life as a mom, here's my morning beverage's 10.45 and I'm drinking my mug of non-superfood-tea cold, as it's been sitting on the counter since 6.30am this morning, before life and school and diapers took over my epic self care plan of actually drinking it whilst it was still hot.

But hey, there's always tomorrow.  Hang in there moms, you're doing great.


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