Every day for the countdown until Christmas I will be having guest bloggers visit my page and share some tips they have learned along the way in their motherhood journey. Be on the look out for our Guest Bloggers Series!
The Christmas season can be a stressful time of year. There are expectations to find the perfect gift, decorate the perfect tree, make the perfect cookies for the unending potlucks. Add in the pressures that come with small children, making memories, doing crafts, keeping them from eating too many pine needles; it can all be a little overwhelming.
Self-care for mamas of littles is already a tricky subject. We spend our days covered in spit-up, up to our elbows in diapers. Dry shampoo is a must have and by Thanksgiving we’re thankful for cooler weather so we can skip shaving for a few days. But what does this do to us mentally? We spend our time pouring ourselves out to make special memories for our little ones. Our bodies and minds become a secondary priority. And ya-know what? Most of the time we’re okay with it because we love our kids, and putting yourself last is pretty much in the parenting job description.
It’s a delicate balance. Putting others first may be a necessary part of parenting, but if you’re constantly emptying yourself, sooner or later you have nothing left. That’s when you find yourself shut in the bathroom stuffing potato chips in your face while tiny fingers reach under the door and tiny voices repeatedly ask “What you doing? Mama pooping?” It’s not a pretty picture. Filling yourself back up is just as much a necessity as pouring yourself into your little ones. You’ve got to put the oxygen mask of yourself before helping others.
With tiny people running around time is at a premium. Long leisurely bubble baths and solo trips to Target are few and far between. So here are some reasonable and do-able self-care suggestions to fill yourself back up this holiday season.
Send away for beauty samples.
Recently a good friend started selling products for a super cute natural beauty company. She posted on Facebook that she had samples to give away so I requested she send me a few of her favorites. You know what I found? Those little sample sizes are perfect for busy mamas! Opening up a “single-serving” face mask packet and quickly applying it during nap time, trying out just a little of the eye cream, enjoying some yummy smelling soaps or face wash. The added expense of trying multiple new products and extra clutter of bottles on my bathroom counter just adds stress. These little samples allow for quick pampering with minimal effort. Then when you find something you love, buy one in full size and continue the pampering that has already become part of your routine.
Get a festive pedicure.
I’m really more one for just pedicures rather than manicures. My hands are being washed after diaper duty, digging through toy buckets for that all-important must-have-right-this-minute action figure, and scrubbing yogurt out of my carpet, so manicures don’t last long. Pedicures on the other hand are heavenly. I know for some mamas getting out of the house alone is not an easy task, but this is one self-care suggestion you won’t regret. Take care of those tired feet so the next time your two year old asks to be picked up for the millionth time that day your throbbing feet won’t scream at you. Plus they can put such cute designs on nails. Add a little mistletoe…get it? *wink wink*
Balance your yes and no.
Feeling the need to attend every holiday event in an effort to make sure your kids enjoy Christmas is just going to wear you down. They don’t need to see every parade, attend every Christmas program, make cookies for every party. Say no to driving across town to see the parade and instead say yes to cuddles on the couch in front of the tree. Yes to baking cookies with the kiddos and letting them decorate them, and no to the five invitations to cookie-swaps. No to your cousins sisters kids Christmas play, yes to your own little angles choir performance. Time is time with kids. They don’t care what you’re doing, as long as it’s with them. Don’t kill yourself running all over town to fit in all the “fun”. Do what you can do and just say no to the rest.
Take 20 minutes.
Every mother on the planet knows the average Netflix show is about 20 minutes. Let go of that mom guilt over screen time and let them enjoy a fun Christmas cartoon while you take a bath or read a good book. Twenty minutes is a perfect amount of time to help any stressful day reset to calm.
Helping others is good for the soul. We’ve all heard the old adage “it’s better to give than to receive.” So when your husband gets home and takes over bath night so you can sit down for a bit, maybe you pack him a special lunch the next day. When your mom takes the kids so you can go Christmas shopping in peace, maybe you pick up something yummy from Starbucks on the way home to surprise her. Focusing on others takes the focus off yourself and your stress.
Remember, this season of life will not last long. Focus on what matters most. Hopefully this Christmas season will be a peaceful one for you.
What self-care tips do you practice during the holidays?
About the author:
Hi! I’m Kristen and I’m connected at the hip and soul to my best friend and husband Josh. I am mother to three beautiful children. Our daughter “Squeaks” who came to us through the miracle of open adoption, our rainbow baby “Little Dude”, and our newest blessing “Flash”. Join me as I blog at Arrows & Applesauce about our homeschool adventures, the chaos of raising our three littles, and the grace God shows us through parenting our arrows. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.