If you are asking yourself what maternal self-care is, then you are on the right track to being a healthy, balanced parent. Maternal self-care is the process in which a mom develops the ability to take a moment(s) to replenish herself both emotionally and physically.
Maternal self-care differs from regular self-care simply because a mom also needs to tend to a child. At times, a mom has to put her child’s needs in front of her own, but she will also need to find times to replenish, recharge, and reboot herself.
Culture has a way of telling moms that they need to sacrifice themselves for their child. The mom should be all giving and nurturing. Research (and our felt experience) tells us that this model is hard to sustain.
This ebb and flow is a dance with no perfect prescription to be given. Learning this balance develops through trial, error, and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t work.
What are Maternal Self-Care Tips?
If you find that you are exhausted, becoming resentful, quick to anger, etc., then you might think about taking a moment for self-care. Here are some tips:
1) If something catches your eye and makes you smile, then pay attention to that.
2) Keep it simple. Self-care could be as quick as taking a walk around the block by yourself.
3) If self-care means spending 15 minutes on the floor laughing with your children, then do it. Laughter is restorative.
4) Think about taking smaller breaks such as three 5/10-minute breaks thought out the day to focus on your breath or stretch (as an example).
5) Find one thing, every day that makes you smile.
Make sure that you get as much sleep as possible. You may be in a situation where someone asks, “Can I do anything for you?” This is the perfect time to grab a nap or take advantage of one of the tips above.
For more support for parenting, call the Postpartum Support International (PSI) Warmline, available in Spanish and English.