Happy Podcast Day to you, my wonderful villagers! Wow, I am feeling so grateful to have gotten to share 120 episodes of Voices of Your Village with you all and I cannot wait to record 120 more!
Today I am joined by Bryce Reddy, who you may know as @MomBrain.Therapist on Instagram and Facebook, for this year’s Mother’s Day episode so we could really dive deep into the realities of self care in parenthood.
Bryce and I agreed that the marketing of self care for parents can tend to be kind of wonky or misguided, and the reality is that we all need the proper self care in order to show up in this world as the best version of ourselves. “I don’t recall the last time that I got a massage or manicure, but I find ways every day to nurture myself the same way I nurture my children,” said Bryce. “I have had to find ways to prioritize myself and my needs during this time or I would be useless.”
I asked Bryce one of your most common self care questions: What does self care actually look like? She said that one of the ways we take care of ourselves in tiny ways is to be able to prioritize our own needs on a very basic level. Stop right now and think, did you have breakfast today? What about lunch? Or did you just eat the scraps of your kid’s leftovers? The simple ways to meet our needs is the best place for moms to start with self care. Start with the basics: clothes, food, doctor appointments.
If we imagine that this was a child whose basic needs we weren’t meeting and they had a tantrum, we would understand their frustration. But we refuse to take the time to meet our own basic needs all the time and then are surprised when we ourselves are frustrated.
For a lot of us, this reluctance to partake in self care gets ingrained in our systems. We focus so much of our energy meeting our kid’s needs, which of course we should be doing, but then we leave so little energy to meet any of our own needs. We can only do so much for our family when we aren’t treating ourselves as valued members of our family as well.
We model self care for our children because ultimately when our kids grow up, we want them to prioritize themselves too. As our kids grow up and they stop relying completely on their parents, there can be this identity crisis of “What do I do now that my child is capable?” which can be difficult to grasp at the time as a natural and welcome development.
I had one of our mama villagers reach out for guidance with this predicament: I can’t find time to shower because every time I put my baby down, she cries. First of all, mama, you are absolutely not alone. And luckily, Bryce faced a similar situation when her son was very young. She resolved it by putting her babe in his little chair right outside of the shower while she hopped in. Yes, sometimes her tiny human would still cry for her when she was a few feet away in the shower. But giving herself the opportunity to wash and comb her hair and clean her tired new mom body was a necessary form of self care for her to partake in.
Okay villagers, here are some concrete ideas for your self care! It is all about finding ways to prioritize yourself and recognizing that you are worthy of time and space. These needs you are prioritizing can be for food, water, and rest but also for creativity, movement, and being vulnerable. For food and water self care, take the time to eat your own meals that you enjoy instead of always eating what your kiddos do. For rest, create a nighttime routine for yourself that is separate from when you put your tiny humans to sleep. Creativity self care in parenting can look like putting your favorite podcast on in the background while you play with your kids in the living room, and movement self care can be taking that podcast for a walk around the block after dinner. Being vulnerable can be a tricky part of self care, but it can be as simple as connecting with a friend who you love.
This self care doesn’t have to be a big event but can be built into how we are already living our lives every day.
Guys, this episode on self care is as important now in the time of being home with our families because of Covid-19 as ever before. For our answers to all of your self care questions, listen to the full episode above. For more of Bryce, check her out at @MomBrain.Therapist on Instagram and as Mom Brain Therapist on Facebook, she’d love to have you join her. Remember that this is not easy, giving yourself grace is just another part of self care.
Happy Mother’s Day to all our Village Mamas out there!