When you have kids, especially small children who depend on you for survival, making time for self-care may seem like an impossible feat.
You probably feel like you put yourself, your social life, and even your hygiene on the back burner to tend to the needs of everyone else. At the end of the day, you might be too exhausted to accomplish much more than staring at a wall in the fetal position or indulging in some mindless social media scrolling until you pass out in a pile of Cheeto crumbs.
I’ve compiled a handy list of 10 foolproof (read: shiteous) ways to sneak in some YOU time throughout the course of your chaotic day.
But first we are going to start with a quick exercise that involves making a list of all of the things you used to do for fun and relaxation before you had small children. Got it? Good.
Next, you’ll want to ball that list up in your fist and launch it aggressively into the garbage. This isn’t college anymore; the only version of a wet T-shirt contest that you will be participating in is the kind where your boobs are unknowingly lactating through your shirt, mmmkay? It’s time to put those carefree drinking and frolicking days behind you and embrace this glorious shitshow that is #momlife.
WARNING: This list applies to desperate mamas who have children hanging from their limbs at least 75% of the time and/or who are on the verge of losing their shit. Proceed with caution.
1. Sleep. Master the ancient Chinese art of sleeping with your eyes open. Look, we know you love little Bobby, but if you have to see him do that thing he does on the trampoline for the 487th time, you might stab out your own eyeballs. Sleeping with your eyes open allows you to discreetly catch some much needed zzzzs whenever you need to mentally check out.
Maybe you’ll practice this fine art in the car when you’re waiting for your child in the school drop-off line, or during a long-winded church sermon, at a birthday party, play place, or even during sex! Who cares, you’re too tired to actually be conscious for most of this stuff.
2. Find a hobby. Some people like collecting coupons, some like doing crack — it’s all about balance. Disclaimer: I don’t recommend crack. I also don’t think coupon cutting is an ideal hobby either, but whatever keeps you off drugs, man!
3. Take a leisurely drive. And by that, I mean drive your ass around until the kids are asleep in their car seats, then park somewhere and eat rogue goldfish crackers off the floor and scroll on your phone. The free WiFi at Walmart reaches the parking lot — just sayin’.
4. Find a babysitter. As in dump your children on old people at Target because good babysitters are impossible to find. You know the sweet little old ladies who tell you how cute your kids are and reach out to pinch their cheeks? They’re basically begging you to give them some kids to play with, so you’ll actually be doing them a favor.
Can you smell the freedom of shopping solo? It might also be the smell of a restraining order, but it’s totally worth it.
5. Take a bath. Light some candles, draw a bath, get out your favorite essential oils and break out your Best of Rod Stewart playlist. Then burn all of that, and burn the house down with it. Self-care, bitch! Disclaimer: Not entirely sure where I was going with that, but if you’re considering setting things on fire to control stress, you might want to start thinking about anger management therapy. But yeah, good luck finding time for a candlelit bath.
6. Embrace the crazy. Don’t make any time for self-care. Instead, let all of your stress and responsibilities bubble over until you have a mental breakdown that requires a brief but necessary hospitalization. Imagine laying in a bed all day while people take care of YOU for once! Forced drugs and electric shock therapy? Pfffttt, that sounds like a vacation compared to making lunches and incessantly yelling at everyone to put the mothereffing toilet seat down, amirite!? Let that bat shit crazy beast within you fly high and embrace the strait jacket, bitch. You won’t regret it.
7. Start a book club. And by books, I mean wine. And by club, I mean it’s just you. Alone. Drinking wine. For bonus self-care points, keep a flask in the diaper bag and chug back a few shots of the holy water whenever Susan from the PTA starts drilling into you about the upcoming mothereffing bake sale, or Brenda at the park tries to sell you on her 4th MLM business of the month.
8. Take up running. As in, whenever the kids are acting up and pushing you to the very edge of your sanity, just f*cking run away. BYE.
9. Meditate. Except instead of finding a calm place to draw in the positive energies from the earth, find a place literally anywhere to scream a string of obscenities at the top of your lungs. You’ll feel 100 times better once you’ve exhausted every swear word in the dictionary and created at least 50 new ones.
10. Take a vacation, except you’re really faking your own death (temporarily). Look, we’re not trying to leave our families and move to an island, although I’m not here to judge. But if it’s been a ridiculously long time since you’ve had a sanity break and you’re hovering between Britney 2007 and everyday Kanye, it’s time to fake your own death or kidnapping.
Unfortunately, I haven’t worked out the logistics of executing this plan effectively, but if you watch enough episodes of Criminal Minds, you can probably formulate a plot that allows you to reemerge from a hostage situation after a few weeks or months, unscathed but inexplicably well-rested and tanned. Keep me posted. I’ll be here to take notes.
If you were hoping for a more insightful and practical list of self-care ideas, I apologize, but I’m in the same sinking boat with you when it comes to lack of free time, and my self-care routine currently involves heavy sarcasm, making memes and eating cake.
You’re not alone; some days I’m just trying not to drown in mom duties whilst reminiscing about the days that I could fit into my size 6 jeans and had names like “hot guy who buys shots” programmed into my phone.
But here’s the good news: if you made it through this entire article, and maybe even had a chuckle or two, you have just completed 5 whole minutes of doing something entirely for yourself, which equals 5 minutes of what? You got it: self-care! See what I did there? You’re welcome.
About the Author
I’m a lone vagine in a house of peen simultaneously laughing and crying through the chaos of motherhood primarily through satire, writing and memes. My housewife skills are mediocre at best and I may not have a famous casserole but I can whip you up some sarcasm. You can keep up with my jokes and other musings/shenanigans on the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the blog Macaroni and Mom Jeans.