If Mama Ain’t Happy…and Healthy

The number of meals that I have eaten while standing has dramatically increases since becoming a mother. If I had to guess, you are likely in the same boat. We have to get the food cooked, on everyone else’s plates, and to the table. If you actually try to sit for a minute to inhale your supper, you will either be met with, “Mama, can you get me the ketchup?”Or you will start to feel the strong pull of the dirty dishes back to the kitchen.

Happy young mother playing with her kid outdoor

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As moms, our plates are SO full! As women, it’s hard to stop the constant flow of mental to-dos in order to nurture our souls (or even our bellies). I have noticed that I actually eat better and take time to eat when I’m at work versus at home! Why? Because during my work hours I am expected to take a half hour lunch just like all of the other staff.

However at home, I usually allow my to do list to continue to engulf me and I have a hard time stopping for a bite!

The same goes for exercise!  If I don’t have a dedicated time to exercise, it’s really easy for me to rationalize “making the beds” for my cardio. After all, there are so many things to do and I will be moving the whole time, right? And sometimes, that’s ok! But, as mom’s we can’t keep putting ourselves last! We will wake up (or possibly oversleep?) one day and find ourselves exhausted, cranky, and unhealthy. And we know that’s not the kind of moms that we want to be, we have to feel our best!

So, how can we start making ourselves a priority and still get our to-do list done? Here are some ideas!

1.  Wake up early!

It's so easy to focus on taking care of all of the needs of our family that we forget about ourselves! It's very important for us to remember that if we don't practice self-care then we won't be our best for our families!

I am an early bird want-to-be! I love the idea of getting up early, but every fiber of my being wants to sleep as late as humanly possible! Waking up early is the last thing we feel like doing with all of the demand on our time! But think, if we can start our days well, we will eventually get more done! Imagine the momentum you will feel when you get up, stretch, have time for devotions while drinking a cup of coffee, put a load of laundry in and straighten up the kitchen all before waking your kids up for school! Or find your own routine, something that gets you excited about waking up in the morning!

2.  Make time for God each day!

This doesn’t have to be an hour long Bible study! I often tell young people to start by making a point each morning of talking to God and telling Him that you acknowledge Him as Lord of your life! That you want Him to take the lead today, and everyday! That goes for us as mom’s also! If we can start by taking 10 minutes to whisper a prayer to our Lord and Savior and ask Him to guide our steps, what a wonderful start we have to our day! As time goes on, we can add reading a few verses of scripture. How would God feel if we made a concerted effort to acknowledge Him, our Maker, each day. And what a blessing to have the King of Kings guiding us along throughout our life!

3.  Plan your meals


It’s easy to get caught up making breakfast before the kids head out, school lunches, prepping for supper, and to totally forget about ourselves! When that happens, I tend to either live on handfuls of chips or coffee all day long. And although, I believe in everything in moderation, neither of those things are balanced and healthy alone!

Make sure that you have things on hand that you will eat and can access easily. If you know you have a lot of things that you want to get done at home, plan to have leftovers or some things in the freezer that you can pull out for a quick healthy meal. If you are going to work each day, maybe pick a weekend day to grill some chicken and make salads. Or even make yourself a  gourmet sandwich with special bread and pesto, cheese, and veggies? Give yourself something to look forward to! A time to pause and refresh yourself midday!

4.  Make time to do something you have always wanted to do!

It's so easy to focus on taking care of all of the needs of our family that we forget about ourselves! It's very important for us to remember that if we don't practice self-care then we won't be our best for our families!

This is a biggie! You’re life and dreams didn’t just end when you had children! Think about something that you always wanted to learn…. an instrument, photography, graphic design, calligraphy, a sport, to write…. there are SO MANY possibilities. Well, we are living in an amazing day and time where you can truly learn to do anything! And a lot of it you can learn from your couch! I have always wanted to play the guitar, so last summer when my son went to his lessons for violin, I started learning guitar!

Find something that makes you excited, something that is just your thing… and have fun! Having an outlet can be so good for us as moms! It’s easy to feel like we don’t have the time to do anything extra, but if it is something that you truly enjoy, you should get energy and excitement from it!

5.  Go to Bed Early

I know! This one is really hard for me because I am much more of I night person naturally! We have heard it before and it doesn’t sound life changing, but it really can be! Our bodies need sleep! And if we get up early (see point 1), then we will be ready for bed earlier. And then, we can wake up refreshed and ready for a new day on the other side! Many successful people credit getting plenty of sleep as part of their must-do routine.

6.  Make a Weekly Plan

Take a few minute on the weekend or at the beginning of every week to list the things that need to be done and when. When the week is looking overwhelming, look for things to trim! Maybe you should get take out on the night of the kids game, or pick up store-bought cupcakes instead of making homemade for the school party (I promise it will be ok!). Having all of those thoughts on paper instead of just rolling around in your head can be a real stress relief!

So, this whole list is pretty much the exact opposite of how I lived my life during the first few years after my twins were born! I was so stressed that I lived for the second that they went to bed and I would pretty much plop down in a recliner in front of my iPad and TV and totally veg for 2 or 3 hours! I would hear about self care, and I would think, “I make sure I have time for myself!” But in reality I really wasn’t taking care of myself at all, I was completely exhausted and stressed most of the time! True self care should give us energy and life, not just a few minutes of stress relief! Years later, I am slowly trying to retrain myself, but new habits, even good ones, can be hard!

The truth is, I know these things in my heart, but often my to do list or desire to stay up late and watch just “one more show” wins out! But I want to be the mom that my kids need! That is a mom with the energy to encourage them, to listen to them, and to pray for them along the way! A mom that cares enough about them to take care of herself so that she can be happy and healthy! What a blessing our health is, let’s do our part to keep ourselves well!

7.  Give Yourself Grace

This is SO important in life and especially in motherhood! We won’t do everything perfectly, but we can strive to do our best! And sometimes we just need to take a day (or maybe weekend) to relax with no to-do list, and enjoy some down time (and if you’re like me, yoga pants, coffee, and Hallmark movies)!!! It’s ok to have some days that aren’t super productive! And then after a little down time we can return to our daily routines recharged and ready to go!

Photo courtesy of Jaclyn Davis Photography

What are some things that you do to stay happy and healthy as a mom? Please share in the comments below!

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