You do it all. You manage the house, soothe skinned knees, cuddle away nightmares. Ask any mom when she last took time for herself, and she’ll probably say "Time for myself? What’s that?"
But if you don’t care for yourself, you can’t care for others, says psychotherapist and parenting coach Tammy Gold. "Think of yourself as a bucket. If you’re constantly dipping into that bucket to give to your husband, your kids, the rest of your family and your friends, but you never give back to yourself, that bucket eventually goes dry and you have nothing more to give."
Most moms can’t get away for many spa weekends. But you should be able to carve out at least 10 to 20 minutes from every busy day that’s just for you. "Mark it on your calendar if you have to, just like any other appointment," says Gold. "Otherwise there’s always something else that takes priority."
What can you do with those precious minutes? Plenty!
1. Waste Time.
Busy moms are perpetually multi-tasking. Try taking a completely purposeless 10 minutes that’s just for you and not your to-do list. Gold suggests reading a (totally fluffy) magazine or a chapter of a book you’ve long neglected (no parenting manuals, please!), or just lying on your bed with your feet up.
2. Phone a Friend.
Ten minutes doesn’t give you enough time to meet up for a cup of coffee, but it does give you time to sit by the kitchen window and reconnect with someone you care about. Try not to dwell on your kids’ sports activities and test scores. Instead, chat about the other things you connect over, whether it’s a love of travel, or the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
3. Massage or Manicure
Many malls and nail salons offer inexpensive 10-minute foot, back, or neck massages, or speed manicures. Find the closest one to you and pay a visit once a week.
4. Get All Wet
In the middle of the day, there’s nothing that feels quite as decadent as lying down to soak in the tub with a fizzy bath bomb or a silky soak.
5. Take a Drive
Get in the car. Drive around the prettiest roads nearby that you can find. Put on some relaxing music, or blast your favorite station and sing along at the top of your lungs. Wink at the guy staring at you at the stoplight.
6. Indulge -- Just a Little
Nobody’s telling you to blow your healthy eating plan, but a fancy cupcake, decadent pastry, or teeny jewel box of expensive chocolates once in a blue moon can make you feel special. If you can, eat it at an outdoor table while watching the world go by and pretend you’re in Paris.