How to Create the Perfect Self Care Routine as a Busy Mom

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Do you have a self care routine to help you manage the chaos that goes along with busy mom life?

If you said no, you’re not alone.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, moms with kids under 18 are less likely to:

  • Practice self-care
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise
  • Spend time with friends
  • Get enough rest
  • Get regular checkups

As moms, we often put ourselves last on our priority list. But the truth is, we need to take breaks every now and then.

Being a single mom who runs a business from home and homeschools, I’ve learned this lesson well. When you don’t take care of yourself, you know what happens?

You end up burned out.

And that’s bad.

Because you that saying that when mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy? It’s totally true. 

Why You Need a Self Care Routine as a Busy Mom

mom and daughter doing yoga

As moms, we do so much, all day, every day.

Our kids depend on us to show up and get it done. And sometimes, it never seems to end.

You think to yourself, I don’t have time to slow down.

So you just keep going and going. But here’s the truth.

You don’t have time to skip self care.

When you don’t take care of yourself, you end up tired and cranky and no fun to be around. But here’s what can happen when you start prioritizing self care:

  • You feel calmer and more relaxed
  • It’s easier to get organized and stay that way
  • You put less pressure on yourself to get things done
  • Instead of feeling frustrated or angry, you begin to feel happier
  • You start enjoying your kids instead of being annoyed all the time
  • Your kids end up being happier too because that yell-y, stressed-out mom they’re used to is gone

And that sounds good, doesn’t it?

Because really, who wants to be a meanie mom? That’s not how you want your kids to remember you. 

So if self care isn’t part of your regular routine yet, here’s how to start making time for yourself in a meaningful way. 

Related post:

13 Calming Self Care Tips for Stressed-Out Moms

 

self care routine

1. Ditch the mom guilt

There’s so much pressure on moms to be perfect. Not just from the media either; moms do it to each other too.

If you’re not making time for self care, ask yourself if it’s because mom guilt is telling you not to.

This article from Parents.com explains it pretty well–we moms put ourselves on the shelf because we feel like it’s wrong to take the focus off our kids, spouse or home.

And that’s a huge mistake. 

Mom guilt is so not worth your time. There’s no rulebook anywhere that says we have to do X, Y or Z to be great moms.

And if there is, honestly, I’ve broken every rule in it, I’m sure. At least twice.

So if you’re feeling mom guilt about putting yourself first, just remember: self care can make you a better parent.

And don’t let the guilt keep you from recognizing what you need to relax and recharge as a mom.

2. Brainstorm ideas for a self care routine

If you don’t practice self-care often, it helps to start by figuring out what it means to you.

For example, reading is one of my favorite downtime activities. So is exercising.

Think about what you’d like your self-care routine to include. For example, that might be:

  • Grabbing a quick 15-minute nap every afternoon
  • Indulging in a favorite dessert once a week
  • Sending the kids to bed a few minutes early once or twice a week to get some extra quiet time
  • Going on a “mom’s night out” with other moms from your church or playgroup
  • Sleeping an extra half hour on Saturday mornings
  • Meditating
  • Practicing yoga
  • Painting your nails
  • Giving yourself a facial
  • Taking a walk around the block alone

These don’t seem like big things, do they?

And that’s the whole point of starting a self care routine — you don’t have to take huge laps to make it work for you.

Doing one nice thing for yourself regularly, even if it’s simple, can make such a difference.

When I don’t read every day or exercise as often as I want, I get totally disoriented. 

And once you get used to taking time for yourself, you’ll miss it too when you don’t do it.

So, think about your definition of self-care. Spend 10 or 15 minutes just brainstorming ideas for things you could do.

They don’t have to cost money; you don’t necessarily need to leave the house. They just need to be things that you enjoy or that give you a sense of inner calm.

Related post:

15 Brilliant Ways to Practice Self-Care in 15 Minutes or Less

3. Find the time and put it on your calendar

mom and baby

I always seem to run short on time.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. So I have to pick and choose where I use my time.

And to make your self care practice work, you’ll have to do the same. 

Look at your schedule, daily, weekly, monthly. Where can you fit in 15 minutes, a half-hour, an hour that you can claim for yourself?

Seriously, you have to be ruthless if you want to make self care a priority.

If self care is new to you, it’s okay to start small. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes a day or one hour a week. You can ease into it and build from there.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need to in finding the time to practice self care.

If you’re married, ask your spouse to take the kids out for an hour on the weekend. Or you go out and let them stay home.

If you’re a single mom whose kids don’t have regularly scheduled dad time, you might get your parents, siblings, neighbors or friends to pitch in.

Drop-in childcare might be another option. Or trading babysitting duties with another mom.

Once you find the time, here’s the most important thing: commit to showing up regularly. Consistency is non-negotiable for your self care routine.

woman practicing yoga

4. Protect your self care time

This step might be the most important one of all for creating a self care routine.

My kids understand that if I’m exercising, that’s my time. Unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding from a major artery, they know to let me enjoy that hour undisturbed.

Once you’ve set a time for self-care, daily or weekly, ask your family to respect that time.

It’s okay to do that. In fact, you really need to do that.

Self care routines should help you feel relaxed and reenergized. But it’s hard to enjoy your routine when your kids or spouse distract you from it.

If you work at home, you also need to set boundaries when it comes to work stuff. 

If you’re used to answering emails at all hours of the day and night, ask yourself why you’re doing it and who it helps.

While some business emails might truly be urgent, I’ve learned that a lot of them can wait until the next morning.

If you’re not comfortable shutting off your phone at 5 pm every day, at least do it whenever you’re working on self care.

Make that time–even if it’s only 10 minutes–all about you.

5. Keep a self care journal

Journaling can improve your health in more ways than one. Keeping a self care journal can help you be more intentional about how you spend your time and take care of yourself.

You can use your journal to track things like:

  • Self care activities
  • Moods and emotions
  • Physical activity
  • Diet and eating habits
  • Sleep habits and dreams
  • Spiritual care

It can really help you get in tune with what you’re feeling, what’s working for self care and what’s not.

Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy; a plain notebook. But you can also use a bullet journal or splurge on something beautiful to write in. 

And just like practicing self care regularly, commit to journaling every day to get the best results. Then every so often, look back over your journal to see what about your routine is working and what isn’t. 

That can help you nail down exactly what you need to get the most out of your self care habits.

My Favorite Amazon Picks for Self Care


self care routine ideas

What will you include in your self care routine?

You now have the basics to create your routine. Now it’s time to put those tools to work.

And I hope you will because when we take care of ourselves as moms, everybody benefits. 

Do you have a self care idea or tip to share? 

Head to the comments and tell me about it, then pin and share this post with another mama who needs it!

And don’t forget to unlock the Busy Mom Vault if you haven’t yet. It’s filled with freebies, including a self care workbook just for you!

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26 thoughts on “How to Create the Perfect Self Care Routine as a Busy Mom”

  1. The timing of this post could not have come at a better time. I really needed some rock solid information on how to improve my self-care routine while I work from home. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • You are so welcome Diane! It’s something I struggle with as a freelancer who’s at home with two kids all day but self-care is definitely something work at home moms need to make time for. 🙂

      Reply
  2. We should make “Ditch the mom guilt” a hashtag! This is sooooo true! We all put ourselves aside, and end up in a mental breakdown and depression (well, I did). Thank you for these great tips!

    Reply
  3. Mom guilt took me completely by surprise. I was unaware of how powerful and destructive it is to self preservation and care. I am still working to convince myself that I need to spend time taking care of me to be the best mom possible.

    Reply
  4. These are such helpful tips, thank you! I definitely struggle with guilt around self-care. Whenever I do take time for myself, I find it difficult to truly relax and enjoy it because I’m thinking about all the productive things I think I “should” be doing. Knowing how important it is to actually take time to rest and take care of myself, I’ll try to let go of that guilt!

    Reply
  5. This post is fantastic! While I’m only a cat mom, these are such wonderful tips! More than ever before, we need to take time for ourselves and self care. I really love the idea of keeping a self care journal!

    Reply
  6. Although I’m not a mum myself (although I do have three cats) this is a super useful post! Self care is so important and it’s something that I try and do when I can. I love the idea of a self care notepad as well! Great post – thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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