Parenting: How to prioritise self care after becoming a mum


Anyone else found new levels of exhaustion and feeling depleted since lockdown began?

I very rarely take time away from the kids and house for myself, as there’s not been much opportunity the last couple of years with two babies to care for, but I really needed some headspace recently and had a lovely bike ride into town.

It took me right back to being a kid again, going off on adventures for hours at a time. Weaving past thick bramble bushes and free wheeling down rolling hills.

I rode through the lovely countryside with the sun blazing on my back, treated myself to some gorgeous sunflowers, pootled around town watching people and the busyness around me. It felt so good for the soul.

I’ve realised how important it is to recharge, and I need to make sure I get that time regularly. Now I'm no longer breastfeeding, I need to assert my right for extended time away for myself and take offers of help when they do present themselves. My kids are still very young so they need me a lot and bedtimes are tricky with just one person, but it is and will continue to get easier. 

I need to practice self care by filling my creative, emotional, physical and intellectual cup, as so to speak but after a few years of not doing much for myself, it feels daunting to know how to spend that precious speck of time I might get once a week. Who can relate? 

It goes something like, do I catch up on jobs, speak to some friends, wash my hair or do my nails, do some exercise, read a book, catch up on my tv programmes, or something more creative, like writing a blog post? That time quickly gets eroded by just not knowing how to spend it. Or life gets in the way as someone else needs your attention and you give away your time, again and again.

At different points in my life when I've felt a bit lost, I've found my self through using intention, being intentional about what I need today, tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. Being mindful and specific about what I want to achieve. However, this time in my life is not as much about achievement and doing necessarily, but about being; being me, being content, being peaceful and kind to myself.

I learned a useful technique in the past that I wanted to share, and it's called the 9 grid box. Draw a chart with nine grid boxes and write in each something like the following:



Work and finances

Social Life

Creativity and Hobbies

Health and fitness

Education and self improvement

Emotional Wellbeing


These might look different for you if there are certain things that you hold more dearly or are more important for you right now. I've put a couple of things in together but health and fitness or work and finance might be separate things for you.

Then populate each grid with what you'd like from each element of your life with realistic and measurable aims. This is less about a cosh to beat yourself with but merely a tool to help you fill your cup and feel content in each area. 

For marriage / relationship that might look like monthly date nights, a kiss when you greet each other, or more support.

For emotional well being, it might be something like therapy or simply a good catch up with a close friend to vent. Which may be separate from social time, which is more about fun with friends but is entirely up to you and what you feel you need.

I haven't done this exercise myself for a while so I intend to update my 9 grid box and try to put some realistic expectations around them. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me in the past.

Let me know how you get on or if you have any other tools to practice self care and feel more content.

S x

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