Moms, September is the new January for self-care: ESSAY originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Genevieve Shaw Brown is the family editor at Good Morning America Digital and the author of a book on motherhood and self-care that debuted as the Amazon best-seller in the parenting category. Her book, "The Happiest Mommy You Know, Why Putting Your Kids First is the Last Thing You Should Do," was published by Simon & Schuster.
Today the notion of "self-care" is all the rage. But when I published a book on the very topic just two years ago, the mom mob came for me. The premise of the book -- treat yourself as well as you treat your children -- was a novel one. There were lots of supporters of course, but detractors as well. Many couldn't believe that I had actually stated what I thought was quite obvious: If mom isn't happy, the rest of the family won't be either.
I, like countless other parents, have been frantic the last few weeks getting my children ready to go back to school. Did their supplies arrive at the school? Which teacher do they have? Who is in their class? Are their shots up-to-date? Who should I put on the in-case-of-emergency form? What after-school activities should they be enrolled in? How will they get from school to those activities? Did they complete their summer assignments correctly? Do they really need new lunchboxes, snack sacks and backpacks? Do their uniforms still fit?
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Even though I wrote a book on the topic, self-care is still a struggle. It probably always will be. It's so easy to forget yourself, to keep putting your needs -- and I am talking about the basics here, like sleep and seeing a doctor -- on the back burner, even as we fret over bedtimes and maintaining a schedule of our children's check-ups and vaccinations. But with back-to-school upon us, I realized it's a good time to take a look at all we've done for our kids in the last few weeks and simply do the same for ourselves.
5 easy ways to resolve to take better care of yourself
Make your doctor appointments. I’m willing to bet your kids have all their routine doctor and dentist appointments scheduled. What about you? Look at your calendar and pick a date a few months from now where you can get everything done in one day: dentist, annual checkup and any specialist you’ve been meaning to see. You’re a lot less likely to cancel or postpone a day of visits than you are a one-off appointment.
Make plans to catch up with friends. Chances are you’re planning play dates for your kids to catch up with friends they missed all summer, but it’s also important that you take time away from parenting to connect with the friends you’ve been missing out on seeing.
Sleep, sleep, sleep. Most parents are making sure their kids are getting enough sleep to be their best selves at school, but what about you? If you make your kids power down at a certain hour to get a good night’s rest you should do the exact same for yourself. Take a bit of alone time once the kids are in bed, then shut off the electronics and the lights to make sleep a priority and your waking hours the best they can be.
Get a haircut. Or get your nails done. Or get a new outfit. Just do something to feel fresh and new, the same way your children surely did on their first day of school because of your time, effort and well-earned money.
Get back to your favorite hobby. No doubt your kids are signed up for all sorts of activities that will (hopefully) enrich their lives. Do something you love too, whether it's running, reading, crafting or cooking.