Imperfect Mothers

Raising functional families, one mistake at a time

Self-Care for Moms, Part 3

2 ways to keep on doing your "thing"

I hope you have been enjoying a lot of success in your self-care routine. Today, I’m sharing my experience during these past several weeks, along with some pitfalls I encountered. Most importantly, I’m excited about sharing two ideas that have helped me do my thing on a regular basis.

1. Set Yourself Up For Success

In the first post of this series, I encouraged you to choose your thing—and to choose wisely. Well, I didn’t take my own advice. I decided to choose not one, not two, but three activities: journaling, reading, and creative writing. My plan: Each morning: write for 30 minutes. Each night: read for 20 minutes; write in my journal for 10. I'd have a satisfying sleep, content in the knowledge that I gave myself time to do the things I love. Then, I'd greet the dawn and start my routine all over again.

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Seemed like a great plan. And, 60 minutes seemed do-able. Yet, I was continually disappointed that I was not fulfilling the agreement I had made with myself. Gee, I wonder why? I set myself for complete failure right from the start. All these things—and more—are important to me, but I needed to have only one activity to track, so to speak, to make sure I was getting in my self-care time.

I hope that you’ve experienced lots of success in the past month. But if you haven’t, it’s probably time to reflect on the past few weeks and notice any pitfalls that got in the way of doing your thing. Do you need to buy a new pair of walking shoes? Cordon off a private area in your house? Order more supplies for your project? Buy a certain how to book? Sign up for a class? I’ve already ordered my next four books from the library so there’s no gap in my reading self-care goal.

Plan for success in the coming month by making whatever changes necessary to insure that you can keep on doing your thing.

 

2. Make it Measurable

This next tip might not be for everyone, but here’s a tool that I’ve used over the past month to insure that I engage in self-care. It’s based on comedian Jerry Seinfield’s system to motivate him to write every day. He simply writes a large red X on each day that he writes. After seeing a chain of Xs for several days in a row, it’s hard not to keep the chain going. Of course, as a busy mom, my self-care chain has been broken many times. But this system works for me because it’s a visual reminder that I’ve made a commitment to myself to take care of myself.

There are many ways to keep you mindful of your own agreement with yourself. Remember those behavior charts on the fridge that you used with your preschooler? Convert it to a “Taking Care of Myself” chart and give yourself some fun stickers each time you accomplish your goal.

There’s also the stone-in-a-jar technique. Each time you do your thing put a pebble, shell, or bead in a clear jar and watch it fill up. If you rarely get to paste a sticker or add a stone, then it’s probably time to set yourself up for success, find a way to make it measurable—and start fresh.

My next post will be about the importance of flexibility and accountability on your self-care journey. Until then, keep on doing your thing.

Andrea Fox is a stay-at-home mother and widely published author of personal essays concerning the challenges and humor of parenting.

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