21 ways to love yourself, even after you have kids

I never knew love like what I experienced the first time I saw my daughter’s face. In that moment, it felt like my heart had swelled to near bursting. Looking at my husband at the altar on the day of our wedding, felt very similar. I experienced that overwhelming love again when my son was born. All day, every moment I’m awake, the three of them are on my mind. I’m never not thinking about them, pondering how to make life better for them, relishing in the love I have for my family. 

I need to be loving myself the same way. All too often I push my needs to the bottom of my to-do list. Inevitably, I never get around to taking care of me. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. Learning to cherish myself the way I cherish my family has been a long process. I was a people pleaser in my past life, and remnants of that still show up from time to time. I see the trait peek in when I’m tired but I say yes anyway. Or when I need help, but I try to do it all myself.

Now that I’m older, wiser, and have had time to heal from my past, it’s time to focus on loving me. How I treat myself doesn’t have anything to do with my husband, my kids, my friends—it’s about giving myself what I need to be able to be well in this I’m living.

When I talk to my friends, I hear similar stories. We’re all too busy being everything for everyone else, that we end up being nothing for ourselves. It’s time to love ourselves again, Mamas. If we’re not alright, everything will fall apart. Here are a few ways to start:

1. Make (and keep) doctor’s appointments.

2. Wake up early to meditate.

3. Set a strict bedtime for the kids so you can have time to decompress at the end of the day.

4. Go to bed at a decent hour.

5.  Schedule someone else to cook at least 2 nights a week. It shouldn’t all be on you.

6. Get a hobby. It doesn’t have to be something formal, just something you do at home like crochet or painting.

7. Have good sex. And if you aren’t, find out why and fix it.

8. Get dressed every day. Even if you mostly just stay at home. You can wear outfits that are cute and comfy.

9.  If something is taking you longer than 30 minutes to do (i.e. folding laundry), ASK FOR HELP.

10. Buy and use good, rich lotion that everyone knows belongs to Mommy.

11. Drink water.

12. Save the sugar for truly decadent, delicious desserts.

13. Stay connected to your girlfriends.

14. Get massages regularly.

15. Throw out your old panties and bras. Buy some that look good and fit well.

16. Say no as often as you feel like it.

17. When people ask you how you’re doing, tell them in detail. Especially if you’re thriving.

18. Forgive yourself for things you did in the past.

19. Cut off people who don’t make you feel good.

20. Read a devotional every day.

21. Don’t wait for people to figure out what you need. Tell them.

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