Take Care, Mamas: The Case for Being Selfish In Your Self-Care

Emily Cretella Working Parent

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“I smell nail polish.”

I was picking up my girls from school, and as I scooped up my youngest daughter's face in my hands to give her a kiss, she grabbed my wrists. Examined my fingers. She sniffed again.

“Did you go to the nail salon?”

Caught. Out.

She was right. It was a Wednesday, and in the middle of a busy day of writing and business planning and a client presentation, I got a manicure and pedicure. My chipped polish took priority over my piles of work.

And I'm kind of proud of that.

Because it wasn't slacking. That morning I had sat at my computer for hours straight, plowing through work, being super productive. My to-do list was getting massacred. I felt great.

And then: I hit a wall. I simply COULDN'T start on a new task. I had no brain power — or will power — left. So I went to the nail salon.

On the way, I listened to an amazing podcast, which gave me about five ideas for new business blog posts. During my pedicure, I thought of a few new business ideas. And as my nails dried, I watched a soap opera on closed captions.

It was awesome. But it's something I'm just learning how to do: recognize what I need to be happy and productive.

When I first became a mom, I thought total self-sacrifice was the thing. I felt guilty doing ANYTHING that would only benefit me personally.

Now, six years and two girls later, I see how painfully wrong that was.

The term “self care” is a bit ridiculous, but the concept is important. Taking care of yourself is critical if you want to be your most effective, fun and happy mom-boss-self.

However, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert. So I'll leave the self-care advice to the authorities. Here are some of my favorite articles on the topic of self care, as well as my favorite quotes/ideas from each:

45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

This article includes tiny self-self care ideas for the mind, which I love, like:

  • Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
  • Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.
  • Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bings of social media and email.

Self Care For Mom Bosses (Being Boss Podcast #33 with Rebecca Egbert)

I’m a huge fan the Being Boss podcast, and this episode touches on some great ideas and topics. I love this quote from Egbert, who is a postpartum health expert:

“Make an investment in yourself that takes you out of mother role and puts you into boss/woman/friend role.”

Self Care & Investing in Yourself (Boss Mom Podcast Episode 52)

Another podcast. Can you tell I'm a total junkie for them? In this episode, hosts Dana and NJ give great advice about investing in both yourself and your business. They also talk about the big G — Guilt — and how we often feel guilty about spending on ourselves. NJ says:

“As a business owner and mother, I learned I couldn’t give from an empty well.”

77 Self-Care Ideas for Creatives

An expansive yet doable list. I like it because it kicks off with this idea:

“My self-care routine will be different from yours. It is simply about knowing what works for you, what fills your cup and what makes sense in your life. It is to be played around with and explored. The more you figure out what works for you, the more higher levels of creativity and fire you can operate out of. YOU'RE NOT ENDLESS. YOU'RE DEEPLY DESERVING OF CARE.”

So that's a start! But I want to know: how do you take care of and invest in yourself and business? Share your wisdom with us, mama!


About the Author

Emily Cretella

Emily Cretella is a content marketing strategist and copywriter, and the publisher of . She loves being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings.

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