Taking care of yourself as a mom

Mar 21, 2014 at 8:24 p.m. ET

If others depend on something, you have to take care of that thing. That thing is you.

Once you’re a mom and busy taking care of others all day, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself.

You don’t get enough sleep.

You don’t eat well.

And you skip showers and fancy things like getting dressed each day.

Not to mention, not drinking enough water, not exercising or having a fulfilling, creative or quiet moment just for yourself.

I know. I do it too. Then I wonder why I’m feeling so ragged and depleted. Why my temper is on such a short fuse, why I look older than I am and why do I have no energy?

The excuses are plenty.

But that’s exactly it! If others depend on something, you have to take care of that thing. That thing is you. If we can’t manage to take care of ourselves for ourselves, then maybe we could change our mindset and do it for them. Does that help make it easier? More motivating? Does it feel less selfish to make yourself a priority in this way?

Self-care will mean different things for different people so one idea is to start with your bare minimum like I did. Pick three things and do them every day for one whole week and then see how you feel. Take note of how the week went. It’s just an experiment. For me, I picked showering, eating something for breakfast and drinking a full glass of water. Every morning for one week. These three simple things were the priority of my day.

You know what happened? Everything good happened. It was amazing. My kids were mellow and sweet. We had significantly less struggles. I was happier. I had more energy. The mood of our entire house was lighter and more joyful. Just because I did those three simple things.

Sure, it’s embarrassing that I had to set goals to shower and eat and drink water. But I’m also sure I’m not alone in this. Moms are notorious for being good at taking care of everyone except themselves.

So pick three things and do them for a week. Just seven days. See what happens. I dare you.