A Poor Mom’s Guide to Free Self-Care

When I used to hear the buzz word “self-care,” I would roll my eyes. I didn’t think it was for me. I thought it was reserved for rich housewives with nannies and too much time on their hands- a way for moms to blow money on themselves and not feel guilty about it. If I was barely scraping by and counting pennies just to buy diapers, how could I even think about SELF-CARE?

My thought when someone started talking about “self-care”

When I was younger, I cared about what I looked like and took great pride in taking care of myself. I paid lots of money for a new wardrobe every season, hair and skin products, and upkeep… then, I became a mom. All of those things that seemed so important were obscured by the desire to provide for our new baby and our young family.

As a stay-at-home mom, with one income, it seemed unfair to take OUR money and spend it on me. I magnified my kids’ needs, my families’ needs, my houses’ needs and minimized my own needs. All of our money was tied up in providing for everyone else (After all, kids never stop needing things!). 

 Years rolled by and I lost the desire CARE about myself. I had to think about my family first. I gained weight and the elastic in my bras wore thin. I started wearing clothes based solely on comfort. My hair had dead ends and the roots started turning gray and I couldn’t afford a trip to the salon. My skin did without facials, moisturizers, exfoliants it was so desperately starving for. My self-esteem was taking a beating and I started to become depressed.

I grew bitter and jealous at the moms out there getting lattes and lash extensions. To me, that wasn’t real life. What mom has the TIME… the ENERGY… the MONEY… to spend on herself? I had convinced myself moms were supposed to look tired and homeless (except on special occasions) but these moms were making me look bad! What were they doing that I wasn’t? 

It occurred to me that it wasn’t about the TIME… the ENERGY…. or the MONEY. It was about the EFFORT and effort is FREE.

Effort. Hmm… I decided to start there. I had made every effort to provide for everyone else… Now, I needed to make an effort for myself.

What FREE things could I do to practice self-care:

  • Take a nap 
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Light a candle
  • Paint my nails
  • Do make-up and hair
  • Exercise
  • Read
  • Write
  • Journal
  • Go outside
  • Invite a friend over
  • Open all the windows 
  • Give myself a facial
  • Wear an outfit I love
  • Make a meal that I love
  • Find a hobby
  • Listen to music and clean
  • Craft
  • Meditate
  • Cuddle the kids
  • Watch a movie
  • Ask for time ALONE
  • Do absolutely nothing and don’t feel guilty about it
  • Spend a little bit of money on myself every once in a while

After ten years of putting everyone’s needs above my own, I am making time for myself. Last month, I was gifted with my first professional facial, lash lift, and new skincare products. It feels amazing to put effort into myself. And people notice EFFORT! My husband notices. My kids notice.

I feel so much better about myself! I have a whole new perspective and it has inspired me to keep making an effort and doing things for myself- whether its just sitting outside for a little bit and letting the wind blow through my newly dyed hair or letting the dishes sit in the sink while binge watching Fuller House with my family.  

I’ve finally learned that everyone can benefit from self-care- not just the rich housewives! 

My first professional facial

 

 

Kim McNeely
Kim grew up in a small town in northeast Alabama. She majored in journalism in college at Faulkner University. There she met baseball-playing Florida boy named David who swept her off her feet and then married her. David went right into a coaching career and Kim lost her desire to write. In 2008, they started a family and Kim fell in love with motherhood. She has been a stay at home mom for almost 12 years devoting her time to raising three children. Her kids have grown up on baseball fields and in ball parks. They moved to Lithia a few years ago and enjoy exploring Tampa and checking out the local baseball teams. Kim likes being creative and crafty. She is a list-maker, scheduler, and planner. She loves planning play dates, parties, and budget-friendly family activities. When Kim isn't at a baseball game, she spends her days convincing her 11 year old, Emerson, to put down the cell phone; helping her 8 year old, Everly, with math homework; and entertaining her playful 5 year old and only son, Easton. If she finds some free time, she writes her blog, catches up on her favorite TV shows, scrolls social media, and folds massive piles of laundry. Her desire to write returned when she realized that her children were an endless source of inspiration. She also realized she knew more about baseball than the average mom and wants to share her knowledge with others. You can follow Kim's blog and Instagram as she documents The Baseball Life.