Today was a busy day. The hours spent at my full-time teaching job were filled with paperwork, projects, busy kids, and (of course) teaching. After my work day, I battled traffic home and was then swept up into the hustle at home to get dinner on the table before my family passed out from hunger (or so they claimed). And after, I tried to soak up as much of my crew’s love before needing to start our nighttime routine and prep for tomorrow.  

This is just one day in my life, but it’s pretty much my every day as a full time working mother and wife. My days are of full of caring for other people and meeting their needs. It’s a fulfilling life of snuggles, loving gazes and appreciative drawings of crayon rainbows…but it is still a life I need to check out from a little bit every day. 

My everyday life is clearly busy. So busy, in fact, that it’s easy to lose sight of my own needs in the blur of the day. But no matter how busy it gets, there are a few things I make sure I always do for me ….and just me. Because I need to be one of the most important people in my own life.

 I turn off the world…just for a bit.

Whether it’s yoga, reading a book, going for a long walk on my lunch break, or enjoying a glass of wine in my room with a closed door, I turn the world off for a little bit each day. Some days it’s an hour. Other days I can only swing 10 minutes of solitude. But no matter how much or little, checking out of the hustle and happenings helps me to hold on to my sense of self-importance.

 I put as much effort into my food as I do my family’s.

I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter, someone joked that I’d soon be eating the leftovers off her highchair tray as my meals. While I totally recognize that eating beautifully plated meals every day is not a realistic part of motherhood (even for a food blogger), I’ve refused to let the importance of my own meals slip by the wayside simply because I have a family. I take the time and effort every day to make a beautiful lunch for my school aged daughter, but I’m not eating her leftover crusts of bread. My lunch is just as lovingly and thoughtfully packed. I deserve that as much as she does. (See: 6 Tips for Transitioning Your Family to Real Food)

 If it is not a quick yes, then it’s a solid no.

It’s easy to get caught up in saying yes to things that I really don’t want to or need to do…mom or not. I learned a long time ago that my time is precious and important. If something doesn’t really and truly matter to me, I politely pass on the opportunity or offer. Whether it be to participate in an event at school, a blogging gig, a day trip with another family, or even dinner out with a friend after a long day at work, if my initial reaction isn’t “oh yes!” then I know I don’t truly want to do it and pass it on by. My life needs to be filled with what brings me joy, is vital and most important, not cluttered with things that make me feel “meh”.

 I remind myself of all the things I did right that day and that I am grateful for.

I am awesome. That’s not conceited or arrogant, it’s the truth. I do a lot of great things every day and I deserve to remind myself of that. So, on my drive home, I list off the things I did right and the things I am grateful for. I, of course, reflect on the things I could have done better, but I try not to dwell on them. I celebrate my successes and learn from my failures. And it’s funny how I have a lot more success at the end of the day when I start counting them.

It’s easy to lose sight of your own needs in life. It’s easy to put yourself last. But it’s also not doing anyone any favors. You are important just like your family, friends and job are important. You have to take care of yourself in order to have anything left for anyone else. Empty wells have nothing left to draw on and drained mamas have nothing left to offer.

What are the “must-dos” for yourself each day?