• Dr Missy Wolfman

8 self-care ideas when you're a busy mum

You know that self-care is important for you, and you’ve been hearing me preach “Self-care is not selfish, It’s essential”. You may be rolling your eyes when you hear that and think “I know! I just don’t have the time!”

I get it.

As a mum you are wearing multiple hats and you are taking care of other human beings that comes with multitude of tasks and responsibilities.

I had a meeting a few months ago with a 20-something event coordinator. She was single, no kids and has no other responsibilities except for herself. She told me that she doesn’t know how mums do it because even she finds it hard to take care of herself like having clean laundry on the right day, and fitting in her gym routine with work. I nodded, remembering how I had the same struggle in my 20s to “do it all” even before kids!

This is what I said to her though, “You make it work when it’s important for you.” Self-care doesn’t have to be another item on your ‘to-do’ list. Often, it’s about thinking about your needs and thinking creatively how you can meet them while juggling childcare and other responsibilities. Here are 8 practical ideas that have work for me and my friends:

1. Listen to audiobook or podcasts. Who said that you always need to listen to “Baby Shark” or “Wiggles” when you are with the kids? Intellectual self-care is important so your brain doesn’t feel like it’s going mush with nursery rhymes.

2. Walk as much as you can with the pram or with your kids. I spent half of my time while on maternity leave walking with the “beast” (my double pram) up and down my neighbourhood. It combined many different self-care activities such as physical exercise, fresh air and meeting people. It also saves time as I was doing errands like groceries and the kids get a piece of free fruits from Countdown to keep them happy (win-win!)

3. Find gyms that offer childcare. My friend, Penny Elliott (you can watch our interview together here) is a triathlete and started swimming regularly when her baby was only a few months old. She enrolled him in a creche next to the swimming pool, and was able to get a few hours of training and work in the morning while her baby (now toddler) has a blast at creche. My local gym, Club Physical, offers free childcare every morning, and there are other gyms such as Les Mills that offers childcare. You get your exercise, and the kids gets entertained!

4. Go to baby-friendly yoga classes or fitness classes. There are mums-and-bubs yoga classes and even the trendy barre classes have some baby friendly classes.

5. Create a spa-luxe experience when you shower or have a bath. Have a shower or a bath when the kids are all in bed so you are not interrupted, turn off the light, light a few candles and put on relaxing spa music. Use your best beauty products and pamper yourself.

6. Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra just means ‘Yogic Sleep’ and it’s a guided body scan meditation to help you relax and fall asleep. The first time I tried Yoga Nidra in bed, I had such a deep 20-minute nap that it felt like I slept for hours! I use ‘Insight Timer’ app which is free and has thousands of guided meditations. Or google/youtube search ‘Yoga Nidra’.

7. Catch-up with friends while exercising, playdates or other activities that you enjoy. I love catching up with my friends while having playdates as our kids can play with each other and I get to connect with other adults. I also have a monthly book club with my friends which combine my self-care needs of intellectual stimulation and connections.

8. Have an ‘Earth Hour’ with your partner/spouse or with yourself! My husband and I used to have an ‘Earth hour’ every week where we turn off all the lights, light up the candles, and sit in the quiet and dark drinking tea and talking. If the weather was good, we sat outside on the deck listening to the tuis and the cicadas. One hour is all it takes to slow down, and for me to feel like I’m in an ‘eco-retreat’. The lack of artificial light really helps to wind me down for the night and makes me sleepy, and the candle lights makes it more soothing and calming. It combines many of my self-care needs including rest, and connection with others.

What do you think of these self-care ideas? Have you to tried them and what has worked for you? I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.

If you want more self-care ideas and ways you can do it realistically in your life then let’s have a chat! Book your 15-minute slot below – and yes, this will also count as self-care!


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