Moms tend to put their kids’ needs before their own. And if you are also responsible for the money, the house, and a million other things, your own health is usually something that gets put on the back burner. (Unless you are already cooking dinner for the family on that back burner…)
If your kids hate veggies, it’s harder to make yourself a healthy salad for dinner. If one of your kids has a last-minute school project due tomorrow, you’ll function on a few hours of sleep. If you have too many things to do during the week, why bother to schedule in some exercise for yourself? And stress? Girl…single moms are stressed out!
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask
But, those airlines have a point. If you fail to put on your own oxygen mask first when you are falling from the sky and instead you help your kids put their masks on first, you’ll pass out and possibly hit your head on the tray table before you get a chance to put your own mask on. Then little Johnny will be left to slide down that big inflatable airplane slide into the ocean by himself.
So put your silly mask on first!
There’s many ways to begin to look after your own health, but I’ve listed a few here, to get the ball rolling.
I grew up on the ickiest salads in the world–iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, maybe some shredded carrot or diced celery thrown in, with Thousand Island dressing. Fake bacon bits or a few slices of hard-boiled egg if things got fancy.
No wonder I hated salads!
Then I grew up, and discovered the wide world of diversity in salads. You mean lettuce comes in other colors, just like skin??
And not only lettuce, but there’s so many other yummy things you can choose to go on your salad–corn, pomegranate, tuna, avocado, mango, black beans, salmon, brown rice, so many choices! At the moment, my sons only like a few veggies, and of course they usually don’t overlap in their choices of favorites, but I do try to include a salad for myself to boost my health.
Oh, for the days when I could sleep in on Saturday!! I think this won’t happen again regularly until my youngest is a teenager, but at least everyone usually sleeps through the night now. Yeah, twin babies were tough, and so was having an infant (my last son) as a single mom.
Since we all know how important sleep is, the best thing to do is maximize the sleep you can get.
Make your bedroom as dark as possible, or wear an eye mask. Wear ear plugs or use a white noise machine to block noises that can wake you up. Keep your sleeping environment cool and comfortable. Try to go to bed and wake up as much as you can around the same time. Re-ee-l-a-xxx…
One word: endorphins. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Ain’t nobody got time or money for an expensive gym.
If you have an internet connection, you can download free workouts online. Your local library usually has videos to check out. You can walk on your own two feet around your neighborhood or even your house (up and down those stairs, ten times, three times a day!). Lift some canned goods to work your biceps.
Get a sweat on, your heart pumping, some endorphins going, and improve your health.
Stress is unavoidable, especially as a single mom. Learning some ways to cope, however, can help lower how much stress affects you.
Having a self care routine in place, even if it’s just a few minutes a day or a half hour a week, makes a huge difference in keeping stress at bay. Things that calm and soothe you such as deep breathing or stretching help. Hugs and kisses from your kids can usually lower your blood pressure as well.
There’s Only One You
This lesson came into clear focus for me a couple of years ago when I had my first burst ovarian cyst, which landed me in the emergency room and then in bed for several days. Super painful! I’ll spare you the details, but it jolted me enough to pay closer attention to my health. I realized that if something happened to me, my kids are still too young to take care of themselves on their own.
I know that we can’t prevent everything in life, but we can help some things. Being proactive with your health as a single mom, even in little daily choices, does give you some control. To paraphrase, if Mama ain’t healthy, ain’t nobody happy…
Amy is the writer behind A Lady and Four Gents. She is a self-employed single mom to four boys, including twins. Amy traded her full-time career and outrageous commute for more time with her kids. She hopes to inspire and equip other single moms to build confidence, pursue personal independence, and design the life they long for.