Self-Care Systems for Moms
It’s time to ask yourself – Do you prioritize your own self-care? How do you handle “mom guilt”? What if you could create systems in your life to better manage all the things and FINALLY make yourself a priority? Lucky for you, my friend, Chelsi Jo is here! From overwhelmed and burned out mama to coach for working moms, Chelsi Jo teaches how to take complicated struggles with children, marriages, housework, and jobs to functional systems that make navigating all the things a breeze! Her Systemize Your Life podcast shares detailed steps on how moms can run their life and maintain their purpose. Her purpose driven work is to make a change to the way women care for themselves and each other.
Today’s topic is an exciting one and something that all of us moms out there are aware of but don’t do enough of – self-care! My friend Chelsi is here to help us dive into self-care for mompreneurs! Chelsi’s website is chelsijo.co and she is on a mission to help mothers understand that they can change the current culture of motherhood by learning to care for themselves just as they do for everyone else and everything else in their lives! As mentioned earlier, Chelsi has a podcast entitled: Systemize Your Life with Chelsi Jo. Her podcast allows moms to have the tools, resources and systems they need in their life to be able to take care of themselves as they were created to so they can, in turn, be a better mother, business owner, wife, friend and community member!
There is such a need in the mom/mompreneur arena for the information that Chelsi gives on her podcast because moms out there really have a lot on their shoulders, right? We moms wear multiple hats in our lives, and we are so blessed to have Chelsi here to share with us some of her tips.
Why do moms have such a hard time prioritizing their own self-care? This question runs deep, and it’s truly deeply rooted in the history of women! We could talk for hours just about that…. but to bring it to a modern-day cultural perspective, I think that no one has ever taught us mothers how to take care of ourselves. Now, as moms, we don’t want to just be moms, but we also want to (and sometimes have to) take on careers so that we can contribute to our families in a financial way. As a result, many moms are struggling to find balance inside and outside the home. It’s incredibly hard for us, as women and mothers to see the benefit of caring for ourselves when we see all of these other things that have to be done. It’s a challenge for women to flip the script and see that if they would start to take care of themselves, they would be able to do their jobs, run their businesses, create more ideas and be more effective and efficient in the work that they’re bearing the weight of every day.
Looking back, I remember growing up and watching my mom do it all and give, give, give! I think women are in a generational cycle of being taught to be the nurtures, the givers and NEVER be the taker. There is this negativity around the word “taker”, but we do need to take time for ourselves! We are not prioritizing self-care because we associate it with “mom guilt”. If we go into our rooms, sit on our bed and just try to dive into a book, and one of our kiddos walks into our room and asks what we are doing, there is immediate guilt! How do we get past that?
How do we handle mom guilt? We ALL struggle with this! Because of the schemas we are given, even as young girls, young women, and even still today, we are told that our place was to be a good mom, a nurturer, a good cook, and that we had to learn to do all of these things. My whole life, I was told that. My mother gave up her entire life for her children and I watched the struggle that came with it. We get this “mom guilt” from what other people tell us we are supposed to be doing. However, the reality is that we need to learn how to be effective and efficient with what we are doing because it will allow time for you to properly take care of yourself. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed by all the work that you’re doing: the house chores, the cooking, the cleaning, the relationship building, all the fixing because let’s face it, once you’re done with all of that stuff, it’s easy to say, “well, I don’t have enough time for self-care”. By creating systems, I personally remove my guilt. I make sure that everything I want to accomplish every single day is prioritized. My relationship with my creator comes first, then my marriage, my children, and finally, the gifts I’m giving to my community. Each and every day, I make sure that I have a plan written down on paper and a system to make sure all of these priorities are in place so that when they are done, I can relieve the guilt that everyone says I’m supposed to feel because I’ve checked those boxes. After that, then it’s time for me! Sure, maybe I am still putting ME at the end of the list, but that’s ok! I am totally ok with that because perhaps I rationalize, “ok I’ve done all the other things that people tell me that I’m supposed to do, so now I can take care of myself”. It initially started that way, but the result was that it was actually making me be a better mom! For example, before I did this interview with you, Allison, I knew exactly what my day looked like and I knew that I had an hour of very intentional time to spend with my child and then I could move onto the next item on the list. My husband might be putting my child to bed or they may do things with each other in the afternoon and I could feel guilty about that… but I don’t! Why? Because I sat down and spent extremely intentional, no technology, time with my kiddo before I went on to my next task. I decided that is really what I need and what works best for me and my family. Bonus, it removes that guilt! I will say this, I don’t think that you can ever actually get rid of the guilt that moms feel, but I do think you can manage it better. We moms have that voice and committee of people that we keep in our minds that are constantly trying to object and get in the way of things that we were created to do. I truly believe in the gifts that women have but we hold ourselves back from obtaining them because we are so bogged down by thoughts of, “oh what’s my mom going to think when she finds out that I got a job and I’m not a stay-at-home-mom anymore? What’s my mom going to think when I tell her that I love going to work and getting away from my kids! What are the women at church going to think when I tell them that I do a. b. & c.? What is my husband going to say when I ask him to take care of dinner for me one night this week?” All of those things are doubts and I realized that I am worth so much more than those doubts that I have, and I don’t have to feel guilty about it. My husband loves the woman that I am SO much more when I relieve those voices and that pressure of mom guilt in my mind.
Chelsi, it’s funny that you bring up worrying about how other people think because I am working on that myself. I feel that women look for external validation and you almost need to flip the switch to seeking internal validation. I need to feel good about what I do and not worry about what my mom thinks about me not liking to cook a three-course meal Monday through Sunday! I have felt guilty about this for a long time but finally just settled with the realization that I do not like to cook, it’s not who I am, and it would stress me out trying to spend all of this time making fabulous meals and I would be upset if my kids didn’t like it! So now, we just choose things that we like to eat and once in a while I will cook, but honestly, I don’t really cook anymore… and I am TOTALLY ok with that!
That is such a valid point! We do want people to notice us and we are so busy serving everybody else all the time so we try to do it in ways that we think (in their mind) are worthy of validation and it just takes a little bit of tenacity to jump out of that mindset and explore what that is going to look like for your family. All of you mompreneurs out there are going to see that once you venture out into the world of what you think everyone else wants you to be doing and just give yourself a week and say, “SCREW THE MOM GUILT!” let’s try something different! You are going to realize that you don’t actually feel all that guilty because the internal validation is so real and you are going to start feeling so much better about the woman that you ARE. It makes it all so worth it!
What is your number one way that moms can begin to care for themselves? The first step is taking a hard look at what’s not working in your life right now. You can’t just stick a Band-Aid over something and trudge along! You have to understand what’s broken in order to truly care for yourself. There is a real kitschy way of talking about self-care these days. Sure, self-care can look like a bath or a massage or getting your nails done… but I truly believe that in order for women to start caring for themselves, they have to sit down and look at what’s not working in their life so that way can build from it and fix it and start caring for themselves.
So good! Ok, let’s go back and talk about “mom guilt”. You talked about “creating systems” and I want to make sure that all the mamas out there know what you mean about that, Chelsi.
What systems have you put in place that has created more self-care opportunities? The hard and fast systems I have in my life are systems that create efficiency so that there is time in my day to care for myself. So, let’s start with clarifying what some of those systems are: my morning routine, my nighttime routine, meal planning (let’s face it, 90% of the time moms are in charge of this!) I have a system that I do every single week and I have spent years trying to figure this out. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t anything “new”. The meal planning system is simply a menu board, menu cards that I keep in a recipe box so when I sit down and plan out the meals we are going to have for the week, I have a rolodex of meals that everyone loves! I don’t have to sit on Pinterest for 2 hours every Sunday trying to figure out what meals we are going to have for the week. I just pull a card out of the recipe box and stick it on the “Monday” clip, and I do that for every day of the week. On the back of each card are all of the ingredients that you need to make that meal so you can build your grocery list off of that. These are the systems that I have in place so that I don’t have to work so hard to do things that can be incredibly simple!
Chelsi, I am totally stealing that idea! I am one of those moms who sits down and thinks, “man, we have nothing for dinner” and I sit on Pinterest for 2 hours and when I finally find a recipe I like, I realize I don’t even know what half of the ingredients are and I have just wasted my life and I don’t have a single recipe for dinner. Then at that point, I’m like, ok… you’re all getting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! So much stress!
I swear, if the world gets anything from me, please let it be this meal planning system! The recipe cards are on my website because I seriously spend 2 hours A WEEK planning my meals and going to the grocery store and having everything set for the upcoming week. This one of the systems that has literally changed my life! I used to always go to the grocery store on Sunday’s but now I do that on Saturdays so I can leave Sunday open to take care of myself!
What are your fundamental needs and how did you determine what they are? Systems create habit and that is inevitably what we want. We want these things to be habitual and without a system, getting from where we are now into a new habit, it becomes so daunting that we never really get there. I have a workbook that helps women sit down and identify what their fundamental needs are because so many moms were never taught from our moms, or community or culture what self-care looks like. So, when we sit down, we can say, “Yes, I need to take care of myself but where do I start? I’m lost. I’m a mom. I’m a laundry doer! That’s what I am!” If we can have moms sit down with this workbook it can help them assess every category in their life like their finances, the spiritual/mental/emotional aspects of their lives, the relationship with their spouses, how they are as a parent, etc. There is a specific question for all of these categories that helps moms get their minds going. They also have to rate how they feel based on the question from discouraged all the way to encouraged. For example, when you think about your finances, how does that make you feel? Discouraged? Meh? Or Encouraged? Mom’s who use this workbook will rate how they feel about all of these fundamental aspects and core values in their lives to find out where they need the most work. Where do we need to be focusing our time and energy? For most of us, we probably are rockin’ it in one area… but really lacking in another area.
Do you find that when you work with a lot of mompreneurs that women get stuck on their self-care process because they have an issue with their own self-worth? I do! These are hard questions and they make you grapple with the reality of your life. While not all, but many women choose to get lost in their work and spend a lot of their time there. That’s not really gender based, I believe men do the same thing, but I do think that a lot of mompreneurs realize how hard it is to be responsible for children and a home and have a job, so they really like getting lost in work it’s hard to figure out how they are going to meet the needs and demands that are placed on them every single day. There is power in knowing that there is value in who you are and that you were created to be, just as you are. You’re allowed to start there! You’re allowed to grow incrementally. If you just take teeny, tiny steps every single day, that’s OK! You don’t have to be encouraged in every aspect of your life, every day. You’re allowed to start from ground zero. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how old your kids are, you can start as. you. are! These are hard questions for women who have never taken the time to examine their needs and what might need work, but I would just encourage you to do it anyway!
This has been such an awesome discussion about how important it is to take a hard look at what you’re doing every single day and figure out what’s not working and where to start with self-care. Again, thanks again for all the amazing information, Chelsi Jo! You can further connect with Chelsi on Instagram and on her website, Chelsijo.co as well as her podcast, Systemize Your Life.