Self-care in the age of the chronically busy mama

Photography: Kantha Bae

By Hayley Bukhamsin

Mamas are the centre of the universe for their littlies. We’re their safe space, their sustenance, their primary source of love, and everything else in between. 

We wipe bottoms and clean up the spit-up; we sit there in the silence of the dark hours, holding our littles until they drift back to sleep; we research and question; we learn on the job every single day of our lives. 

We are hardwired to care for our family, day and night. And it can be completely and utterly exhausting. Of course it can.

I read recently that being a mother is equivalent to working 2.5 full time jobs. Sounds about right to me! 

We definitely put the hours in. 

And yet, understandably, we forget to care for ourselves. Too busy feeding our baby to remember to drink enough water ourselves. Too preoccupied googling Baby Led Weaning to remember to cook something nutritious for our own dinner. Too focused on ensuring our babies have a warm and soothing bath every evening to even consider running one for ourselves. 

And sometimes it’s because we feel guilty. Is it selfish to take an hour out to go to the gym at the weekend? Is it greedy to hope to get 7 hours sleep every once in a while? 

Because we’re mamas, right? We’re supposed to be sleep deprived and unshowered and rushed off our feet, right?

It’s our badge of honour to struggle along, and empathise with one another at coffee mornings. To compete as to who had the worse night. That’s motherhood, right? 

What if I told you that you CAN care for yourself, Mama? That, in fact, you MUST care for yourself? That your family’s wellbeing depends on you looking after yourself? 

It is impossible to pour from an empty cup. 

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