Squeezing in Self-Care

Parenting is a lot about sacrifice. Who are we kidding—it’s almost entirely about sacrifice. But being a mom doesn’t mean you have to be a martyr. Certified life and parenting coach Ali Katz has made it her job to spread this message and help overwhelmed moms find the time and energy for self-care. She even wrote a book about it, “Hot Mess to Mindful Mom: 40 Ways to Find Balance and Joy in Your Every Day.”

For her, it all began with meditation. “I started noticing amazing changes in my life such as less stress and anxiety, better sleep, a stronger immune system, and less reactivity,” she says. Up until then, she had been putting herself last on her list and ignoring her own needs, but that meant that her family got an overwhelmed and exhausted version of her. Spending just a few minutes a day on self-care meant a more present and joyful mom. So how can you do it, too? Here’s what Ali has to say about making self-care a priority.


“As a new mom, adding anything to your life can feel overwhelming, especially with a new little bundle of joy at home. Your attitude toward self-care can really make or break your routine. Try not to think of self-care as another “to-do,” but instead think of it as a gift you are giving to yourself.”


“Gratitude can be a game changer. It is impossible to feel stress and overwhelmed and gratitude at the same time. And people who practice gratitude have stronger immune systems, stronger connection to others, and a better outlook on life. I like to start and end the day with gratitude as a way to energize myself in the morning, and to recap my day in the evening.”


“If you are anything like me, reminders really help in the midst of being overwhelmed. I suggest putting a note that simply says Breathe next to your baby’s changing table. Whenever you change his or her diaper, take a few nice, long, deep breaths… I have a note taped to my bathroom mirror that says Gratitude and I see it every time I brush my teeth. When I look at it I list a few things in my head that I am grateful for.”


“I found that my phone was becoming more like another appendage, and mindless scrolling was taking away from how present I was with my family. I encourage all moms to put their phone on ‘do not disturb’ for a few minutes a day, even ten or fifteen. And I also love walks outside phoneless. And I use an app called Moment on my phone that tracks the amount of time I spend on email, text, and apps. I allot a certain amount of time for myself each day, and when it’s up, it’s up. I put my phone away, which ends up being super relaxing!”


“Another favorite tool I use in the afternoons is peppermint essential oil. I rub a bit on the back of my neck to pep me up and get me through the afternoon slump if I am really tired!”


“There will be days that you are totally on top of your self-care, and days you slack, but after you fall off your routine, simply come back to it. That is serious growth! Always be compassionate toward yourself, and do your best not to compare what you or your baby are doing to other moms and kids out there. I call it ‘staying in your own lane.'”


“There is so much advice out there in books, on podcasts, online, and it is all valuable…however, nothing is as important as listening to your intuition and doing what feels right to you.”

Whitney Harris

Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer living in Westchester, NY, with her husband and toddler daughter. Find her online.