Self-care for mums: 8 ways you should treat YOURSELF like a toddler

toddler in field

If it seems like toddlers rule the roost, at least at your place, it’s possibly because they have a lot of brilliant things to teach us!

Those miniature people aren’t just an adorable face, they come with their own sneaky set of life lessons, if we look carefully …

1. Speak kindly to yourself

Very, very often our self-talk – that monologue inside our heads – can become a little shirty, cynical or downright mean. It can say some pretty grumpy stuff about us. Show yourself the same kindness, humour and compassion that you would a toddler, instead.

Practice forgiving yourself – or looking for the lessons in any “mistakes” you make. If you have a particularly bitchy inner voice, take a deep breath and summon up some more friendly mantras to practice “I’m doing my best” or “Tomorrow is a fresh chance at a better day” or “No need to be a cow, Inner Voice” are good places to start.

2. Give yourself lots of delicious snacks

Busy mums often don’t prioritise themselves – and might even forget/postpone eating until things have settled down. And then things don’t settle down. Argh.

This leaves mums running on empty and perhaps a little bit hangry when they really need their wits about them. Don’t let that hangry lady be YOU!

Put your own snacks and nutrition front and centre, just like you would your toddler’s. Plenty of almonds, berries, bananas, grainy crackers, cheese, juice, fancy tea, muffins, yoghurt … Smarties. I mean whatever it takes! Find what feels good.


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3. Have a regular bedtime routine

Not even kidding. Although your actual bedtime might be at the mercy of the kids in your life, you can still carve out a ritual that will help you feel cared-for and slow things down.

Make your bed every day so you can turn back the covers in the early evening. Take a bubble bath. Have clean PJs at the ready. Prep a nice warm drink to have before you snuggle down. Cue up a book on Audible or pop your phone away altogether and read a bedtime story/novel to yourself.

And while we’re talking bedtime, make sure you block in as much sleep as you possibly can (or as your child will allow!)

Portrait of a little girl of 3 years old taken overhead with a wide angle lens. Capturing her ecstatic happy toothy smile. This file has a signed model release.

4. Give yourself playdates

At times, life with kids can feel like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel. Ticking off to-do lists and navigating activities might leave very little time for the things you really want to do, and even less time for having fun with your own grown-up friends. Schedule playdates with your buddies as you would your child’s social calendar. You’ll not only lock in some much needed adult time, you’ll come away feeling much more like yourself.

5. Bounce or climb or run or wiggle

Most parents realise how important it is to ensure their small children have the space to move their bodies and let off some steam. Getting out in the fresh air – or shaking the sillies out at a play centre – makes for happier kids and helps them sleep better at night too.

Take a leaf out of the toddler-parent playbook and give yourself some time to stretch or run or dance or climb. It’s a brilliant way to get your endorphins flowing and it will make you feel stronger and more joyful (hopefully!)

Toddler in costume

6. Find time for curiosity

The toddler stage marks a child’s very first foray into wondering and asking “why?!” Hopefully this why is the first in a lifelong learning quest, but at the very least it’s a reminder to keep asking questions, staying curious and to seeking out things that make us feel interested in or excited about the world. Looking for the why and the wonder in your world is also a brilliant way to frame your day with positivity.

7. Wear what you want

I know that Instagram wants you to wear some kind of distressed skinny jeans with an off-the-shoulder blouse, but it’s way better to treat yourself like a toddler and wear what a) feels comfy, b) looks beautiful to you, and c) ever the heck you want, instead!

Toddlers are not swayed by fashion trends or influencers. Rather, they tap into their own sensibilities and express themselves in their own way. You deserve to do that too. Next time you see a toddler in a tutu, cape and hard-hat, know that they’re sending a message to you about being yourself.

Adorable toddler girl portrait on beautiful autumn day.

8. Share your feelings

Toddlers can teach us a lot about vulnerability, and are walking, talking examples of what life looks like when you don’t internalise your feelings. Granted, there are some issues with diplomacy and discipline at times, but if you carefully balance a little of those with the honest and open-hearted approach to communication toddlers favour, you might find life is a lot less complicated.

The “from the mouths of babes” phrase was coined for a reason, dear readers. A bit of toddler style applied to grown-up life can transform your day!

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