The way we mother is as varied as we are as women.  Some of us are single, some are married, others divorced.  Some of us mother full-time from home, while others split time between home and work.  And then there are those of us who keep businesses and households running like well oiled machines.  The needs and wants of our families so regularly take center stage in our lives that tending to ourselves is often an afterthought at best.  But the truth is that we cannot be the great moms and women that we strive to be if we do not make ourselves a priority.

Here are eight things that every mom needs in her life to be her best self and rock on.

1.  Indulge, Indulge, Indulge

Every mom needs that something that she probably shouldnt have, but relishes anyway.  For me, its coffee.  It is the first thing that I look forward to when I wake up in the morning.  I love it hot, caffeinated and bold, with creamy vanilla flavored half and half, and a dash of cinnamon.  There’s nothing like sipping it in one of my many beautiful mugs that I collect especially for my morning time delight.  Its what gives me my fuel and comfort before the days chaos.  Even when I am dieting and banishing sugars and dairy, coffee (all doctored up just the way I like) is the must-have in my life for which I make no excuses or concessions.  It is truly one of my greatest pleasures.

2. Have a Fitness Obsession

Yoga is mine.  Hands down.  After practicing for about two years, I have finally advanced to an intermediate level.  I am definitely challenged, but Im loving it.  I do not know how I managed without yoga in my life for so long.  I begin every weekend with an hour-long class.  It is just what I need to center my mind and body after a hectic week of work and mommying.  I push my body to limits I never thought possible, and my spirit experiences the peace and serenity that it needs re-focus and reinvigorate.  Yoga makes me a stronger and calmer woman.  It is a practice that will forever be a part of my life.  Namaste!

3. Enjoy Some Free Time 

Now here is where your village comes in.  Even the woman who puts the “super” in mom need not mother every waking second of her life.  The batteries must be re-charged.  Go for that walk, grab that Starbucks, have dinner with friends.  Do whatever it is that gives you a well-deserved break and rejuvenates you.  Single-motherhood, with a very limited village, rarely affords me this luxury, but I snatch it whenever and how ever I can get it.  Always make time for self.

4. Pamper Yourself

Ill admit that my self-care took a major dip during my first year of motherhood.  Never one to be caught in public without hair laid and make-up done, I was suddenly the queen of the barely brushed hair, naked face, chipped nail polish, leggings, and throw-up stained t-shirts.  My attitude was you want me beautiful or here?  I thought that being a mother meant skimping on caring for myself to constantly care for my son.  Wrong!  Pampering ourselves is our note to self that we still matter.  It is our reward for a job well done after a week of self-sacrifice for our jobs and families.  So I’ve since gotten back to my weekly manicures, and wash and sets at the hair salon.  Sometimes its the little things that make us feel so much better.  Treat yourself to a pedicure, massage, or facial.  You deserve it.  After all, when you look good, you feel good.

5. Have a Cocktail or Two–It Never Killed Anyone

Moscato.  Moscato.  Moscato.  Did I say moscato?  It has certainly been a repeat saboteur of my diet, and it is not heart healthy red.  But who can resist delicious fruity flavors like strawberry, peach, and, my favorite, mango?  Not me.  So to my moms who, shall I say imbibe from time to time, cheers! 

6. Keep Those Connections With Friends

This one is probably the hardest to do.  Not for lack of desire, but time.  Momsdays are consumed with feedings, potty training, play dates, skill building exercises, tantrum control, the list goes on and on.  For the working mom, squeezing in time for friends can be difficult and for the working single-mom, such as myself, it can be nearly impossible.  But doing so is a must.  Girlfriends are there with the laughs, encouragement, and kuddos that moms need to keep on keeping on.  Great girlfriends give life.  Cherish and keep them close.       

7. Pursue Your Passion

As much as we love being mothers to our children, being a fantastic mom means being a well-rounded woman.  We owe it to ourselves to be as in love with ourselves as we are with our kids.  And that means having a passion and pursuing it.  One day, the kids whom we have made the center of our world will be out in the world living their own lives.  We will need to call upon those things that feed our spirit so that we can continue to enjoy our lives as women as much as we have as mothers.  Whether it is photography, writing, music, cooking, or something else.  Nurture your passion.  In years to come, you will be glad that you did.

8. Always Come From a Place of Gratitude

Life has a way of sometimes throwing more curve balls than we could ever imagine.  I have always been a glass half empty as opposed to a glass half full kind of girl.  But surviving some of the lowest points of my life has taught me the power of giving thanks.  I used to roll my eyes to the heavens when people encouraged me to have an attitude of gratitude.  But life, hard knocks and all, has given me so much for which to be thankful.  We grow in gratitude.  Be grateful for it all.

Photo credit: ali edwards / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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