Creating Space for Self-Care: Loving Yourself As Much As You Love Your Kids


Last semester was brutal.

After some scary life changes in the spring, I made some choices out of fear that really loaded up my schedule.

In addition, some awesome opportunities came my way. But they came with heavy time commitments.

There was a lot of stress, a lot of tears, and a lot of simply trying to keep the plate spinning for one more day.

Just don’t look up. Don’t look up. If you can’t tell how much they are wobbling and teetering, maybe you won’t freak out as much.

Self-care wasn’t even a blip on my radar screen.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I certainly hope not—for your sake—but if so, know you’re not alone.

If you’re like me, you may also regularly find that after a dark, confusing period of time, you often have renewed clarity.

Do I want so many plates in the air?

With no free space?

No room for life?

If not, what DO I want?

Here’s what I know. Like deep down know.

I love helping my kids figure out what they like, what they enjoy doing, what they’re good at. It doesn’t take a second thought for me to create space and opportunity for them to grow, develop, thrive. To care for them, through knowing them, is one of the ways to communicate my deep love for my children.

But seriously.

How can I honestly be my best at helping them do that—know and love themselves well—if I’m not taking the time to know what I like, what I enjoy doing, what I’m good at?

I don’t think that I can.

I read this really piercing excerpt from Desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson recently:

Because I was aware of what I loved, I was able to build some of those joys into my interaction with my children, as an anchor that gave both me and my children pleasure. If a mom is passionate about what she loves, her children will learn to have passion and joy in their own lives, following the leadership of their mom.




Creating Space for Self-Care: Loving Yourself As Much As You Love Your Kids | Des Moines Moms Blog

And truly, change is hard.

But loving is hard.

Yet, so worth it.

And mamas, grandmamas, aunties, girlfriends, sisters, and the whole lot of you—you are worth it.

The biggest and scariest step for me was the creating of space for self-care.

It meant I had to give up some of those good things (time commitments, work, extra income) for the best thing.

Okay, now that I think of it, that was pretty hard, but the meaningful filling of the space might have been even harder. And I’m not even through with it.

It’s this constant struggle, right? I could totally take this space I created and fill it up with kids’ things again or an exaggerated Netflix queue or a bunch of random stuff that isn’t refreshing, filling, or loving.

So I’m still figuring it out. But here’s what I’ve got so far.

Creating Space for Self-Care: Loving Yourself As Much As You Love Your Kids | Des Moines Moms Blog

I’m loving the me that can feed others. Literally or otherwise. Taking the time to meal plan, to share recipes, to coordinate meals for others feels so dang good. Yes, it has all sorts of added benefits for my family and kiddos, but truly it delights me.   

I’m loving the me that has an encouraging word to share with those who I run into throughout the day. For me, that translates to reading. A lot. Thanks to an Amazon giftcard and free digital library lending, I’ve been able to finish three books and have four started (yep, I can keep them all straight!) since January.

I’m loving the me who has a creative outlet! Thanks to a healthy Joann’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby habit over the years, I’ve got a pretty well-stocked craft supply. I just hadn’t made the time for it. I’m making extra messes in my own house and not minding. Say wha?!

In loving myself, I am finding pockets of joy. And my kids are seeing that!

Now, I am incredibly blessed to have women in my life who I can look to and say—PROUDLY—look at her go! She loves herself! She’s creating space for the amazing person she is!

One of those people is my dear friend Alisa. She’s owner of Buttery Bun Bakery and is going to provide two dozen cookies to one lovely reader. We hope you’ll munch on them while you’re figuring how to create space for self-care this February.

To be entered, just comment below and complete the sentence “I’m loving the me… .”

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Does it involve good conversation? Will it leave people thinking and feeling connected? Is there a chance of diet Coke? Then count me in! I’m a relationship-building, student-advising, psychology-teaching, craft-making, food-experimenting wife to Jensen (July 2007) and mama to Leo and Louie, the two most handsome, dark haired, long-lashed little men I’ve ever met. My current hobbies include finding awesome take-out restaurants, convincing everyone I know that the best party is a THEME party, and adding books to my “to read” shelf on Goodreads.


  1. Such a great reminder! I’m slowly learning to say no to good things and save my yes for the best things. It’s so easy to be a selfless martyr as a mom, but it’s not healthy! I’m trying to make positive changes before we welcome baby #3 this summer!

  2. The reading habit. The me that actually sits down and spends a few minutes on MYSELF. Not just listening to a podcast while cleaning up lunch or folding laundry while watching 30 minutes of forbidden tv. The me that has permission to do something completely for myself – like reading a book. Latest reads: The Lake House by Kate Morton and Hands Free Life! 🙂 Keep on momma!

  3. I am loving the me…
    Who reads (probably too much) and who laughs a lot.

    I am working on taking the time to laugh through my day.. it makes all those crazy times seem soo much better when I can grin about how funny the baby looks with peanut butter smeared on her eyebrows vs being upset that there is a peanut butter mess all over the walls 😉

  4. I’m loving the me that is enjoying time spent with my daughter and her friends as a Daisy leader. As much as it drives me crazy I love seeing how excited and happy it makes her and I know this will be something she remembers and hopefully does for her daughter. Plus, I’m loving the me that will remind her of the time we hauled 77 cases of Girl Scout cookies for her.

  5. I’m loving the me…
    Who writes in her gratitude journal. I don’t always immediately have things come to mind at the end of the day, but just taking that 5 minutes to reflect and see the good even in the hard helps shift my perspective and end my day with joy.

  6. I am loving the me… that took a chance and signed up for a class even though I was about to have a baby. And have attended all but two of them (short break for baby). And have learned and grown so much from this class. I am loving the me… that did something for myself that is actually for others, because as I fill my cup, then I can fill others.

  7. I’m loving the me that has a long term perspective and therefore is faithful is the monotony of motherhood and doesn’t get down with the little annoyances that come up in life.

  8. I’m loving the me that sits down to read! I set a goal of reading 50 books this year (I love to read, just haven’t taken a lot of time for it), and I’ve read 11 books this year. Trying not to feel guilty about all the stuff I could “get done” is so hard for me!

  9. I’m loving the me that picks up a book every time I nurse. Or makes coffee/lunch dates with friends.
    Great post, Autumn. So important and it seems like the first thing we let go when life happens.


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