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When I think about the crazy things friends and strangers alike said to me when I was pregnant with my twins and in the early weeks after their birth, I’m not sure whether to laugh, cry, or scream. The common themes were “never sleep again,” “never eat again” (to be discussed in a future post), and “never shower again.” Well, we’re 10 months in and I’m happy to report that I’ve taken a shower ALMOST every day since I came home from the hospital. Yeah, it’s not only possible, but it’s easy if you’re committed to it. On the days that I didn’t shower, here’s why:
- The Percocet they gave me after my c-section made me so dizzy that standing on a slippery surface next to a glass door seemed like a bad idea. The massive blood loss I suffered during the section also didn’t help.
- My c-section incision hurt and I didn’t want to stand up that long because I didn’t want to take another Percocet.
- I decided I’d rather get an extra 20 minutes of sleep — a choice I’ve been making from time to time since high school.
- I didn’t really need a shower that day.
- I didn’t feel like drying my hair and it was cold out.
- I had just gotten a haircut and didn’t want to ruin my blowout.
- I was feeling lazy.
Here are five tips for making personal care part of every day:
- Pick a shower time that makes sense. In the early days of motherhood, I sacrificed my morning shower preference for a more practical evening shower after the twinfants were asleep for their longest stretch. I’d pump for a few minutes, shower, then pump again for a few minutes and fall into bed for a completely relaxed snooze. Now I’m back to showering in the morning, which helps me wake up and get started on the right foot.
- Create a daily routine and stick with it. If you do the same things in the same order every day, it makes it a lot easier to make showering a fact of life instead of a luxury. For example, if you shower in the morning your routine might be:
- Wake up and make bed.
- Get dressed.
- Hair, face, teeth. (Include moisturizer so you don’t end up looking like this in a few year.)
- Pour the coffee and get the kiddos up.
- Set yourself up for success every day. One easy way to make your mornings go smoothly is to lay out clothes for yourself and your kids the night before. Another is to get the coffeemaker set up before you go to bed so you can just flip it on when you wake up. Make it part of your bedtime routine so you can run your mornings on autopilot. FlyLady offers outstanding resources for getting started with routines.
- Combine steps and cut corners wherever you can. Daddy-in-Training saves time by brushing his teeth in the shower. (Here’s a detailed step-by-step with photos in case you’re an idiot. FYI, that is NOT Daddy-in-Training.) I know moms who shave one leg every day. I use a combination shampoo and conditioner when I’m pressed for time. If I don’t have a two-in-one handy, I just mix shampoo and conditioner in my hand. I can have a complete shower (sans detailed shaving) in 2.5 minutes.
- Create a menu of safe activities to keep the kids busy while you shower. My kiddos are still small enough that I can plop them in the Exersaucers or Johnny Jump-Ups for up to 20 minutes before they start to get bored and frustrated. If they’re feeling particularly cranky, when all else fails I roll the Pack N Play into my bedroom and leave the bathroom door open. When they were smaller, I put them in their bouncers on the bathroom floor. For older children, a “play yard” can create a safe area. Arts and crafts are also a great distraction (make sure everything is washable JUST in case). And of course there’s always the dreaded TV-as-babysitter. Fifteen minutes never killed anyone, and it’s definitely the lesser evil when choosing between a brief period of screen time or losing your sanity. When in doubt, you can always let the little ones shower with you! Whatever you choose, rotate activities so they don’t get boring.
It definitely helps if you get up and shower before the kids are awake or do it after they go to bed, but that’s not a requirement. What is a requirement, though, is taking care of yourself. You need to fill your own tank regularly so you can do what you need to for your family. And setting the example of a good self-care routine will teach your kids invaluable lessons about finding balance in their own lives as they grow.
How do you find time to shower every day? Leave a comment.