5 gentle ways to for mums to practise self-kindness


Self-kindness when you are a mum

A massive chunk of our role as mums is to be kind. But, while we get very good at treating others well, sometimes we forget to do the same for ourselves. Self-kindness is just not on a mother’s To Do list as much as it should be.

That was definitely me for a long time. In fact, I went so far in the wrong direction that I became an expert in being awful to myself – and, trust me, that’s not a field of expertise that’s particularly handy. It was this treatment of myself, in part, that led me deep into depression and took a whole lot of time to work my way out of.

Now, life is all about self-kindness, because I’ve realised that (a) I need it, and (b) I can’t give much to others if I’m suffering.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about self-kindness while in the throes of parenting.

Don't miss I'm Fine and Other Lies by Megan Blandford #postnataldepression #postpartumdepression #pnd #selfkindness

Self-kindness for mums

Watch how you talk to yourself

The biggest thing I learnt while recovering from depression was that my internal self-talk was incredibly damaging, and, most importantly, that I could change it.

Usually the advice tells us to fight hard against that inner critic – we’re always told it’s a black dog or a demon, and that we have to battle it until it goes quiet. But I spent years doing that, and the battles just got louder.

Instead, I finally learnt to take a kinder approach in how I spoke to myself.

Once you become aware of how you talk to yourself, and get to know that you don’t have to put up with constant internal criticism, you can mindfully change the dialogue.

Read this too:Self-care: Why a bubble-bath just won’t cut it


Think small

While we’d all love to practise self-kindness with frequent trips to lie on a beach in Bali, ski in Switzerland, shop in Hong Kong … oops, I’m getting carried away…

Yes, big, grand gestures would be great, but the little things are actually the biggest things of all. It’s really easy to be nice to yourself when you’ve got a cocktail in hand, poolside in Vanuatu (dreaming again), but amid the daily mundanity is where you need it most.

I think every morning: “What’s one thing I’d like to do for myself today?”

Self-kindness looks different every day, so I think every morning: “What’s one thing I’d like to do for myself today?” My answer might be:

•  Go for a walk in that beautiful sunshine
•  Eat that favourite chocolate that’s hidden in the pantry
•  Read a book (even if it’s just for 10 minutes while I eat lunch)
•  Wear my new skirt (even if I’m just working from home that day)
•  Reduce my to-do list slightly so the day feels more relaxed

They’re not big expectations, but those things that seem tiny? They pile up together to create a string of self-kindness that threads through your life – and that’s pretty cool.


Practise self-kindness - it will enhance your mothering

Spend time around kind people

We soak up the words and actions of the people we spend lots of time with, so it makes sense that if we want to be kind to ourselves we should be around those who are kind to us.

That might be your friends, family, and your partner – but don’t forget to teach your kids to treat you kindly, too. Sometimes we put up with a lot of crap from the small people we spend so much time with, but no longer! They can treat you kindly by:

•  Speaking to you nicely
•  Taking your plate and cleaning up after dinner
•  Doing something thoughtful for you
•  Writing you a lovely note
•  Asking how your day was

Set the expectation high, because you’re a top-notch mum who deserves it, and because it’s good for the kids to learn that kindness to all is important.

Take your own advice

We treat our kids with such kindness: listen to their worries, reassure them that they matter, open our arms when they need a cry… the list goes on.

If we want to be kind to ourselves we should be around those who are kind to us.

I give my children all sorts of pearls of wisdom to help them feel better. I encourage them to like themselves and treat themselves well. They have lists on their walls to remind them of the things that make them feel good. And we talk about what to do when they’re being hard on themselves.

But that saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’? That was me.

These days, when I’m being harsh on myself, I stop and think about what I’d say to my kids if they were in a similar situation.

You are enough

I don’t know about you, but I’m really hard on my parenting. I find it easy to beat myself up if I think I’ve said the wrong thing or haven’t been patient enough.

I think it’s important to consciously remind ourselves often that our kids don’t need us to be perfect. They need us to be… us. We are enough.

Like me, you might be a work-in-progress at practising this self-kindness through parenting, and that’s okay. A work-in-progress is perfectly wonderful.

What do you do to be kind to yourself?

Feature image by Camila Cordeiro; 2 Rachel Lees.

Don't miss I'm Fine and Other Lies by Megan Blandford #postnataldepression #postpartumdepression #pnd #selfkindness

Written by Megan Blandford

Megan Blandford is an author and prolific freelance writer. As a well-respected voice on mental health and parenting, Megan writes for The Age, Sunday Life, Essential Baby, Kidspot, SBS, Whimn, Daily Life, Body+Soul and Headspace. I’m Fine (and other lies) is her first book – and she’s started with the trickiest story of all: the things that mums never say out loud. Megan lives in north-east Victoria with her husband, two children and far too many animals. She is, currently, actually fine.

We’re very social

More for you

The importance of nourishing self-care for mums of older kids

The importance of nourishing self-care for mums of older kids

There's something to be said for a bubble bath when you've had an exhausting day. Nothing quite like sinking into those popping bubbles, preferably with a glass of bubbles to accompany your little time out. That said, when it comes to nourishing self-care these days,...

Jules Sebastian on turning ‘negatives’ into positives

Jules Sebastian on turning ‘negatives’ into positives

Often what we perceive to be our flaws are often our greatest gift. In this edited extract from Jules Sebastian's new book Tea & Honesty, she explains how turning negatives into positives is as simple as learning to turn on your light. What a fabulous lesson for...

Saving us from perimenopause, one Hot Flush at a time

Saving us from perimenopause, one Hot Flush at a time

Nobody ever signs up for perimenopause, and yet, here we are. Is it not enough that we've already been through puberty, pregnancy, childbirth and Year 9? Is. it. not. enough? Apparently, it isn't. Just when you start to relax a little, our bodies throw this ghastly...

Affiliate links

From time to time Mumlyfe uses affiliate links.  It means that Mumlyfe may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using the link.  You can find out more about how it works here.

You may also like


Healthyish pecan caramels make a great school holiday treat

Healthyish pecan caramels make a great school holiday treat

I'm a complete nut freak, plus I'll never say no to a sweet treat, which is why I couldn't say no when this healthier pecan caramels recipe came across my desk. Who can ever resist anything pecan? Today also happens to be Pecan Cookie Day - which is apparently a...

16 hobbies for teens in lockdown and beyond

16 hobbies for teens in lockdown and beyond

Here in Sydney, we are well into our second lockdown for this pandemic. With no end in sight, all the days have begun to look extremely similar. So, it’s time to fix this the only way I know how… trying new things!! If you’re also ready to get out of the lockdown...

Great ideas for lockdown school holidays from a happiness expert

Great ideas for lockdown school holidays from a happiness expert

Lockdown school holidays are upon us again. In pre-pandemic days, many parents and carers would be busily planning holidays interstate or overseas, booking in play dates, organising day trips or tee-ing up visits to family and friends. Instead, a significant amount of...



  1. What to do if your teen is self harming | Mumlyfe - […] to look after yourself. Like most of the challenges we face as parents, looking after our child during this…
  2. Mental health vs mental illness: creating a routine for mental wellbeing | Mumlyfe - […] THIS WILL HELP TOO: 5 ways to be kinder to yourself […]
  3. Can you really be happy and busy at the same time? | Mumlyfe - […] Related: 5 ways to be more kind to yourself […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This