To say that Nicole Snyder has her hands full would be an understatement. The Iowa mom has five children ― one 6-week-old daughter and four sons, ages 7, 5, 3 and 2 years old.
As a result, she knows the value of taking a few moments for yourself in the midst of the chaos. On Aug. 11, Snyder, who blogs at “My Unfiltered Chaos,” wrote an Instagram post about the fourth trimester and self-care.
Snyder explained that she was listening to January Harshe’s podcast, and the host shared some mantras that really resonated with her. “Do no harm. Take no shit,” was one of them, and the other was “something along the lines of ‘If you’re not at the top of your priorities, you’re last.’”
The next morning, two of her sons and her newborn were up at 5 a.m., and she and her husband were tending to them. “I went downstairs, drank my coffee and started my daily grind of parenting and keeping small people alive,” she wrote. “But I also desperately needed a shower; physically and mentally. So I left the hubs with the boys, got the baby back to sleep and went to take a long shower.”
Though her husband popped in to ask how long she was going to be, Snyder said she refused to rush this small act of self-care. “I was taking this time for myself. I couldn’t fill anyone else’s cup and be the mom/wife they need unless I’m OK,” she wrote. “It wasn’t selfish to shave my legs and actually wash and repeat with my shampoo. It was necessary.”
Once she got out of the shower, the baby was fussing. “I could’ve scooped her up and forgone the rest of my out of the shower routine, but she was OK,” Snyder wrote, adding that she instead laid her daughter on the floor next to her as she did her skin routine, combed her hair, got dressed, and then hugged and snuggled the baby.
“I felt human again. Recharged. And she was fine,” the mom said.
Snyder concluded with a message to her fellow parents. “If it’s saying no to something, taking a shower or aimlessly walking around Target alone; do what you need to do to be the best you!”
Snyder told HuffPost she decided to share this message because she wishes she’d realized it earlier, when she was a new mom. “I was a mess then, always trying to make sure everything was perfect for everyone else,” she said. She hopes first-time moms see her post and know that they can take a break and not feel guilty about it.
“Being a parent is hard and exhausting,” she explained. “It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup, so we have to be sure to fill ours before giving everything to everyone else.”
Snyder said she wants people to realize that every parent struggles, even if they don’t share it on social media.
“I’ve vowed to be a ‘real person’ on the internet: the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m not a perfectly curated feed; I’m messy, because motherhood is messy,” she said.
“I think so many moms compare themselves to those of us that share our life online and think they aren’t doing something right or ‘measuring up,’” she added. “But I hope when people read my post they realize that everyone needs to take care of themselves, no one is super human.”