The oxygen mask approach to self care

The oxygen mask approach to self care

The topic of what self care really means for new moms came up during a recent discussion with a trusted biz mentor, who also happens to have an 8 month old. We were trying to come up with a title for a video gift I had created to help new mothers incorporate simple and effective self care techniques into their day.

As we were brainstorming a title that would truly describe the type of self care I was talking about, Vanessa blurted out what most mothers are probably thinking:

“Self care sounds like I am going to spend all day at the spa…I don’t have time for that!”


We both agreed that self care has become such a rampantly overused term that it’s hard to figure out what exactly it means. We immediately begin to imagine 2 hour massages, spa treatments, and weekend getaways. And while all that sounds nice, it also sounds really expensive and like it’s going to take up a lot of time. Time that you probably don’t have.

In fact, spending exorbitant amount of time and money on self care is exactly the opposite of what I was going for!


Because taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s a necessary part of motherhood. 

Vanessa described it perfectly when she brought up the instructions we have all received on an airplane

“Putting my oxygen mask on before I put one on my child – now that I understand!”


The oxygen mask makes sense because it’s about survival, not luxury.

There is no way that putting on an oxygen mask to be able to make sure that you can breathe well enough to keep your child safe would ever be perceived as selfish. Self care often is.

We worry about what others will think when they have heard we took time away from our family, work, partner, etc… to take care of OURSELVES. We think other people are going to judge us for it. Think we are self-indulgent. Think we are selfish.


There are enough challenges in the postpartum period. Worrying about whether other people will think you are selfish for taking care of yourself shouldn’t be one of them.

In those moments where pregnancy and the transition to motherhood can be turbulent, bumpy, scary, and feel like its taking a nose-dive, you want to have an oxygen mask. If you have the tools to take care of yourself, you will be making a difference for your kid, your spouse, and your business.