As a mother, your attention is constantly being pulled in multiple directions. Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned pro with more than one child, you probably know what it feels like to put everything on the line for your child. Their needs always come first, and women — especially mothers — are likely to put everyone else before themselves. After all, who has time for rest and relaxation when there are soccer practices to attend, meals to make, Band-Aids to administer, and clothes to pick out?

mom and baby

It’s easy to see where things can get pretty sticky for mothers: In the midst of all this chaos and scramble to get everything done for your kids, you can quickly forget about your own needs. The sense of individuality swiftly evaporates in the face of the new identity of Mom. It’s common for mothers to fall into this predicament, and unfortunately, not making time for oneself can lead to feeling stressed out and irritable. When you’re a mother, it’s important to put time aside for self-care and rest, even if it seems as though the child-rearing tasks will never end.

Let’s take a look at why self care is such a vital thing for mothers, and how moms can — and should — grab some space and time for themselves.

What’s Holding Moms Back?

Although society has moved leaps and bounds in terms of equality and feminism, in many areas there’s still the pervading sense that women are the keepers of the home, and the primary caregivers. This is even more so when a woman becomes a mother, and for good — and practical — reasons: They need to be a presence in their child’s life, providing support and care. Yet with all the other demands and trapping of everyday life, it’s too easy to end up overloaded and stretched too thin.

>> Read more: 12 Things to Stop Blaming Yourself For

It’s understandable that mothers should be busy — the welfare of one’s children should indeed be a priority, and work needs to be done in order to ensure a solid career and steady paycheck. But outside of the physical world, it’s also easy for a mother to fall prey to feelings of guilt if she thinks she’s not doing enough for her child. If a woman would rather take some time to herself instead of spending time with her kids, she might end up feeling guilty that she’s thinking about herself more than her children.

sad older woman

More mom guilt these days comes from social media. One glance over perfectly posed family photos on Facebook or artistically arranged school lunchboxes on Pinterest, and a mother can feel like she doesn’t quite add up to other mothers. This feeds the cycle of feeling inadequate, and that more must be sacrificed in order to give a child the best life possible — unfortunately, the sacrifice usually comes from the mother’s own stores of time and energy.

Why Self Care Is Important

The term “self care” has often been applied to professional businesswomen seeking work-life balance, but at its core, it refers to taking the time needed in order to rest, recharge, and create harmony in one’s life. With the fast-paced world of today, more people than ever are overwhelmed by the amount of stimuli coming at them at all times, and so it’s no wonder that many people seek out self-care tactics in order to reclaim a bit of themselves.

This is especially true for mothers of all ages. For the reasons mentioned above (and even more beyond that), it’s hard for them to find time for self-care in between the physical demands of child-rearing as well as the internal guilt over whether they’re doing enough to be the best mother they can be. Add in a job — often needed to support a family — and you have a recipe for some very stressed moms.

But for a mom to take the time for some self care can be one of the best choices she can make — and it can benefit the entire family, as well. A mother who’s trying to juggle too many things without taking a moment for a breather can end up overlooking important details, forgetting things, or being overall exhausted. Trying to do too much may result in not being able to do much of anything.  As an article at PsychCentral says, “Sacrificing your needs for your child serves neither of you.” Instead, it’s far better for a mother to have the time to rest and clear her mind, which can better equip her for the day-to-day demands and tasks of being a mom.

Click “next” below to see how busy moms can successfully take better care of themselves!