What do I need right now? In the moment self-care

As mothers, we’re great at asking what our children need right now. Are they hungry, cold or tired? Do they need a hug, reassurance, some quiet time, or a chance to run around outside? But how often do we ask “what do I need right now?”. This is an incredibly valuable self-care question.


This morning, my 3-year-old was particularly emotional. I was frustrated because he wasn’t doing anything I needed him to do, and my head was starting to hurt from the constant whinging. He was alternating between pushing me away and throwing himself at me. My heart rate was up and my breathing shallow. I was tired, stressed, frustrated and about to lose it.


At that moment, a question popped into my head; “what do I need right now?”. I looked at my little boy, and all I wanted was to be connected rather than opposed to him.


A hug.


That’s what I needed. And conveniently that’s what he needed too.


That hug stopped the unhelpful cycle we had been stuck in. We chatted. We connected. I felt much calmer and was better equipped to deal with the rest of the morning. Mums need connection just as much as our children do.


When was the last time you asked yourself the question “What do I need right now?”.


This question can help you practice in the moment self-care.


If you can take less than a minute to ask yourself this question, you might uncover a need that would have otherwise gone unnoticed and unmet.  Maybe you need:

  • A quiet moment to think
  • Something to eat or drink
  • To get outside for some fresh air
  • A hug or connection
  • To sleep or rest
  • A change of scenery
  • To talk to someone
  • Some help
  • To take a few deep breaths
  • A different perspective
  • To change your approach.


It took me a long time to make this question a normal part of how I look after myself. Now, it’s more of a habit, rather than a struggle to remember to check in with myself. It takes just a minute and it can totally change what happens next.


Motherhood is challenging in a way that no other role is. It’s relentless, exhausting, constantly changing, intensely personal and the stakes are so high. It’s no wonder that we find ourselves consumed by caring for our children, leaving little time to care for ourselves.


When we think of self-care, we often think of planned activities that may cost money or require a significant amount of time. But self-care can happen in just a few minutes, wherever you are, without any preparation or planning.


Practicing self-awareness is a valuable form of self-care. The more self-aware we are, the better we can manage ourselves and cope with situations. Asking yourself “what do I need right now?” is simple and powerful way to improve your self-awareness so you can recognise your needs and see the opportunities for in the moment self-care that already exist in your life every day.


Regular, in the moment self-care forms a habit of looking after your wellbeing in a really manageable, practical way. So, if you’re struggling to find time to look after yourself, just start small and in the moment.


What do you need right now?

Louise East is a wife, mum of a toddler and step mum of 3 young adults. She loves strong black tea, travelling, running and personal development. Louise founded More to Mum, through which she helps mums live happier and more confident lives by developing a helpful mindset, realistic self-care habits and by making the practical things in life easier.


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