By Brandi Lee

Single mothers are busy. I’m living proof! But that old saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup, rings true in our lives. We owe it to ourselves, and our babies, to practice self-care. And not the buzz word version of self-care. But the holistic word. The self-care that penetrates through making mani and pedi appointments or hitting the snooze button. It’s the self-care that manifests in not just the physical but also the emotional, mental and spiritual.

This type of self-care doesn’t happen by chance. It’s an intentional process. After becoming a single mother of two boys, I had to force myself to create a plan to take good care of not only my children but also myself. The plan evolved, depending upon the season. That’s because not all self-care is effective every day. Some days you need a bigger dose. Like the weeks filled with twelve-hour workdays, sick children and pounding migraines. Other days you need less. But every day, you need a plan.

I’m able to develop a cost-effective plan utilizing the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  The library offers lots of activities, allowing me to breathe in peace and happiness and breath out stress and anxiety.



Yoga has helped me meditate and move. As a mom and professional, I rarely have time to just “be”. Yoga allows me to slow down and breathe and get in exercise. It also helps me manage my anxiety. I recently attended a free class at my neighborhood library branch and escaped from my daily grind. Classes are held throughout the city, several times a week. You can check out a class here on Mondays, here on Tuesdays,  here on Wednesdays, and here on Sundays!  

The library also offers Tai Chi and Meditation classes!



When I need to relax, I can be found curled up in a chair with a good book in my hand. And I don’t read about self-care! I select something education, uplifting or entertaining. If you don’t have time to read, you can still submerge in a story. The library has a large selection of audiobooks. If you’re an avid reader, you can join Single Mom Defined’s book Club, coming to a library near you this fall.


If you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, take a break and take a walk. One of my favorite places to stroll is at CLP- Main in Oakland. Inside, I roam the floors and browse the stacks. Outside, I walk around the courtyard, which is filled with flowers right now and adjacent to a park.


Journaling allows me to capture special moments in my life as a mom. I can look back and relive a milestone or reflect on my growth over the years. I also enjoy Bible journaling, which is a double whammy of spiritual and emotional self-care. I know I’m not the only one who likes a good two for one. If you want to connect with other writers, CLP – West End hosts a writing workshop, which I plan to add to my self-care plan in the future. 


The library offers lots of free, fun family activities for kids of all ages. There’s everything from storytimes and concerts to arts and crafts and classes, such as gardening. Sometimes we think self-care means dropping the kids off at the babysitter’s. But self-care also includes enjoying your family and making memories that will last a lifetime.

So the next time you know you need a moment of self-care, head to the library. Coming up next in our sponsored series with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Merecedes Williams will share her experience with her little one at the Family PlayShop.