Have you ever wondered, how the HECK am I supposed to find the time to take care of myself when I have a baby who demands ALL of my attention?
Am I being selfish for wanting to feel good about myself again after I’ve had a baby?
Believe me, I can totally relate to these thoughts and feelings!
For those of you who don’t know, I recently became a new mother to my first child.
And WOW, to say it’s been an adjustment is a huge understatement!
Before having my baby, I was so used to getting up in the morning, taking my time to wash my face, do my makeup, have breakfast at a leisurely pace, brush my teeth, go to the gym – I had my whole routine perfectly established down to the minute.
I could do everything in that exact same order, never really having to think about anything else other than what was next on my to-do list.
Once I had my baby, however, it was a TOTALLY different story. Self-care as a new mom was what I was facing with now.
Suddenly, I had this little human who fully relied on me. I couldn’t eat lunch until he had his lunch, and I couldn’t even pee without him latched onto my breast.
AND even when I did finally get around to making a meal for myself, it usually consisted of me holding him with one hand and making my food with the other free hand and holding him in my lap while I ate (because he wouldn’t let me put him down!!)
Yeah. The struggle is real.
Have you ever tried eating a sandwich and salad with only one hand? It takes twice as long and pretty much half of the food ends up on the floor (or on the baby’s head). I’ll totally admit that I’ve picked leaves of lettuce off my baby’s head and eaten it.
Don’t judge me – it was a good salad.
So needless to say, for the first few weeks after having the baby, I was actually in shock that I didn’t even have time to splash my face with water in the morning let alone put on any makeup or eat without a baby in my lap.
After a couple of weeks of wearing PJ’s all day, going make-up free, with my hair piled in a messy bun on top of my head, (and a few too many days without a shower), I started feeling a little bit BLAH.
I reached a point where I just wanted to feel like myself again, especially since my pregnancy had taken a real toll on my self-esteem.
Now I knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to do a full hair or makeup routine, or cook elaborate meals with a demanding baby wanting to eat every hour, so I really had to prioritize my time.
Here are some of the strategies that helped me find some time to take care of myself as a first time mom so that I could start feeling like myself again and ROCK motherhood!
Take Advantage of the “Free Time”
I know what you’re thinking.
What free time are you referring to?
There generally isn’t a whole lot of free time in a day with a new baby, but EVERY once in a while you might find that you’re able to put the baby down for a few minutes in the crib or swing or occasionally maybe, JUST MAYBE, the baby will sleep in a little later in the morning (totally wishful thinking).
Take advantage of those times to wash your face, put on some makeup, fix your hair, get dressed, or eat breakfast.
And take a shower for crying out loud. The key is DON’T doddle. Get it done and get it done fast.
Do something that makes you feel remotely human and good about yourself.
After those sleepless nights with a newborn (not to mention the shitty sleep you get during pregnancy), you need to do SOMETHING that makes you feel like you again.
I find that if I don’t take advantage of those few moments in the day where I can actually put the baby down, before I know it, the day is gone and I’m still in my PJ’s and fuzzy slippers.
Doesn’t exactly make you feel like a million bucks.
I’m a strong believer that us mamas need to take care of ourselves so that we can feel good.
Because if you feel good, it will only make you a better mother, wife, daughter and friend.
And that deserves a mom of the year award.
Seek Help from Others
This one is huge and often hard to do especially if you’re stubborn and feel the need to prove that you can do it all on your own.
As a new mom, there’s a certain degree of pressure to prove to the world that you’ve mastered this whole motherhood thing and that you’ve got EVERYTHING under control.
But you totally don’t need to prove ANYTHING to anyone. If you’ve got people around you who are willing to help out, I’m telling you, take advantage of it!
If you feel guilty, keep reminding yourself – it takes a village to raise a child. It truly does.
I’ve been very fortunate to have my in-laws close by and they often offer to take care of the baby for a couple of hours during the day so that I can take some time for myself to get things done.
During this time, I usually choose to go and do a workout because I know that it will help relieve any stress or frustration, clear my head and make me a happier person in general.
Nothing like lifting some weights to make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world (and lift that 50lb carseat!!)
Not to mention, after I’ve gotten out of the house for a couple of hours, I always come back home feeling refreshed and more positive, which I’m sure the baby can sense as well.
Happy Mama, happy baby.
Share the Load
By the end of the day, I’m usually in need of a little me time…. okay A LOT of me time.
Especially after caring for a baby ALL. DAY. LONG.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby, but sometimes… mama needs a break!
I’m fortunate to have a very understanding husband who pitches in and helps take care of the baby and chores around the house.
Usually when my husband gets home from work, he’ll take the baby so that I can get things done that I wasn’t able to do during the day, like take a shower, read or work on other hobbies that I enjoy (like blogging!)
If possible, share the load with your husband so that you can have some time to unwind and refresh. It can make a world of difference in your mood!
Rock Motherhood As a New Mom
So at the end of the day, if you want to rock this whole motherhood thing (and who doesn’t?!), it’s so important to schedule that time to take care of yourself.
Things like taking a shower, doing your makeup, eating a healthy meal, working out – whatever makes you feel more like you (and not like a walking zombie who hasn’t showered for days) to help you feel like you can conquer the world!
The best way to do this is by using your “free time” wisely, and relying on those around you to help out with the baby every once in a while.
Not only will this make you feel better about yourself, but everyone around you will be happier too!
So go ahead and take some well-deserved “me” time.
You got this mama!
Over to you – what is your #1 self-care tip you can offer to new moms?