Let me tell you…Self-care as a mom is incredibly important.
If anyone had told me how much I was going to struggle during that first month, I’m not sure I would have believed them.
There were so many times I would be crying on the couch, or in bed, bemoaning how simple tasks were hard, my life was only about pumping and bottle feeding, I was getting no sleep, and I was wanting quality time with my husband so bad.
It felt like everything I once enjoyed doing had been snatched away from me in the blink of an eye, and there were days I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and not come out. Ever. Or at least until my child was about 4 years old.
Just like everything…it get’s better
Our marriage struggled for a bit in there too, as we learned how to communicate all over again. Along with baby came new needs, and voicing them was hard for both of us. This made life feel pretty lonely at times, but I’m happy to say we’re figuring out a new normal, and our marriage is pretty much back to normal again.
As much as I loved our little peanut, there were times I was so tired of holding her all the time, and with my tear, I couldn’t burn off stress and energy like I normally would have. “Me time” was in short order, and part of me felt guilty for wanting it.
Which brings me to my main point…
Never feel guilty for doing stuff for YOU.
A refreshed mom is a good mom, and we were all created with passions and dreams. I truly believe that our lives don’t have to end the moment we have kids. Sure, there is some re-adjusting, and things take a bit longer and get interrupted more, but there is no reason to give up doing things for you.
Your baby can survive without you for a couple hours, so enlist your husband, in-laws, a family member, or a friend you trust to take your peanut for a bit.
Even if they don’t take a bottle…just make sure they have a good feeding and you’re safe for a bit.
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Self-Care Ideas for Mom’s
- Get a haircut! It had been three years since I had one, and you could tell. I left Amiya with my husband, and while she apparently started screaming, he gave her a bottle and she was fine when I got back. I felt like a new woman and all it took was an hour and a half.
- Get a massage. Again, only an hour or so, but you will feel amazing afterwards, and ready to take on carrying a baby everywhere again
- Get your nails done. It’s nice to have cute nails even on sweatpants kind of days.
- Shower. I’ve been hearing from a lot of moms who say they go days without showering because their baby just cries. I absolutely cannot not shower, so that’s not an option. If you can get someone to come over or have family or a neighbor that would take the baby for a bit, just ask them for help so you can shower. Take your time and enjoy it.
I actually always shower at night which is great because if Amiya isn’t already in bed for the night, my husband can take her, and he’ll put her to bed. This means that every night I get a relaxing shower, and I feel human.
Even if you’re not a night shower kind of person, give it a try if you’re able and just see how it goes.
- Brush your teeth and put makeup on. This form of self-care might not seem that big, but we all have those mornings where the tiny human demands to be held, and we push everything aside, even breakfast, to bow to their every wish. Sometimes you get lucky and they sleep late and you get up before them, but most of the time that doesn’t happen. What do you do? Change their diaper and feed them, take a few minute to talk to them and give their squishy cheeks some kisses, and put them in their bouncy seat, swing, etc.
They might cry, but they will survive. You’re not a bad mom for getting yourself ready for the day, and a touch of makeup goes a long ways to feel like the woman you were before baby came.
- Go clothes shopping. Odds are your body is a totally different shape from both your pre-pregnancy and pregnant self now. You might find yourself staring at your closet wanting something flattering, comfy, and that you can also breastfeed in and come up short every time.
Can’t leave the baby? go with a friend and take turns handing him/her off while you browse and try stuff on.
Small budget? Hit some different Goodwill’s…you can easily get an outfit for $15 or less.
- Dress up a bit! Wear something cute, complete with makeup and jewelry. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but to me it always makes a big difference.
- Take yourself out for a coffee/Meet up with a friend. Enjoy some girl time, talk about life, encourage one another and come back energized.
- Go on a date with your spouse. This is my favorite form of self-care. My love language is quality time, plus I tend to be more of an introvert and my husband is my favorite person to be with. We are fortunate to live next to my in-laws, and they are always more than happy to take Amiya.
You don’t need a ton of time for a great date… We went out for lunch, and bowled two games +drive time in two hours and had a blast. Peanut slept the whole time, and I was so excited to see her when we got back.
- Give your spouse a massage. I see you over there…you’re like, “WHAAAAA??? I thought this was for me???”
Don’t forget your partner is all of this… life has been so much about you, and they need some love too! I actually did this for my husband about 4 weeks postpartum and it was wonderful! Again, my in-laws took Amiya and my man got a massage while we enjoyed just talking, and we even got some snuggle time afterwards.
They will feel refreshed too, and in turn will usually be more supportive so it’s a win-win situation.
- Exercise. Depending on where you’re at after having a baby, this is a great form of self care. Even if you’re not cleared for exercise completely, just go for a walk! Go alone and listen to music, a podcast, sermon…whatever floats your boat. Go with your partner or a friend. Or, if you don’t have anyone to watch the baby, put them in the stroller or front pack during their nap-time. You can still listen to something, or just enjoy the sights and sounds. Self care doesn’t always have to exclude your baby, especially if that means you won’t do something that makes you feel better.
You can also try some yoga or Pilates videos while the tiny human naps. If they wake up and you’re not finished yet, remember it’s ok to let them cry for a few minutes. Or if you know they just want to eat and then will be happy, feed them and then finish what you were doing.
- Start a blog. Sound crazy? It kind of is, but if you enjoy writing and feel like you have experiences that will help others or just want an outlet, it’s a fun way to do something you enjoy from home.
Once I’m done with house stuff and Amiya is napping I make a run for my computer and crank out as much as I can. It keeps me busy and is something I really enjoy.
- Cook or bake something. For those that love being in the kitchen this is a great option! Pass the baby off and make something you’ve been wanting to for a while and get creative! For me personally, this is not something that was appealing even though I enjoy baking…
- DIY something. Had a project you’ve been itching to do? Let life slow down, ignore the dishes and start on it.
- Meet up with a friend who also has a little person. This one has been huge for me. I’ve made a friend who has two little’s, one of which is only 10 days older than Amiya. I always feel so refreshed after talking with her, and we don’t have to find a sitter. We chat amidst breastfeeding, and diaper changes…
- NAP! Just like they say…sleep when your baby sleeps. I took so many naps with Amiya on the couch in those first few weeks. It’s hard to stay down while recovering, but enjoy the fact that no one expects anything from you and just sleep.
- Pick a movie you’ve been wanting to watch. Lounge at home with a good movie or tv series and enjoy baby snuggles.
- Read a book.
- Take a bath. I’m not a bath person, but if you are, go for it! Enjoy soaking in a warm tub with some music and maybe even a book.
Self-care doesn’t have to be anything huge.
Often times it’s the little things we give up when a baby comes, and those little things add up over time.
Sometimes it’s things like:
- Making the bed. I don’t know about you, but if the bed is made and our bedroom is decently clean, I feel so much better. When it’s cluttered I feel like I can’t function.
The same goes for the rest of the house.
Sometimes I pass the baby off to family and clean the house with windows open and music going, and feel energized as I crank stuff out.
Other days it’s a mad dash to get stuff done while she’s napping, but I feel good because I got stuff accomplished and my husband gets to come home to a clean home.
Learn how to “do you” with a baby.
This takes some figuring out, but you’ll get there! You can still have a life after baby without always passing them off. Start making small goals to do one thing for yourself each day. Remember, small things repeated over time make a huge difference
MAKE time for your hobbies. You love on your family, so love on yourself too.
What does self-care look like for you?