Ah, the joys of new motherhood: endless bottle-washing, diaper changes, spit-up stained laundry… laundry… laundry…
Judging by the sound of all of the above, you’d probably assume I’m burnt out and ready to throw in the towel on being a parent, huh? Well, as any other mother would likely agree – I do have my days where I’m simply trying to keep my head above water… but, I’d like to credit most of my sanity maintenance to keeping a daily goal to take care of myself at the start or the end of the day.
Below are my daily intentions for self-care to ensure I am at my best as a wife and mother. (NOTE: The keyword here is – intention.)
1. Get dressed and put on makeup – even if you don’t leave the house.
Just because I don’t get a full night’s rest doesn’t mean I need to look like it. I make an effort to put on actual clothes (Yes, leggings count here.) and do a simple makeup routine every morning. Even if I don’t have plans to leave the house, feeling like I am mildly put-together helps me to look forward to the day with more positive energy.
2. Get out of the house – even if it is just to check the mail.
Well, to piggy-back off of my first point – fresh air truly works miracles for the spirit. Whether it’s a quick walk to the mailbox or a drive to the grocery store, I always come back feeling renewed or recharged.
3. Vent to another mom.
I’ve briefly mentioned on an earlier post how important it is to have a secure tribe of other mamas to reach out to who have been through any challenges you might be facing. It feels so much better to let off some steam to someone who can relate in the moment. All it takes is a little reassurance from another mom to keep me on my toes.
4. Trust your spouse to be a parent.
As mothers, we are programmed to always have everything under control. Spit-up? Here’s a burp cloth. Blow-out? Here’s an extra outfit. …but, we have to remember that our partners are also parents and it’s important to let them be parents while we’re away. Otherwise, yes – you’ll have a physical break… but, never a mental one.
5. Wake up before the rest of the house.
This is the toughest bullet point to follow-through on. I fully intend to wake up before Leo and my husband – but, most days, Leo is my alarm clock. However, when I do manage to drag myself out of bed before the rest of the house – I feel ahead of the game and mentally prepared to tackle what ever I need to accomplish that day. Think of it as a business manager preparing the store for business before the doors open.
6. Put down the broom and dust pan – do one thing to relax.
If you’re anything like me, it is hard for you to sit still. Even if it is just for a minute, I make a conscious effort (usually when Leo is napping and/or when my husband gets home from work) to sit down and do something that helps me to relax. Whether that is enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, I make sure I am doing something to shut my ‘mom mode’ off for a brief moment. (If you struggle with this, I suggest using a timer. You’d be amazed at how long 10 minutes feels when you simply have a seat.)
7. Give yourself grace.
It is difficult to accept how drastically different your body may feel and look after having a baby. Grace, self-love, and acceptance are important here. Creating life is a miracle; our bodies go through the ringer to bring forth a child into the world.
…and, the sooner we learn to love and appreciate what we have done (despite the added weight, stretch marks, or scars) – the happier we will feel every time we look in the mirror.