Recently I saw a funny video on social media where a cute mom was making fun of the fact that basic human needs are treated as a luxury once you have kids.
Sitting down to eat? Ooh. Someone’s feeling fancy.
Grocery shopping alone? What a breath of fresh air!
Washing your body? Treat yo’ self!
As a new mom, the “mom-life satire” type of content can make me cringe sometimes. But mostly because I wish it wasn’t as relatable as it is.
I’ve done a pretty good job of surrounding myself with people who don’t belittle me or cause me to feel disrespected as a mom. And yet I still often feel like I’m somehow less of myself than I was before. Like I’m less worthy of doing the same basic things I used to easily do that aren’t so easy anymore.
Why has my brain told me I’m a bad mom if I ask someone else to keep my baby safe and happy while I do something (anything) else??
I recognize it and I fight this thought process basically every day. It has gotten easier.
Since birthing a baby, I’ve been forced to learn a lesson in…
Giving up so much of yourself to become and evolve as a mother is the most beautiful thing. In the same breath, it is NOT selfish to prioritize your needs.
In my experience, it’s in your best interest to prevent the effects of postpartum depression, anxiety, general stress, etc. If your goal is to take the best care of your baby, you have to fill your own cup.
Your baby deserves a happy mom!
While a lot of changes may be pretty much non-negotiable (I’m looking at you, sleep deprivation), do your best to keep as much as you can of your regular routines. Embrace the challenge of including your baby sometimes.
Here are some ways to practice self-care.
Take the time to wash your face, even if it’s during lunch one day or at 3am the next.
Bring a bassinet or swing into the bathroom for the baby while you shower. It’s okay to take a few extra minutes even if they start to cry, as long as they’re safe of course. It didn’t take long for my baby girl to enjoy listening to the running water and my silly songs.
Strap on a baby carrier and make your favorite meal special, just for you. Throw in a good dessert.
Take a walk. Babies love those, and your brain and body will thank you.
Write down your thoughts and any heavy emotions in your notes app. Talk to someone about it. Breathe and acknowledge your accomplishments. Read affirmations.
Plan ahead to do something unrelated to childcare. Enjoy it.
Say no to plans that you know will be too draining.
And can we talk about guilt for a sec?
Let’s talk about guilt.
Feelings of guilt can pop up as a result of judgment (from others or yourself), from self doubt, from comparison, from mistakes… the list goes on.
I believe that if you’re feeling this way, you automatically deserve some credit! I’ve been dealing with these feelings by reminding myself that it’s because I’m always trying to be the best mom I can be. I know that I have the best intentions. That alone is reason enough to erase the guilt and give myself some compassion.
Life with a baby can make you feel crazy! You really do get broken down and rebuilt from scratch. It is worth it to see your little baby grow and smile. But know this.
You deserve love.
You deserve support.
You deserve bubble baths and naps and exercise and movies and hair appointments and Oreos.