The importance of self-care for new moms
Your precious bundle of joy that you have so anxiously been awaiting to arrive is finally here! You probably have everything (or almost everything) prepped and ready to bring that sweet babe home. There are a few things you may not be prepared for because, well, there really isn't a way to prepare for some of the changes about to happen. For example, the feeling of pure exhaustion that you may experience in the first months (or even year) from a lack of good sleep… or the frustration you may have resulting from a baby who doesn't sleep well or who may cry a good portion of the day. There is also that experience of losing yourself in the hustle and bustle of the day's chaos, feeling like you are taking more steps backwards than forwards ALL while you are still wearing the PJ's you've slept in the last two nights. Oh, and I forgot to mention those things your husband will probably say that you may take too literally or personally, causing you to burst into tears and leaving you (and your husband) wondering why you are crying.
This sweet little baby is solely dependent on you as the parent/caregiver to meet their basic needs and to love and encourage them as they are figuring out this new thing called the world. With that being said, during this time the parents/caregivers more easily forget or put aside the important task of meeting their own personal needs.
You have most likely heard the term "self-care" and maybe even read some information about self-care. It is a pretty hot topic - especially in the mom world. Google search tells us that self-care is: "the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress." I would definitely put parenting (especially when parenting multiple children at a time) under the category "period of stress".
We just recently brought home a new addition to our family. Sweet baby George will be 3 weeks old this week and what a precious little man he is! I was so nervous as to how my 2 yr old twin boys would receive having a new baby around to share mom and dad's attention with. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why I'm sharing our first family picture with you that we took the night we got home from the hospital with George (the picture at the top of this post).
Let's just say we all had some adjusting to do, LOL! This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it because it is a great depiction of how life can sometimes feel (and look) on this parenting journey. Moms wear many hats and tend to juggle a lot each and every day. We are mothers, daughters, friends, wives, employers/employees, entrepreneurs, we often maintain the household, and the list goes on! It can easily start to feel like we are spreading ourselves too thin across the board. Pouring every ounce of energy and patience into caring for our little humans, all while still learning how to incorporate taking care of ourselves can feel HARD!
But let me ask you this: How can you expect yourself to effectively pour into others when your own cup is empty?
This is why it is SO important to be sure that we are taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally before we can take care of others, including our children! This is where self-care comes in to play. Self-care is more than just watching your favorite show on TV at the end of the night. It is something you incorporate into your everyday.
- Make sure that you are setting aside time to eat your meals and hydrate.
- Take showers when needed.
- Know that it is OK to need and want a little time to yourself.
- Don't put off your appointments.
- Go to the dentist.
- Don't cancel that hair appointment.
- Feeling depressed? TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT IT! If you need to, then go see a therapist!! Your mental and emotional state is just as important as your physical state!
Give yourself the freedom to not compare your "everyday" with the highlight reels you find on everyone else's social media.
All those friends and family members who offer to come over and help out if you need it? Take them up on the offer and use that time to do something for yourself like:
- Take an uninterrupted bath or shower
- Take a nap
- Get out of your comfy clothes and go to the store alone.
One time while I had family visiting, I went to go get a coffee all by myself then I parked my car in the parking lot, and I sat in silence as I drank that hot delicious cup of caffeinated goodness. Sounds silly but that is what I wanted and needed to do. Once I returned home I felt so refreshed.
Self-care looks different for everyone but it is important to find a balance of caring for yourself AND others. You can't give away what you don't have and you can't take care of others well if you aren't taken care of, too. Fill your cup first so that you are then capable of pouring out into others! And Momma, let me tell you a secret…you are worth taking care of yourself!! You are doing big things every day!