It’s true what they say, that you can’t pour from an empty cup. You need to care for yourself before you can care for others. This is especially true for new moms.
Think about it...throughout your pregnancy you took your vitamins, drank plenty of water, rested when you felt you needed to and ultimately made sure to take good care of yourself. All of this care was taken because in order for you to give your baby the best start, you needed to take care of you first. This shouldn’t change simply because your baby has arrived! Sure, it’s going to require discipline to set aside time - and while being a mom often means you have to make sacrifices, self-care should not be one of them!
Rest (notice I didn’t say sleep) when the baby sleeps
This might mean different things for different people. For some it could mean watching their favourite show on the couch with a cozy blanket. For others it might mean having a cup of herbal tea and reading a book. Whatever recharges your batteries, do it while the baby sleeps. Don’t feel pressure to sleep, but if you’re a pro napper this would be a good time to exercise those skills! Yes, there are things that need to get done, but you’ll be much more energized to take on daily tasks if you’ve given yourself a chance to unwind and recharge when you aren’t tending to your new little bundle. For mamas with more than one little, your energy will be even more sacred. If it’s an option, arrange a day or two a week for someone you trust to watch your kiddos while you rest and recharge while you’re kid-free, whatever that looks like to you!
Prioritize your hygiene and skincare
When I first came home with my second daughter I was terrible at using my time wisely enough to take a shower daily. It took some nudging from my husband to make this a priority - daily - and by making this a habit I somehow felt much more productive. Being clean in the morning gives a sense of readiness for the day. It’s as if you’re telling your body it’s time to wake up and do this thing. You can even indulge a little by giving your skin the royal treatment with Goddess Sugar Scrub. You created a human and brought them into the world. You, my dear, are a goddess and your skin deserves a treat! This scrub will leave your skin feeling soft and clean, and it’s elegant fragrance will have you feeling fresh and fabulous. Sugar scrubs also make great gifts for any new or expectant moms you know. After receiving self care items from a family member before my daughter arrived, I now have a new rule for baby shower gifts: always include something for mama!
When you’re ready, get out!
The first few weeks of your baby’s new life (and yours) are a time of transition. You may even spend most days inside your home as you adjust to this new life. That’s okay! This is a precious phase and the time you spend soaking up new motherhood may not feel super exciting or productive, but now is not the time for either. It’s not going to happen right away, and it will definitely depend on the climate, but getting out can have major benefits after you’ve been at home with your baby. You can start small by going for a walk around your neighbourhood or nearby park or if it’s winter consider strolling through the mall. At the very least you are getting a change of scenery and some fresh air, and who knows - you may meet a new mama friend along the way! The important thing is, you’re doing something that’s good for you, and what’s healthy for you is healthy for baby!
The above give you a few ideas to practice self-care, but how do you plan to make sure you take care of yourself after your baby arrives? If you need reminders - use your phone calendar or write it on a sticky note somewhere you can see it. It may even be helpful for you to look at your week ahead on Sunday evening and pick a day where you will commit to treating yourself. Give yourself permission to relax. Motherhood is not a sprint to push yourself through, it’s a marathon and requires endurance which can only be maintained if you pace yourself. Often that means slowing down and giving yourself permission to practice self-care.