Happy mom, happy baby: Tips for new moms
Entering the world of motherhood is a beautiful thing; the tears of happiness from seeing your new baby for the first time, the warmth that fills your heart the first time your baby smiles at you, and discovering a type of love that you never knew existed, the kind that only a mother can understand. But let’s be honest, motherhood is not all sunshine and roses. A new baby requires a lot of your time and attention, leaving little time to tend to your own needs and wants. It may seem natural, sacrificing your own needs for the sake of your baby, but sometimes as new mothers we can get so lost in the world of caring for our babies that we forget to care for ourselves.
What is so bad about sacrificing my own needs for the sake of my baby you ask? Nothing. However, it is important to find a healthy balance between spending all of your time and attention on the new baby, and finding time for yourself. When we forget to attend to our own needs and wants, sometimes we can begin to lose our sense of self. Maybe you stop doing your hair and makeup, or maybe you stay in your sweats all day while you take care of the baby, these are the things that can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction within. The most important piece of advice that I can give to new mothers is to remember that a happy mom equals a happy baby! Here are a few tips to maintain your sense of self amidst this time when everything seemingly revolves around this new, beautiful baby….
Whether you are staying home or just going to the grocery store, get yourself ready for the day. Do your hair. I mean…do your hair the way you use to before baby came along. Same thing goes for your make up and clothes. One of the first things, as new mothers, that can get put to the side is how we prepare ourselves for the day. Just like almost all other humans, we gain a sense of identity from how we present ourselves to the world. If you are presenting someone on the outside who wears sweats and sneakers, but on the inside you are a person who likes to wear jeans and heels, you can begin to feel like you are not portraying your real self. This can lead to lack of self-esteem, of not feeling confident about the way you are presenting yourself. For me, about a week after I had my daughter I was strutting around the grocery store in my high-heels. A little impractical? Maybe. But the important part is, I wore heels to the grocery store pre-baby, so why wouldn’t I after? It’s who I am, and it’s how I prefer to present myself to the world. Just because you have a baby, does not mean you have to give up who you are. Give it a try, make time to get yourself ready everyday just as you did pre-baby!
Make some alone time EVERYDAY!
I know what you are thinking: that is impossible, there is too much to do, what if my baby needs me. The truth is, it’s much easier than you may think! Talk to your partner, or a relative, and ask them kindly if they can watch the little munchkin for an hour every day. Taking time for yourself is very important to retain your sense of self. If you consume yourself with baby all the time, you will get burnt out. Taking time to relax, or to do something that you enjoy can be refreshing. I had one new mother ask me once that didn’t I think that was selfish for a mother to do. The answer to that is absolutely not. We all need time to ourselves; it’s not selfish, it’s just fulfilling a basic need. Your baby will do just fine without you for one hour a day. Have you ever heard the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Your baby will also appreciate a short break from you, making your return that much more of a joyous occasion! Taking some time for yourself will allow you to be more patient, because you will feel refreshed. Remember, happy mom equals happy baby!
Keep up on your health!
I know firsthand how busy motherhood can be, but I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining good health. Sometimes we can get so busy it’s all we can do to find time to eat, let alone find time to eat a nutritious meal! We will grab whatever is quickest, and unfortunately often times that is prepackaged and/or processed food. Not only will maintaining good health keep you around longer for child, but it will also help you feel better mentally. It is fairly well known that nutrition and exercise greatly impacts how we feel both physically and mentally, so it is even more important as a mother! You want to feel your best so that you can keep up with the demands of motherhood, and so that you are emotionally healthy for your child as well. Practicing good nutrition habits and a regular exercise routine will also set a great example for your child as they get older!
Have a monthly date night!
Whether it is a date with your partner, or going to a movie by yourself, do something once a month that gets you out of the house without the baby. This concept goes hand in hand with taking time for yourself every day, but is different in the fact that it forces you to do something fun. Although an hour a day of alone time will greatly benefit you, you also need an entire night (or day) at least once a month to take a break from parenting.
As new mothers, we want to be the best mother possible, we want to be Supermom. I think often times our perception of what a Supermom really is, can be distorted. Sometimes we can associate being a supermom with doing everything on our own, and not needing help from anyone else. We feel that maybe, if we have to ask for help that we are not sufficient mothers. In reality, a “supermom” is a mom who can create a healthy life balance; a balance that allows time not only to be a great parent, but also to fulfill personal needs and wants. Being a mother can involve sacrificing in many ways, but you don’t have to sacrifice your entire self. It’s important to remember who you were before the baby, and to try to maintain that now that you are a mother! A happy and healthy mommy will lead to a happy and healthy baby!