I knew to expect my life to change forever after having a baby, but I couldn’t fathom how lost I would feel at first. All of my ideas of self-worth and success and “who am I” became a tangled glob of putty for a while, and in some ways, I’m still sorting through the beautiful mess – deciding which parts of me to carry forward and which ones no longer serve me. It’s actually a huge gift, becoming a mother – it’s a space for conscious self creation. A space that requires grace for beginning. And then – oh yeah! – self care. That thing that all the blogs and all the family tell you to do, but which can feel easier said than done. In today’s post, I’ll share some suggestions that will help you boost self-care and moments of delight to even the most tired of mothers.
BTW, this written in honor of a friend of mine; she just had a baby girl. I’m so thrilled for her, and for all of the new mamas out there who are navigating this strange new space. If this isn’t you, I bet you’ll still find an idea or two that would feel really good to use in your own life. And if you know a mama who could use these words, please share this post! May these self-care ideas help you navigate this slice of life, wherever you find yourself.
Bursts of Self Care
Here are some self-care biggies that you may already know, but perhaps have yet to do. Please permit me this very gentle reminder.
- You deserve to ask for all the help you need during this time. Consider this: from the outside looking in, people honestly can’t know how tired or lost or anxious you might be feeling. You know why? Because you’ve spent your life convincing others you’ve got it all together, and you are really good at it. What you think is obvious sorrow or anxiety may not be obvious. They don’t know. They want to be there for you. Ask for what you need.
- Find or build a community of women who are in the same young-child phase. Having someone to text and say, “Today was hard,” somehow makes the day feel less hard. Someone to share your happy moments with makes them feel even happier. Life feels better when shared.
- Reframe “success.” This one is something I really struggled with. I went from being able to get all sorts of things done in a day to really struggling to feel successful, period. The dishes? Half done. The laundry? In the washer, but forgot to start it. That art project I was working on? Ha! So…if you’re a goal setter, set one (and only one) goal for the day. Something achievable within the day’s awake hours.
- When you see your reflection in the mirror, tell yourself you’re doing a great job. Tell yourself everything you need to hear most. Remember to use your name. I promise you will see it in your eyes – the person looking back from your reflection desperately needs to hear these words.
Moments of Delight
Moments of delight are another a form of self care that you can capture for yourself.
- Color: bring some sunshine into your home with a little color. If you’re feeling frumpy or underdressed, put on some earrings that make you smile. If you’ve got a shopaholic in your family – ask her to grab you some bright, happy colored t-shirts that will brighten your day. Buy some flowers. Add color to your life where you can!
- Smells: Smells are a great way to create calm and happiness. What smells can you bring into your home that will make you take a big breath and relax? A favorite tea? Cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove? Your favorite comfort meal? A scented candle?
- Sounds: Sounds are powerful. For instance, you know which playlists call you when you need an energy lift, or something soothing. Youtube is great for hours-worth of nature sounds if being outside helps you quiet your mind (and you’re now stuck indoors!).
- Give gratitude: Gratitude for what’s at hand can help soothe a tired spirit. It doesn’t have to come from a joyful energetic space. Even small, quiet gratitude can help. Gratitude for the colors you see on your walk, or the comfort of your pillow, or the smell of your baby’s head. Gratitude for how good it is to have a voice that can sing. Gratitude for the bird that flew by.
full steam ahead!
Welcome to this journey of motherhood! Often, I muse about how many folks out there give a strangled laugh and say how hard parenting is. (Well, it is hard sometimes). But mostly, I don’t understand why that’s the going phrase. You and I did not start families because we wanted hard lives. We did it because we want growth, and joy, and laughter, and fun. After all, it’s exciting to launch a dream and watch it unfold. With today’s tips for self care and moments of delight, maybe it will feel a little bit easier.
I’m so excited for you and so glad we’re in this together. You are an amazing mom and a light in this world. Your kid is so lucky to have you. You’re doing it right. You’re in the right place. Welcome to the club. go mama!
***Go Mama Love is a growing community of mothers with a focus on self care, saving time, and tons of validation. If this article spoke to you in some small way, please share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Every share makes a huge difference! With much love, -Ashley