Self-care is something that went right out the door when I had my daughter. My life had changed instantly and suddenly it was all about a tiny person who I had just met and needed to care for 24/7. At first I got by because other people were still caring for me and helping after my daughter’s birth. Soon that help faded and I was back to reality. How was I going to balance having a baby, housework, laundry, showering, cooking dinner? Self-care was last on my list, if it even made it on that list.
After June was born and my maternity leave was up, I was back to work. This was certainly short lived as I realized my career was not going to allow me to take care of my daughter and be with my family as I wished. My mom stayed home after all and I dreamed of offering my daughter the same luxury. I resigned from my job 2 months later and found myself a stay at home mom. That’s when things got even harder.
Within a month I found myself fully immersed in postpartum depression and anxiety. My career was gone and I was stuck at home with a baby all by myself. A part of me knew I made the right choice and valued my time with June. Another part of me missed talking to adults during the day, having a purpose, having time to myself. This transition was not easy.
After seeking help for my depression, it was pointed out to me that I needed to care for myself so I could give the best version of myself to my daughter and my family. I needed to take time to rejuvenate and center myself.
My self-care started out small with a daily trip to the Starbucks drive-thru. Then I graduated to a monthly pedicure with my sister. Here and there I threw in a movie or dinner with a friend. I also started getting massages again. I felt like me again. I felt the way I did before I had a baby and it felt amazing!!
Of course with self-care comes the mom guilt. We get so wrapped up in caring for other people that it feels wrong to take time away and do something just for us. I found myself asking permission and apologizing for leaving my daughter to do something for me. I still to do this day struggle to push away the guilty feelings when it comes to taking care of me.
Self-care doesn’t have to cost money or take a lot of time. Taking small steps to care for yourself truly will change your life. I found myself with more patience for June, more grace for my husband, less anxiety, and more positivity.
Here’s a few ideas for some small things you can do:
1.) Go for a walk
2.) SLEEP – go to bed early or take a nap when your kiddo naps
3.) Eat well
4.) Take a long bath
5.) Get a pedicure and manicure
6.) Go to a movie
7.) Treat yourself to a favorite food or drink
Right now I’m practicing 31 days of self love. Every day I’m practicing a form of care or love to myself. I’m refilling my patience and my joy for the sake of myself and my family.
Speaking of #sleep, I really challenge the parents I talk to, to think of #sleep as an act of self care. Many of times parents fall into the trap of thinking that sleep deprivation is normal and a rite of passage when becoming a parent. This isn’t true!
Imagine all of the free time you’d have if your child went to bed early and took restful naps. What would you do with all of that time?