I’d like to add eating organic “Oreo” cookies to this list, because that is exactly what I am doing while baby is finally asleep. Oh, and also eating meals with both hands. That definitely falls into the “luxury” category these days.
I’ll be honest. My self-care rituals have gone out the window. Not really by choice, but simply because I just don’t have the opportunity or time anymore. Little one demands so much of me these days, that there really is not enough energy leftover to take care of my own needs.
I’ll be happy if most days I can get in a few meals and a shower. I know, it shouldn’t be that way, but it is reality. Most moms I know would agree.
And I, of all people, should understand the importance of taking care of oneself. I mean, I did write an entire blog about it in my former life (which you can read here).
All aside, self-care really is important. And I think for moms especially because we live a life where so many demand so much of us; our littles, our husbands, significant other, family members, jobs, friends, just to name a few.
I read somewhere that being a mom is like working 2.5 full time jobs. That is insane!
And it bothers me when people say that moms don’t really do much but take care of the children. They don’t realize what taking care of the children entails, but also the fact that we take care of so much else in our lives too!
It truly is a thankless job and one that requires sacrifice.
I went to a birthday party today as it was one of my daughter’s friend’s 1st birthday. At the party, there was a lovely female musician who sang this beautiful song in honor of the birthday girl and some of the lines from the song really stood out to me because it rang so true. It was basically a song about the process of becoming a mother and how the child transforms the woman into a mother. I believe the song is called “the mother” by Brandi Carlile if anyone cares to listen. But the song goes:
The first things that she took from me were selfishness and sleep.
She broke a thousand heirlooms I was never meant to keep.
She filled my life with color, canceled plans and trashed my car,
but none of that was ever who we are.
That first part where it talks about the daughter taking away the mothers selfishness is SO TRUE.
One of the first lessons I learned about being a mother is how selfish I am. How stuck inside my own head I am. How I am mostly thinking about me.
When you have a child, thinking about you goes out the window. You have to put that child’s needs first, especially when they are very young because they depend on you fully. They are incapable of taking care of their needs, so it is up to you to nurture them. That sometimes means forgoing your own needs. Skipping a shower. Losing sleep. Eating after they are done feeding even though you are starving.
Does it mean you are less important? No, not necessarily. It just means that being a mother means you have to make sacrifices and making sacrifices is not a bad thing because it means you are putting another’s needs above your own, which is what we are called to do at times.
BUT, we are important too and we must not forget that.
BECAUSE we cannot fill others when we ourselves are empty. We must remember to fill ourselves up once in a while too so that we can continue taking care of our loved ones.
So how do we take care of ourselves? How do we fulfill our needs especially as a mother?
I’m figuring out that self care pre-pregnancy and post-partum are very, very different.
Before you get pregnant, it’s all about what you WANT. Eyebrows? Nails? Hair? Go do it. Workout whenever you want. Go shopping. Whatever.
After you give birth, self- care starts to be more about nourishing yourself with what you truly NEED.
A ten minute break all to yourself to just collect your thought and meditate.
A meal without interruption.
A day to go run errands all by yourself.
A workout session that makes you feel good both mentally and physically, rather than doing it just to push yourself to lose a few pounds.
I think self-care when you are a mom moves to another level. A deeper level. You start to question what you truly need in order to feel replenished and recharged.
To make this post even longer than it already is, I’m going to bring up postpartum bodies and how it ties in to self care.
Lately, every time I take a shower, right before I get into the shower, I stare at myself naked in the mirror. And lately, I’ve even noticing how my stomach is a lot softer than it used to be. It still even looks a bit like I am a few months pregnant. My breasts seem saggier than they used to be. My butt is practically nonexistent. My face looks more tired than it used to be. I look aged. My hair, always unkept.
I don’t know why it has taken me this long to notice it all. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy with baby or maybe it’s because I’ve been in some sort of denial. But I don’t look the way I used to pre-pregnancy and lately, that is bothering me a lot.
Part of my self-care goals is that I will eventually start working out again. Maybe it will have to be less than what I used to do. Maybe I will have to incorporate baby somehow, but one way or another, I want to fit it in.
Partially because I am not very fond of my stomach and butt, but also because I just want to feel good again. I miss a good workout session and the feeling of endorphins filling up my brain and body.
The second part of my self-care goals is to speak kindly to myself. This one is probably harder than figuring out time to work out.
I don’t know why it is so hard for me to speak kind things to myself. I’m very hard on me. I constantly feel like I am not enough on multiple levels. And even though I’ve been working on this for years, I seem to make enough progress only to fall behind again.
But ever since giving birth, I have fallen way behind on the kindness factor.
It’s time to start being kind. It’s time to start a self care routine.
Of course, my little girl is still going to need a lot from me and so is my husband and all the other parts of my life, but I have to make a conscious effort to also take care of me.
I need to fill me up so I can fill everyone else up too.
So I’ll start now.
You are beautiful. Your postpartum body is beautiful. You are a good mother. You are a good wife. You do enough. You are enough.
Mama with Grace