Ah…motherhood. The excitement of pregnancy and the anticipation of that little one entering your life. These feelings of enthusiasm can be quickly replaced by exhaustion and anxiety. It can take a while before you are feeling in control again. How can you keep up? The idea of self- care can feel light years away.
Whether you are someone who managed to build self-care into your regime before the baby was born, or someone who is now struggling to maintain sanity in the face of sleep deprivation, self – care can be life saving. It doesn’t matter what your idea of this looks like. Maybe a few minutes to take a walk by yourself, or a hot bath. Maybe it’s an evening out with friends…without the baby. Whatever it is, recognize that this is a very needed, therapeutic piece of parenthood.
My kids have all crossed over into the world of teenagers in the last few months. Thinking back on their early years, self- care was not something I did much of. I was going through a divorce when my kids were toddlers, and it was difficult trying to find time for myself. Now that it is much easier to actually find that time, I feel those familiar pangs of guilt setting in.
“…there’s laundry to be done…and here you are at the gym…”
“…getting your toes done? You should be vacuuming something…”
My mind taunts me. Needless to say, my inner self almost always wins. I can always find an excuse to NOT do something for myself. I am the perfect example of “do as I say and not as I do”.
Now that I have been working in maternal child health as a lactation consultant for several years, I have seen the importance of taking time out for you. I have heard countless therapists discuss the importance of self-care. I have learned first hand that if you are able to work this in from the start; it becomes easier to continue as time goes on. Since this can be difficult to do, I am including some tips to get you started. These are very easy things you can do to make time for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.