We do it to ourselves. Yes, we do.
As a mother, my priority is to look after my baby or more properly now, my toddler, who is dabbling into the terrible twos. She's just the most precious part of my life. She makes me smile from ear to ear and now also a source of exhilarating exhaustion.
From the day she was born and entered our home, it has been about looking after her. We kept our routines religious. From feeding, burping, diaper changes, baby exercises, sensory stimulation, bath times, and bedtimes and whatever we know as parents can do to nurture the very first years. It became hectic, and fast.
She's a toddler, a moving ball of energy that I need to keep up with! And no matter what I do these days, I feel like I'm forever one-step behind.
Life caught up and I realized that if I don't take the time to slow down the pace, I'll be forever running a race. A race of trying to stay ahead of her as she grows. After all, she takes after me. Yes, I'm one of those type As on the move, and forever determined to do more.
So I've set the pace. Now I need to clearly understand that I need to manage that pace and tweak it as needed. I'll need to take time to love me too. Because in the process, I'll be able to be here for her, energized and sustained.
I've decided that I also need to mindfully take care of me, physically and mentally. It's a tall order most times but I do my best to give me some me-time to re-center and revitalize.
If you're feeling like you've been lacking in this department as I have had, read on to get your mommy groove back by doing some of the simple things below:
I've been consciously reminding myself and do the following whenever I can:
- When was the last time you looked at the mirror? Comb your hair, put on some make-up or lipstick and smile at yourself - so simple, yet it's so easy to just put that mommy bun and strut your hot mess face and hair because you're literally walking out the door grabbing things you need, the bare necessities and off you go to do your first mommy-ing of the day, then on to the next... heck, I may have had a couple of days when I didn't comb my hair just because, up it went in a mom-bun and I didn't care.
- Remember there are only 24 hours in a day and you do what you can within those hours. Everything else can wait. - Being a mom, there is a great long to-do list to check off on a daily basis. For the hardcore moms, an hourly one! Yes, learn to accept that dishes will always be there, laundry will always exist. You don't need to accomplish all that you used to be able to daily, before you became a mother. Go to sleep and respect your bedtime too.
- Long before I became a mom, I can only sympathize with how mothers juggle. But now, I have nothing but pure empathy. Once, one of my supermom friends, who also happened to be my co-worker came to work with two different shoes! She finally realized she had them on while walking away from her car in the parking lot at work! Hilarious, but the odds that we as moms just have to juggle so much puts us in these compromising situations. The Lesson? Take time to breathe and be in the moment. Be aware of what you are doing.
- KD for dinner? Really? Don't cry. It's okay. - My husband is the most non-chalant guy I've ever met and although we care about what we feed our daughter most days. Some days when we are depleted and everyone is running on low battery, out comes him with his kraft dinner or some healthier (organic) alternative. It's okay too to not have everything lined up and in order in the food prep department. Cut yourself some slack.
- Often times the early part of motherhood is built on structure and routine. Some households, even military-like in discipline. Relax! Give yourself permission: to laugh as loud as you can even when baby or toddler is sleeping; they make wake, they may not; to yell when you are frustrated; to cry when it's getting too much to handle; to ask for help when you need it; to take a break and walk away for an hour, etc.; to not be the perfect mom.
- Many moms find themselves in some loop after the baby is born. And without looking outside ourselves, we find that we settle into our after-birth bodies somewhat deflated and defeated. It happens. But the key is to be aware of this new, sometimes, alienating change. Some embrace it and others defy it. Take care of your body. Indulge in de-stressing activities and errands. Buy yourself some flowers. Light an aromatic candle, take a bath or a nice hot shower. Get some new clothes. Find ways to feel good in the body that you are in.
- One of the greatest advice we received as new parents is to, let the children adapt to your schedule as they are coming into your life. It may sound selfish a bit but I understand now what that advise means. Like any relationship, our relationship with our children should not overwhelm us nor deplete us. It should be a relationship that we will enjoy now and for years to come. It's not about giving up who we are to take care of them but enhancing who we are now that they are part of our lives. A new role was added - mother. But before that, you are a sister, a daughter, a wife, and a friend. We still have to nurture all those other relationships. Let's not forget them. Heck, even your dog or cat needs you too. Find time to spend with them. Book it. Pencil it in. Add it to your calendar.