[photo via mason dee photography]
I was thrilled when Annie reached out to me to ask that I contribute something to the ‘Mamahood Advice’ series. Motherhood has been one of the best, most rewarding, challenging and fantastic adventures that I have embarked upon and I am so excited for Annie as she joins the ranks.
With that being said, I thought long and hard about what type of advice to give Annie. I found that when I was pregnant everyone wanted to give me advice: from close friends & family to complete strangers at the grocery store who wanted to argue with me about the gender of our child based on their assessment of how I was carrying. Everyone has their favorite carrier, how to put your baby to sleep, and the best baby food, among many other things. What I found in all of this is very few people actually gave me advice about myself which granted might seem a little selfish, but I find that in order for me to be the best parent I can be, I need to make sure that I take care of myself. What I did take for granted was all of the changes that I was going through and how I needed to carve out some time to take care of myself in all this as well as our soon-to-be-baby. As mothers we tend to focus on everyone else than ourselves from the moment that we find out we are pregnant; we obsess about what we are eating, our weight gain, has the baby eaten enough, does the baby need a diaper change, does that rash mean anything, what’s for dinner, is the house clean – you get my drift. I found that for me at least, in the midst of all of that outward focus, a changing body, and a change in my role within our family, I got a little lost myself. All of these items are very important and worthwhile things to take the time and effort into figuring out what works best for your baby and family, but it is very easy to put ourselves on the back burner in pursuit of re-normalizing our lives. So with that, I have a few recommendations for ways to help find your way into this new phase by also taking care of yourself.
Say ‘YES’ to help
I am the first person to say that I can do it all with no help, but honestly, life never slows down once the baby arrives. Compact that with altered sleep schedules, normalizing hormones, and trying to navigate a new normal you have the makings of a hot mess. Say yes to your friends & family who offer to bring food, hold the baby, ask to watch the baby so that you and your partner can have your first parent’s night out. Say yes to sleeping whenever you can, cutting yourself a break (like maybe you don’t really need a shower today or to get dressed even) and grabbing coffee with girlfriends, and take out menus. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Carve out time for yourself
Whether it is a break during your little one’s nap, locking yourself in the bathroom for 30 minutes to catch up on your favorite book, or taking some time at the end of the day for a long, quiet bath, take some time to not think about what your baby is eating, what the schedule is for the next day, etc. I can’t say enough how that little bit of quiet time helps me re-focus and re-energize myself so that I can be my best self.
Find products that you love and take the time to use them
Find a makeup routine that is easy & chic, a luxurious body lotion, and products that make you feel fantastic, but also fit into your life. If you are looking for suggestions, I love Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer, Chanel’s Eclat Lumiere, Ole Henrikson’s Truth Serum, and Estee Launder’s Advanced Night Repair. Between these products and a great mascara, you can’t go wrong.
Schedule a massage ASAP
The best post-partum gift I received was a massage. Between a body that snapped back and forth and then carrying a baby around after birth, a massage was just what the doctor ordered.
Good luck Annie! Can’t wait for you to share your experiences and journey!
Mamahood Advice series features blogging mamas from around the web each month sharing their advice for new moms. Interested in being a guest blogger for this series? Email me! hello [at] undertheoaksblog [dot] com.