Let's face it, being a mom, especially a new mom, is HARD. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of love and joy you will feel and at the same time, nothing can prepare you for how completely and utterly exhausting and all-consuming motherhood is. In my personal experience, it's been hard no matter how much help, self-care, community, etc, I tried to incorporate, but what I realized is that the more I did that, the smoother and more joy-filled my first year postpartum became. I think one of most helpful things for me has been accepting my new norm (being covered in spit up, hair in a mom bun, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, always eating last, etc) and validating how overwhelming this new life journey can be. Additionally though, here are a few manageable ideas for how you can feel your best as a new mama:
To everyone else, this sounds like a no-brainer, right? But one of the many things they don’t tell you before you become a mom - It’s hard to find time to shower! I remember asking myself, do I eat? Do I sleep? Do I shower? I know I am not the only one who wondered "can I nap with a sandwich in the bath?"
In my mind, showering is essential (but please don't skip on sleep and food) and it can change how you feel about yourself so much. If you are able to, shower each night or morning so that you feel more like yourself. I’m not saying you have to wash your hair everyday (thank you to the inventor of dry shampoo!), but just rinsing off can make a huge difference in how you feel (even if you are once again covered in spit-up 5 mins post shower, haha).
Spend Time Doing Something You Love
One thing that a lot of people told me before I became a mom is that they hate how they lost themselves. This is why I now prioritize the things that I love - as much as I can (easier said than done, I know). Obviously, our children come first, right? But, that does not mean that you have to forget everything that you used to love doing. During naps, after bedtime, or whenever you find the time, do something that you love. Have a glass of wine. Put on a face mask. Listen to your favorite podcast. Walk laps around the house or simply sit outside in the sun for 10 minutes. Blast music in the kitchen. Even if only for a few minutes, prioritizing your self care is key!
Find Trustworthy Help
No matter if you need trustworthy help to go to appointments, or to take a nap, you need to find help that you can trust. This could be a family member, a close friend, or a new sitter that was recommended to you.
If you are like us and don't live near family (#coachswifelife), it is imperative that you find a reliable babysitter that you can count on, even if it's last minute. Maybe that means lining up 2-3 people you trust who your kids are comfortable with. Finding childcare is essential, in my mind, because no matter how hard you try, you cannot do it all. It truly takes a village (and a vineyard). And yes, that includes a village of people that you might pay, too.
While Your Mental Health is Important, Your Physical Health is Vital Too!
Make sure you are scheduling and attending your postpartum appointments. Also, this might sound strange, but there have been so many studies that show how important dental health is - and not only when it comes to your mouth! Dental health can make or break your overall health and poor dental health has been linked to many health issues. I know from experience how hard it can be to find time to brush, floss, whiten, and keep your teeth looking sparkly and white! So, if you are struggling, at least make sure to keep up with your twice a year dental appointments + whitening appointments, if you go to those. If you are in Atlanta, Metro Decatur Dental Group PC offers teeth whitening in Decatur, as well as other services such as treatment of tooth loss, dental cosmetics, advanced restorative dentistry, orthodontics and invisalign, and of course, basic tooth cleaning, too. Metro Decatur Dental Group PC is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date general and family dentistry services out there. Their clinic has grown to provide a world class facility and they are among the most qualified implant providers (including dentures) in Georgia. “Dr. Simms has dedicated his professional life to dentistry, both cosmetic and function. Whether you need basic teeth whitening, cleanings, fillings, or more advanced dentures, root canals, bridges, crowns and veneers, Metro Decatur Dental Group PC is a dentist you can trust.”
Prepare Healthy Snacks
It can be hard to find time to sit down and eat a full meal. So, try your best to prep ahead of time and prepare healthy snacks - especially if you are breastfeeding! Preparing extra snacks ahead of time that require little to no effort for you to prepare when it comes down to it, is the way to go! Think: pre-washed and cut veggies with dip like hummus. Trail mix, greek yogurt and granola, hard boiled eggs, cut up fruit (fruit salad is always a winner!), pre-cut cheese and crackers or cheese sticks, cottage cheese, assorted nuts, Larabars, jerky, or whatever your favorite snacks are!
Sweat A Little (or a lot)
Even if you hate working out (ahem, that’s me haha), moving your body a bit can make you feel so much more rejuvenated and well, your best. Get outside and soak up some vitamin D while you head on a walk with your stroller. Sign up for a fitness class, with or without your baby. Find a free yoga video on YouTube - here is one of my favorites. It doesn’t matter what you do, but getting some sort of exercise in truly will make you feel so great! I’m one of those people who hates it while I am doing it, but feels SO much better afterwards.
Cheers to you, mama and cheers to feeling your best!