Being a mother is one of the most rewarding experiences there is. From those very first smiles and belly laughs to the special bond we share with our children, sometimes the love simply overflows.
It can also feel overwhelming. Isolating. It can be thankless and messy and there are days we don’t feel up to the job.
That’s why it’s so important to take care of yourself, even in small ways. You’ve heard to get enough rest and proper nutrition, but what more can you be doing to nurture yourself after Baby? These tips will recharge your mommy batteries and give you the boost you need each day.
Be Gentle with Yourself
It’s so hard to switch from the hectic pace of daily life to the slow-motion of life with a newborn. Have realistic expectations. Give yourself a break. Don’t expect to accomplish anything more than caring for your newborn in the first few weeks. Be gentle with yourself and just focus on each moment one by one.
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Accept Others' Offers to Help
If you’re the kind of person who usually likes to do things on your own, it can be a challenge to suddenly accept the help of others when a baby is born. When people offer to bring you dinner, for example, graciously accept. It’ll save you the hassle and people really do want to help! Other ways friends and family can pitch in: caring for siblings, helping around the house, and running errands.
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Do One Thing Each Day that Makes You Feel Like Yourself
Whether it’s painting your toenails or reading a good book, give yourself the simple goal of doing one thing each day that makes you feel like you! Call a girlfriend. Watch a favorite tv show while your baby naps. Reconnect with who you are outside of motherhood for a moment each day.
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Let the Dishes Wait
One of the best things I did for myself as a new mother was to make a list of 3 things to accomplish each day. There may have been 20 that needed to be done, but if I accomplished 3 it was a success. It’s hard to let the beds go unmade and the calls go unreturned if you’re usually productive, but relax your standards when you have a newborn (and sleep instead!).
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Being home with a newborn can be a very isolating experience, no matter how in love you are with your baby. Connecting with others, particularly other moms, is an important part of nurturing yourself post-baby. Talking about your feelings can help you understand that you’re not alone!
Photo Credit: Cantaloupe99/Flickr
Find Your Happy Place
Ok, so it might sound a little corny, but having a place to recharge does make a difference. Find a spot in your home, perhaps your bedroom or a cozy spot on the front porch, that can be a place of sanctuary for you during your day.
Photo Credit: DeaPeaJay/Flickr
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. She writes about all things toddler at Babble’s Toddler Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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