Soon after Mr. Stork arrives to deliver the bundle of joy to your home, you may notice that time had begun to shrink somewhere along the way and that your nerves are wearing thinner by the day. Fret not: chronic lack of time is a perfectly normal side-effect of motherhood and it’s pretty much irreversible until further notice. Still, if you’re going to be doing all the hard mum-ing work day in, day out, you’ll need a few minutes of your precious Me time at least once a week. So, how can you successfully survive motherhood and live to tell the tale?
Come to Terms with Your New Role
The fact that you now have a defenseless tiny human in your care and are supposed to provide for its needs in the decades to come doesn’t mean your identity has to vanish: it just means you have to come to terms with the new role and learn to live with it. To make the transition go easier on your nerves, focus on the positive aspects of your new role and the potential for personal growth it holds, not the persona you left back at the maternity ward.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
With a baby at home, it’s easy for a mother to forget she’s accountable for things that have little to do with the child’s wellbeing. Your priority list will go through a major reshuffle now that your mini edition is here to stay, but you’ll still need to take good care of yourself and stay in physical and emotional shape. By sticking to a healthy lifestyle, you’ll get to keep yourself in the pink and set a positive role model for your child to look up to and hopefully follow when they’re older.
Don’t Fear to Seek Support and Advice
Once you become a mum, you’ll need all the support and understanding you can get to survive the transition to the new Self as painlessly and as quickly as possible. Be your own best buddy in early motherhood days: don’t hesitate to seek help and support when you need it, avoid multi-tasking, and delegate chores and errands to your spouse and family. Motherhood is a full-time job: a spare pair of hands (even tiny ones!) and a shoulder to lean (or cry) on can be invaluable.
Remember to Pat Yourself on the Head
Many mums fall in the trap of self-reproach when things don’t go as planned. Don’t be too hard on yourself: be aware that you’re going through an extremely difficult period in your life, try not to judge yourself or compare your motherhood skills to anyone else’s, and pat yourself on the head whenever possible. Even Supermums are humans who have needs, limits, and bad days, so be realistic, cut yourself some slack, and remember to reward yourself now and again.
Find a Time to Be Yourself – And Take It
With Mum time stretching, pooling and threatening to take over the rest of your life, you’ll need to fight for your Me time with a vengeance and claim it as yours without deliberation or feelings of guilt whenever the opportunity arises. You can ask your spouse or family member to look after the baby for a few hours during the weekend while you engage in activities you enjoy. The brief timeout will allow you to unwind, de-stress, recharge, and stay sane. If you’re short on Me time inspiration, you can try one of these ideas.
Give Your Self a Voice
Hobbies such as writing, photography, painting, drawing, gardening, or even knitting or cooking can provide a vent for pent-up tension and allow you to shift your focus from everyday worries to less stressful tasks. On top of stress management, a creative hobby will allow you to rediscover your unique voice and express your talent, which is by itself a precious gift for women struggling to reconcile multiple roles and stay on top of it all without losing themselves in the process.
Sweat Mum Stress Out
If you have more of an athletic than a creative streak running in your veins, jogging, swimming, or a similar sport will be a better Me time option than a hobby. Regular workouts will allow you to get out of the house, keep stress at bay, boost mood, and burn baby weight faster by a single blow. If you don’t want to waste cash on gym membership, you can get a few commercial gym equipment pieces and build your own at-home fitness studio.
A Deep, Soothing Soak
On days when getting someone else to babysit the little munchkin is not an option, a soothing bath can be a real lifesaver. Hot water relieves muscle tension, lowers blood pressure, boosts circulation, and alleviates headache, and it can also serve as a perfect setting for a thorough mental flush. For bonus pleasure and relaxation points, add some scented sea salt or fragrant oils to the bath and let stress seep out as you soak in silence, serenity, and mental strength.
Being a mum is the toughest kind of work there is, but it’s worth it. The good news is, you’ll get used to your new role and motherhood will become your second skin over time, but be sure you don’t lose yourself along the way. Be it a hobby, bubble bath, a trip to the beauty parlour, or just a glass of wine and half an hour of silence at the end of a long day, find the time to be yourself, for who you are when nobody’s watching. Good luck!