5 Ways to Prevent Losing Yourself As a New Mom
Posted on October 17 2017
A couple of weeks into motherhood and your helping hands have gone back to work. You are now alone with this little human you gave birth to who is feeding all day everyday. Everything you were planning to get done during the day, does not get done. The little human needs your attention 100% of the time. You haven’t showered and most importantly haven’t had anything to eat all day. You are now upset because nothing was done, your home is a mess, you look and smell horrific and being hungry does not help the situation. You begin to think that this is your life from now on. You slowly become depressed; what is supposed to be a happy time in your life suddenly becomes the saddest because you are not yourself.
This was my life for a few weeks after giving birth to Riley. Chris would come home from work and find me on the couch or bed looking a hot mess, baby on a boob, and still no food to eat. I felt helpless. I was bored. I was having second thoughts about this motherhood thing. I did not think I could do it much longer. I for the life of me could not figure out a solution to change my situation, until one day I kept telling myself “This is not me…. this is not me… I am independent, I get things done. I look for solutions.” Here are some solutions I came up with to bring me back to my normal self.
Take a shower every morning. As someone who works from home, I don’t believe in working in my PJ’s. I am less productive and less focused. In order for me to feel good and get the day going, I have to shower and put on clothes even if I am not going anywhere. During the first few weeks it’s hard to figure out the best time to shower because you are still getting to know your baby’s nap routine. I started with baby steps. I would place the baby in the bouncer and place the bouncer right outside the bathroom while I showered. Taking short baths so that I am done before Riley started to cry. Now that I know Riley’s daily routine a little better, I shower during his first nap so that I can have a longer time to shower.
Do at least one thing for yourself every single day. Whether its to wash and blow dry my hair, paint my nails or have a face mask night, I make sure to take the time out and do this for myself. One thing that I have turned into a habit is a Sunday night bubble bath after Riley goes to sleep. No matter the time, I must have my bath with a good book to read.
It is OK if your to-do list is not completely scratched off by the end of the night. During the first few weeks I would get anxiety attacks while breast feeding because I was sitting all day running through a list of things to get done in my mind and could not get up to do them. I thought I would have time to do things while Riley was asleep, but I would be too exhausted. I would feel guilty for not completing my to-do list for the day and put myself into a huge funk. Recently I came to peace with the fact that I am not working for anyone on a deadline and it’s ok if I do not get something done the same day. This is my time to enjoy being with Riley. This is the only time I get a pass to nap at anytime I want, well when Riley wants to. You will not have this freedom again, once you go back to work. One thing I learned with being more relaxed about what needs to get done, is that more actually gets done.
Stay organized. I like a clean home. I feel that having a clean and organized home, allows you to have more time for yourself or to do something you love. Cleaning one room a day gives you more hours in a day than cleaning your whole home in one day. Another tip is putting everything where it belongs before you go to sleep. I promise you will wake up so much happier when you don’t have a mess waiting for you in the morning. You will also have time to take the baby on morning walks instead of cleaning.
5. Sleep Training. At around six weeks we started setting a routine for Riley to be in bed by a certain time. This allowed us some time for ourselves. A couple of baby free hours a night to just netflix and chill, read a book or pillow talk with my partner makes me feel normal again. For more on sleep training check out the book The Dream Sleeper by Conner Herman & Kira Ryan.