Self-care and self-love receive a lot of hype these days. And in theory, these sound like a dream. But as a new mama, what is realistic? Maybe you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in days. Maybe you have very little time to yourself. Maybe when someone tells you their idea of self-care is a two-hour massage or a day at the spa you feel like they’ve found some magic secret and you’re doing something wrong. In the month of February, love gets a lot of hype and attention but it’s hard to love others well if we aren’t caring for ourselves, first and foremost.
I took some time to talk with my fellow colleagues and mamas at Ergobaby that have passed through all sorts of stages of motherhood to ask them some of their favorite tips for caring for themselves as new parents. We thought we’d share some loving and realistic tips for loving thyself in the month of February.
Cut yourself some slack and don’t beat yourself up
You are doing enough. Don’t stress if the house isn’t clean. If you are tired, listen to your body and sleep. Leave the dishes for a night or let the laundry be so you can catch your breath.
It’s easy to feel like other moms have something figured out that you don’t, but no two new mamas are alike. And just because someone’s Instagram post suggests they have motherhood figured out and personal care down to a science, doesn’t mean that’s reality. Find what works for you and refer back to #1 when you’re having a difficult day.
Little things go a long way. Five minutes with your eyes closed meditating or taking a few deep breaths before your house is awake and stirring in the morning can go a long way. Maybe sometimes it’s only a minute to close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and pause. Focus less on how much time you have to yourself, and focus on soaking in the time you can take for yourself. Whether 5, 10, or 30 minutes, the little moments to love on you add up.
Take time to move your body
Try to move your body in some capacity 30 minutes a day. If it’s not realistic for you to take time alone, use this time to exercise with baby. Put your little one in a carrier of your choice and move! Our carriers can be hiked in, danced in, walked in, (not run in), and worked out in. And when you do need to multitask, look into options like baby and me yoga near you where you can move your body, relax, and bond with your little one.
Develop self-care practices that work for you
Whether working or at home, not everything will work for everyone. Some of our favorite practices are epsom salt baths with a calming essential oil, relaxing on the couch with Netflix (it’s 2018, we had to include this), doing nothing (when feasible), 10-minute coffee (or tea) breaks with you, and reading a favorite book. This list is not exhaustive — there are lots of way to take a quick mental breather to clear your mind and inhale a little deeper. Oh and did we mention sleep?
Find a community of new parents
Community comes in many forms. Connecting with others who are going through similar challenges, life changes, and joy! is so important in caring for you as a new parent. Know when to ask for help. Self-care is beautiful and important and we also recognize that Postpartum Depression is real and there are times we will need more support from those around us.
And last but not least, remember: “You’re not going to be perfect. Not ever. And that’s ok because you are the perfect mom for your child.”
What are some of your favorite self-care tips as a new parent? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Photo credit: @actively.natalie
Please use caution when attempting any of the carries, exercise or activities highlighted on this blog, social media or any other content channels. Please use common sense and caution when using a baby carrier. You should consult a physician before starting any diet or exercise program. For more information, see our Disclaimer.