As a mom, how often have you felt overwhelmed and overworked in your life? Most moms will acknowledge the responsibility that is motherhood, and no matter how much help you have, it seems mothers are hardwired to carry the weight of motherhood physically. All the parts you can see and the parts you can’t see. Even if you manage to share the load with your other parent, husband, partner, chances are most moms will still feel the stress that comes with parenthood.
“A mom’s work is never done.”
More so now, during a global pandemic, moms and dads alike often forgo what they need themselves as they strive to provide for their family and keep everyone happy, safe, and healthy. Sadly, this means as parents, more often than not, your needs come last. But all the stress, worry, heartache, and mental juggling of tasks can take its toll on your mental and physical health.
Even those pushed for time need to take some time to make sure they don’t burn out and make themselves ill. Your family needs you to be healthy, and this means looking after yourself as much as everyone else. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time or you shouldn’t. Self-care needs to be standard and not classed as a luxurious treat.
Self-care can simply be the act of putting makeup or completing a full skincare routine with cream, oils, and face masks. It can be reading a book or taking a long hot bath in peace. It doesn’t matter what it is or how often you do it, as long as you do it, and it makes you feel better.
You may be able to do it all on your own with no help, but that doesn’t mean you should. New moms, let someone take over the small tasks for you. Sure, you may not want to leave your new baby, but having someone come over to help clean up, put the dishwasher on or washing machine or simply make you a hot drink and some food can be a huge help during those first weeks of getting used to life as a new parent.
But as your family grows, learn to accept the help for what it is and not as an attack on you and your parenting skills. Having the kids go for a playdate for an hour or two can give you breathing space to do something you need to do. Be it a nap, drink a hot coffee or binge watch that show on Netflix everyone is talking about. If it makes you feel better, do it and don’t punish yourself for accepting help – a happy parent is a much better parent, don’t you think?
How often have you tricked your child into eating healthy food to make sure they are getting all their vitamins and minerals? When was the last time you checked to make sure you were getting all of yours? Neglecting your diet can lead to unhealthy choices and a lack of energy as your body isn’t getting what it needs. If you are struggling with choosing the right foods, try meal planning, and prepping to make sure you have healthy meal options available at all times.
Supplements can help boost your required daily intake but not replace them. You shouldn’t rely on vitamin supplements to get what your body needs each day. Keep a fruit salad prepared in the fridge for a go-to snack or have healthy nuts and seeds for you to snack on during the day. Look after your body, and it will look after you. After all, as a busy parent, you need all the energy you can get.
Easier than it looks. Parents sleep if their kids sleep at night. And if they don’t, coffee is your best friend! The baby and toddler years can be rough when it comes to sleep deprivation – especially if other parents brag about how their child sleeps through the night! You may feel like you will never get a good night’s sleep again. But little things can be done to help you fall asleep faster and make the most of the time you do have to sleep.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is possibly one of the more ridiculous things to say to parents. As much as you may want to nap, chances are you will have other things that need taking care of instead.
Try to find a good bedtime routine that works for you and your family. Take note of advice such as removing electronics from the bedroom, keeping the tv off at night, and having a bath before bed. Practicing yoga can help to relax you as can meditation if you can find time to get into the right mind space for it to be effective. Lavender works wonders for inducing a calming night’s sleep – for you and children too, as can using a sleep mask and the right bedding for your bedroom for any given season. You can also apply a mānuka essential oil before you sleep to combat the signs of many common skin issues such as anti-aging and acne. Exercising in the evening can help you to burn off any pent-up energy and allow you enough of a release to sleep better at night. But, working out too close to bedtime will have the complete opposite effect—trial and error but always worth trying out.
Taking the baby out for a walk in their stroller is exercise, as is chasing a toddler around the local park or even jumping in the pool with the family on a hot summer day.
It isn’t all about hitting the gym and pushing yourself as hard as you can. But if that is what works for you, then it can be that—a dance class with your friends or a neighborhood basketball game. Get out, get moving, and raise your heartbeat.