Little did I know that when I became a mom I would lose something. I would lose something so valuable and so irreplaceable but I would not really notice or miss it until it was gone. I would lose myself. Over 5 years ago after 20 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, my beautiful daughter Nicolena was born. At that moment, 3:41 pm, I started to lose myself. And the funny thing is, I didn’t even notice! It wouldn’t be until I looked in the mirror days after I got home from the hospital that I would stare at an unfamiliar reflection. The person looking back at me was exhausted, not wearing any makeup, showing gray hairs, and starving! She was a far cry from my always done up and well fed self! But it happens. We, as moms, lose ourselves. But you don’t have to. 5 years and 3 kids later, I am here to tell you how I found myself!
I shower every day. Sometimes, twice a day! I love to shower and bath. It is so refreshing. I start every morning with a shower and am super grumpy if I can’t! When I was pregnant with my first daughter, so many people told me that I would go days without showering. This shocked me and I vowed to never let it happen. It may have happened once or twice in the past 5 years, but probably because I was sick in bed! Because it was so important to me, I made it happen. I would nurse my daughter and change her diaper. I had a one of these things. I would swaddle my daughter and stick her in this in the bathroom with me. Sometimes she did great and would just hang out…and sometimes she would cry. But that’s ok, babies cry. I knew she was fed and clean. I would play peak a boo sometimes to keep her happy! As she got older, she started joining me in my morning showers, which was ok because I was still getting one!
Get out…get out of the house!! I had to get out of my house. I am not a home body by nature so when people started telling me that I had to stay home with the baby for at least 2 months I wanted to die! We lasted 2 weeks before we broke out of jail and started exploring the outside world again! I started with places I knew were baby friendly. I was a nursing mom, so the fear that she would need to eat always worried me. (this was just with my first, by the 3rd I was nursing on park benches with a cover up) So we went to BabiesRUs. I got so many things I did not need, so we would go return them! They have the best nursing rooms too! So quiet and cozy. After mastering these safe trips, I started venturing to Trader Joe’s and Wegmans…and from there the possibilities were endless! Leaving the house every day for even a small amount of time will help keep your sanity! Even if it is Dunkin Donuts drive through for a cup of coffee…go, get out!
Eat a real meal at least once a day! Seriously, and this does not include a brownie…or a granola bar…or the left overs from your child’s plate/lunch box! Have 1 decent, real meal a day! The other day I had to make my breakfast 4 times before I was able to eat it. Every time I constructed my beautiful mini bagel sausage and cheese sandwich, one of my daughters would stroll into the kitchen and ask for it. So, I gave it to them and started again. I did eventually get to enjoy one for myself. I should have known better though. I usually make enough to share but thought since they had JUST eaten breakfast I thought it would be safe…NOPE!
I get how hard this one it, especially if you are a new mom! The first few days home after having my first daughter, I survived on a tray of brownies and muffins people had dropped off when they came to visit the baby! So now, I plan ahead and make ahead. Dinners are usually made on Sundays. I make about 3 meals on Sunday so they are ready for the week. And lunches are always made the night before. It feels so good to get home after work and be able to just heat dinner.
Sit in silence. Sit and do nothing! Doesn’t that sound like heaven! I allow myself 5 – 10 minutes a day when I can just sit in silence and think about whatever I want. How do I do this? Sometimes I do it when I am waiting for my oldest daughter to come out of school. Sometimes I do it when my girls are playing nicely in their room. I simply realize for a moment that no one wants me or needs me and I take those few minutes for myself! Sure I could load the dishwasher or fold some clothes…but they will be there in 5 minutes.
Play Dates!! Wait…what? You want me to hang out with more kids? Yup, that is correct! Play dates have literally saved me on week nights! I come home exhausted and trying to crank out dinner with 3 kids hanging on me…no easy task! But when there are other kids around, my kids run off and play while I prepare dinner. And it is nice that there is another mommy there to talk to and help out when needed! I am lucky to have a few good friends that we have weekly play dates. They are also great if you are home all day. You can meet at a park, a play area, or even the mall! You don’t always have to host it in your house. But I will say, stop worrying that your house is a mess. You have kids, it will always be a mess…and guess what, the mom that is over…her house is a mess too!
This is the hardest for me and I don’t know why, but it is. Find time with my husband. I feel so guilty spending money on myself for something like dinner. Weird, I know. But I hate the fact that to spend time with my husband I have to pay a babysitter and then pay double what it would cost for a meal. But once we are out and enjoying the meal and having a real conversation, I do love it! We try and go out at least once a month! And I can tell when we are creeping up on that time, things get tense. Going out with him is like hitting the reset button.
Everyone is different. I hope at least one of these helped you! Anything to add? Comment below with some tips for moms…you know I love mommy advice!