Recently I finally was able to watch “Tully” starring Charlize Theron – a powerful movie about the realities and pressures of motherhood.
I was somewhat nervous to watch it as I thought there might be some triggering moments, which there were; going into labour, newborn cries, sleepless nights; but it was well worth the few tears that I shed at the end.
Self-care and identity can become lost when you are a mother. I remember struggling very much at the beginning with the immense pressure I felt to always be the one to soothe my baby, to always be ready to put her needs over mine, and though both of those things are a sign of a great parent, you can’t be much of a parent if you are a nervous, anxious and sleep-deprived wreck of a human who can’t really remember when she last had time to herself to just do something she enjoyed.
There’s a lot of sacrifice that comes with motherhood – sleep, body, work etc., so of course we need to look after ourselves, perhaps more-so than ever before.
Just like the safety announcement on an airplane just before take-off, put your own oxygen mask on first, before assisting someone else.
You are not going to be much use if you are suffocating, and sometimes the stresses and pressures of motherhood feel exactly like that. Take a deep breath for yourself. Look after you, however you wish to do that, with whatever brings you joy.
By practising vital self-care you will be a better version of yourself, consequently making you a better parent. So instead of feeling guilty for taking a break (something I still do and need to work on), think about how you deserve this, and that you will feel much better for it.
Practising self-care can mean doing the smallest of things, especially if you are a mother, because let’s face it, we are just so bloody grateful to be doing something non-baby related for just a little amount of time, that self-care doesn’t have to be a spa day, it can just be having a bath.
Things I do for practising self-care as a mum:
- Sleeping for a little longer in the morning (my SO and I take turns in getting up when our daughter wakes up, so that the other can have just a little bit more sleep or just time in bed).
- Sleeping when my baby is sleeping (if I can).
- Leaving the washing-up til later (or, just stick it all in the dishwasher).
- Watching ASMR videos whilst my baby is sleeping.
- Putting Peppa Pig/ Super Simple Songs/ Hey Duggee on Youtube for my daughter to watch for half-an-hour, so that I can either; drink tea in peace, put the laundry on the clothes horse in peace, write in my journal in peace, read in peace… the list goes on.
- Listening to my Spotify on my phone, not bothering about the profanities (cos who gives a fuck, really).
- Leaving most of the chores for when my daughter is awake because I am not wasting my baby-free time doing boring house crap.
- Going to baby and toddler groups because even though they seem a bit scary for somebody with anxiety (hello!), I get to speak to other grown-ups and my daughter gets to explore/tire herself out.
- Watching TV when I was breastfeeding/ when my baby was napping on me. I got through so much TV in the early days, and I am very certain that Brooklyn Nine-Nine saved my sanity by making me laugh in those first few weeks of motherhood.
- Exercise whenever I can. I was desperate to get my body back after the c-section, and I’ve since fell in love with yoga, pilates and HIIT cardio workouts on Youtube. It makes me happy to feel stronger in my body as well as release some tension and stress (and fuel the illogical, insecure voice in my head that says I need to keep exercising a certain amount each week or I will gain weight immediately, but we’ll talk about that later).
- Art journalling and writing. Things that make me feel like me again.
What do you do for self-care as a mum, or as a general human being? Let me know in the comments!