Mothers Need to Take Care of Themselves First
Recently, I welcomed a baby boy into my life and have been simply exhausted. It’s been a whirlwind of activity and emotions. With the constant visitors, it’s been a struggle just trying to establish a new schedule for my family (which consists of my husband, 18 month daughter and new baby), and just trying to stay awake and feel half-human again. Believe me, nobody feels sexy after not showering for two days, having 3 hours of sleep, and wearing a shirt covered in baby poop and spit-up.
While I feel blessed to have my family, sometimes you just need some time to yourself. A recent visit by a healthcare nurse reminded me of the importance of a little thing called sleep. She said that one of the main factors that can lead to postpartum depression is sleep deprivation. Of course it makes sense: sleepless nights zap your energy levels, and you are left functioning at a fraction of your former fully-charged self.
A Build-Up of Responsibilities and Stress
As a mother, you have a to-do list that can make the most accomplished type-A personality quiver. You have hungry kids to tend to, a household to run and possibly a career and a partner, not to mention friends and family that request a piece of your precious time. Where on your to-do list do your needs fit in?
Most moms probably place their needs somewhere near the bottom of the list, if at all. While it’s admirable to put others’ needs before yours, this self-sacrifice model can only hold up for so long. Nobody expects you to be like Mother Teresa after all.
Reclaiming Some Personal Time
Somehow having some “me” time is seen as a selfish, indulgent pursuit—something to feel guilty about, like sneaking an extra chocolate chip cookie when nobody is looking. But having some time to yourself whether to sleep, read, or just relax is so important. You can’t possibly look after others when you are falling apart at the seams.
So how exactly do you get some personal time when your day is packed from 8 am to 10 pm? Well, it’s not easy, but you might just need to schedule in some “me” time the same way you would a dentist appointment. Tell yourself, “Today at 7 pm, I’m not going to do anything for 30 minutes.” Then follow through with your plan; make sure your kids are pre-occupied during that period and enjoy your personal time.
A Few Mantras…
Still feeling guilty about resting and taking some time to yourself? Here are a few mantras to say to yourself:
- My family needs me to take care of myself first.
- Enjoy today, the dishes can wait.
- Worry less, live more.
Now this tired Mommy is going to take a nap.
Fung, T. (2011, March 2). Mothers Need to Take Care of Themselves First, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/theunlockedlife/2011/03/mothers-need-to-take-care-of-themselves-first
Author: Theresa Fung
Thanks Lauren! :) Yes, friends and family are definitely a lifesaver in times like this.
Aww, congratulations on the new bundle of joy. And I think it would also help to rely on other people to do a certain bulk of chores and tasks, up until you can have a better balance out of everything.