Survival Guide for New Moms: How to Prioritize Self Care
Words Megan Gordon
As a first-time mom, it took me a good year to realize that prioritizing myself – and not just my baby — made me a happier, more productive mom and partner. When I had some time to do the things that made me feel like me again, I returned home feeling renewed and refreshed. Of course the idea of self-care looks different for everyone, but I thought I’d share a few tips that have worked well for me.
1. Carve Out Alone Time
While it may not seem like it at first, having a small chunk of time all to yourself is a great way to hit the reset button and gain momentum and energy. I realize with new sleep schedules or the demanding juggle between work and family this can be a challenge, but for me even 10 minutes to sit with very few distractions and have a hot cup of coffee does so much. I shift my natural inclination from go, go, go and just focus on myself for a change.
2. Prioritize Adult Mealtime, Too
Feeding yourself well is always important, but as a new parent, it’s something that can often get pushed aside as you learn to feed and care for your new little one. So these days, in addition to prepping food in advance for our son, I also think about things I can make for the adults in the house. Having cooked whole grains, beans, homemade pesto (we hoard these glass storage containers for this purpose alone), eggs and tortillas on hand always makes the ‘what’s for dinner?’ question much simpler to answer.
3. Get Dressed!
When our son was about three months old, my husband turned to me one morning and said, “ah, your frumpy sweater again?” We were both spending far more time at home with our baby than we were used to, and it’d become all too easy to slip into yoga pants and my favorite slouchy sweater day in and day out. But I soon realized that if I made the effort to really get dressed I felt more energetic and intentional about the day right away.
If you weren’t particularly fond of exercise before your baby, it’s likely you may not find yourself in the front row at spin class, and that’s perfectly OK. More than anything, moving your body and getting a little fresh air is always a big mood boost. A nice walk around the neighborhood or a gentle yoga class were my go-to’s after our son was born.
5. Treat Yourself
There’s a lot of sacrifice that happens in parenthood, and if you’re a new parent negotiating feeding schedules and irregular sleep, it’s even more important to treat yourself every now and again. If you have a sweet tooth, buy yourself a cupcake or an ice cream cone. Love spa days but can’t get away? Treat yourself to a short pedicure instead. The bottom line: it doesn’t matter what the treat is; it’s the act of doing it that will make you feel important and special.