Moms Come First
In last week’s post, I talked about using the motto “small things often” to nurture your relationship with yourself, your partner, and your baby. Today, I’m going deeper into what this really means for moms.
For some of us, something happens after we cross the threshold into motherhood.
It’s almost a bit of an identity crisis. We do for others--baby especially--and start to lose sight of doing for ourselves. I don’t mean that we’re suddenly incapable. I mean we just de-prioritize our needs for the sake of everyone else.
And our wants? Forget about it. Those are last in a line where others cutting to the front seems to be the rule.
But, guess what? We didn’t stop being human beings the minute we became moms. Even machines run out of gas eventually if you don’t refill the tank in time. You are no machine. You’re also not superhuman.
We all know that skipping meals, sleep, showers, bathroom breaks isn’t sustainable. Sure, we can do it temporarily, but if we try to keep it up for too long, we’ll crash and burn. I’m here to insist that you make sure you’re getting your basic needs met as much as possible.
But, I’m also here to suggest that not getting those other wants, needs and desires (you know, “the ones that can wait” like coffee with our closest friends, moments of silence, satisfying intimacy with our partners, our hobbies and passions) will lead us to a crash and burn eventually too. It just might be a longer, more winding road toward that dead end.
We moms need to stay connected to ourselves and insist on our needs being met. So then the question is: How do we do this?
First, start with knowing that it’s not all your fault. Our society basically set up the expectations that moms do it all. And our hormones are partly to blame too, for practically giving us tunnel vision to sacrifice all for baby. So, no beating yourself up for doing it wrong, but also know that you can choose to do things a little differently.
Second, scroll down to watch this weeks’ video or read the transcript.
I’m offering you 5 simple ways you can start prioritizing yourself every single day, no matter what stage of motherhood you’re in.
WATCH THE VIDEO:
This video previously aired as a Facebook Live. You can follow Happy With Baby on Facebook to catch all their live videos here.
What can you do to prioritize yourself, your partner, and your baby? Hi, I'm Catherine O'Brien at HappyWithBaby.com. This week, I really want to focus on prioritizing yourself.
You know there are so many cliches about prioritizing yourself. You can't drink from an empty well, putting your oxygen mask on first before helping others. You know them all already. There's a lot of them and you can find memes that support that all the time.
The cliches are cliches because there's actually some truth in them and we really just can't give our best to others if we're not taking care of ourselves.
The trouble is, in motherhood, we will power through just about anything.
And sometimes we don't even notice that we're not feeling our best because we haven't even slowed down long enough to notice we're not at our best. Or maybe we have noticed, but we feel like if we don't do it, then nothing's gonna get done because we haven't done it and no one else will.
What often happens when we stay in that "power through" mode is that our bodies stay in that fight-or-flight mode for too long and literally taps our systems out. It messes with our hormone balances. It throws off our moods and metabolism and so much more. And this can definitely lead to illness, depression, and other complications.
But I also really want to stress that taking care of yourself isn't because I want you to do more, more and more things. It's about your quality of life. You aren't just a machine made to serve others. Your joy and happiness matters too. You matter.
So here's what I really want you to try:
#1 Make a list of all the things you'd like to do when you have time.
If you're stumped for ideas--which if you're pregnant right now, you might think you have no trouble thinking of things to do, but after baby comes your brain will just be tapped out and your ability to think of things can be hindered--but I want you to really think back to the things that you loved to do before you had your children.
And I want you to keep this list around for those moments when you do get a break. That way you can just jump right in in doing something that fills you up, rather than find yourself strolling the aisles of Target because you can't think of anything else to do. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good trip to Target by myself, but I think you could find other things to do.
#2 Ask yourself: What is one thing that would make you feel the best right now? Or what is one thing that you would love to make time for yourself every day?
These are things that definitely need to be prioritized, so I want you to tell your partner that this is what you need. If you have to get child care coverage for it, do it. If you have to turn off your phone for a while because it's distracting you or keeping you from what you'd rather be doing.
Ask yourself what you can eliminate or what you can deprioritize and make space for what you really need because if you don't do it nobody else is gonna do it for you.
#3 Consider adjusting your expectations so that you can continue doing the things that you used to do while fitting it into your life as it is right now.
So maybe you used to go to the gym four to five times a week for an hour at a time. Maybe you can't get to the gym for a full hour right now, but if you can go once a week? That's better than never going. And then if you can get another 10 to 15 minutes a few times a week doing a strength training workout in your living room or in your garage, then do that.
Because eventually, you will get back to doing more of what you want to do when you have more time in your life, but don't miss out on doing the little things now as well and adjusting them according to the time that you have.
#4 Do not wait for someone else to give you permission to do these things because it's never going to happen. Give yourself permission now.
Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. And if you need your partner to take care of the baby, tell him that you need him to take care of the baby.
Don't ask him, "Is it ok if you watch the baby while I take a shower?" Tell him: "I'm gonna take a shower. The baby is getting up in ten minutes."
I hear sometimes from moms that they feel frustrated that their partner seems to get all the time in the morning to do what they need to do to get ready. They shower, they shave, they work out, they eat their breakfast. And they feel like they're scrambling to like get things together. And then she starts feeling resentful and angry and annoyed with him that he always gets to do what he wants to do and she never does. So it's never even close to the same.
But the thing is, he's just does what he needs to do because he knows he needs to do it. And it doesn't occur to him that he should ask for permission because why should he have to ask to take a shower? I think moms could benefit from the same attitude.
And so, even though I said you're never going to get permission, I'm giving you permission to have the same attitude.
So if you need a shower, tell your partner, "I'm gonna hop in the shower now" and just do it. He can handle the baby or wait 15 minutes to do whatever he needs to do. Your shower time is just as important as his.
#5 When in doubt, remember "small things often".
What can you do for yourself right now? Make yourself a cup of tea. Step outside for a few moments and take in the fresh air. Light a candle--the good candles. Read five pages in a book. Call a friend. Do a few yoga stretches. Rinse and repeat every day.
After doing my gratitude Instagram challenge in November, it inspired me to do a challenge in January and I've been calling it #MomsComeFirst and all month I've been posting one thing that I done for myself each day.
Sometimes it might be small things like drinking my cup of coffee by myself or going for my morning walks and sometimes it could even be bigger things like going out with friends. But it's just reminding me to take time for myself each day.
So if you haven't already started following me on Instagram, I'd love for you to join me on there and join my challenge #MomsComeFirst and don't forget to tag me @happywithbaby because I will definitely be cheering you on as well.
I think it's so important that we take time for ourselves and find all those little moments of joy that doesn't come from our partners or our children or anything else, but simply because we are doing something for ourselves.
So I hope you'll join me to tag me @happywithbaby hashtag #MomsComeFirst and I will look forward to seeing you guys next week. And until next time, you guys, take care.
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