Motherhood is an experience like no other. Giving birth to new life, nurturing them and watching them grow is (arguably) one of the most important journeys you can embark on in life.
It’s no secret that being a mom is a full-time job with zero time off. You’re an on-call chef, babysitter, cleaner, and can only rest when the baby is asleep, however brief that time may be. Your new child is now your life, and there’s no denying it.
After a lot of self-sacrifices, many moms find themselves thinking, “When did I stop being my own person?” after giving up so many aspects of their life that made them who they are. When you stop and think about it, it seems obvious in retrospect, but sometimes you slowly lose yourself bit by bit until it dawns on you all at once.
The pregnancy phase is spent worrying and fussing over baby books, learning everything you possibly can to prepare yourself for the wild ride that is motherhood. You could be spending weekends clearing out old junk or renovating so you have the perfect baby room ready for when the time comes. Maybe you give up your weekly class to attend parenting classes instead.
Once the baby is born, every waking moment is spent caring for them. Taking care of a newborn is the most exhausting job, and you will learn to treasure sleep more than ever before. Your hectic schedule of feeding and napping won’t let up much for the first five or so years of baby’s life, and you come to accept the fact that there isn’t much time to dedicate to yourself. Even showering and getting to wash your hair becomes a luxury.
You can’t forget when caring for your new child, you are your own person with needs and wants of your own, so you don’t need to sacrifice everything about your life before baby. It’s okay to want still to be a little bit selfish and take extra time to do your makeup, go to that yoga class, or have an extra long bubble bath. Here are some tips on getting yourself back to your pre-baby personality.
Rock your wardrobe
Chances are after having a baby you won’t recognize your own body. Babies bring a lot of change.Whether you experienced a C-section or natural birth; your body probably looks and feels very different. You need something that will make you feel like you again without putting in too much effort – being a new mom is exhausting!
Don’t wait until you’ve gotten back to your before-baby body to get some new clothes that fit just right. It can be tempting to hide in yoga pants and oversized sweaters because it’s so easy and comfortable, and that’s fine at home on occasion, but why not be comfortable and look and feel good doing it? Rock your post-baby body in the right clothes, and it will make a world of difference in how you feel.
If you’ve done the shopping already and are still feeling like lazing about in boxy, oversized clothes, there’s no problem with that as long as you remember to make yourself feel good about your appearance. Take a bit of extra care to throw on at least one piece that makes you feel beautiful, whether it’s jewelry, a piece of clothing, or a sexy pair of shoes if you’re leaving the house.
Reconnect with your partner
A lot of couples say their partner is intertwined in who they are as a person. After all, you’ve grown in many ways together, accomplished many significant steps in life, and overcome many hurdles too. However, being preoccupied with your pregnancy and then newborn baby can be stressful on your relationship and can make it feel like you and your partner don’t have the same closeness as you did in the honeymoon phase. You know in your heart this isn’t the case since you love each other deeply, but the feelings can still linger. It’s also comforting to know you are not alone in your relationship struggle post-baby.
Take time to acknowledge each other and fall in love with each other all over again. Even the smallest acknowledgment, like a kiss and a “good morning,” can make all the difference. It takes a few seconds to reconnect, and it can change how you feel in an instant.
When possible, hire a babysitter or get a family member to babysit to give you and your partner time away and time together. Striving for even one date night a month can impact your closeness so much. Make it special. Dress up, put makeup on, do your hair, and pick somewhere you will both enjoy. Maybe even go to a restaurant you went to when you first started dating to help get back to that pre-mom you.
Stay connected to friends
The first few years will be the hardest on your social life since most likely you will be stuck to a feeding and napping schedule, but keeping in touch with your friends will keep you grounded. Having reliable connections will remind you of who you were before the baby came along, and will keep you on track to finding yourself again.
Having a support system and a network of friends is critical as well. Your partner may be fantastic, but this is probably tough on them in some ways too and most likely also need a break every once in a while. Reach out to your friends whenever you think of them. Make plans for quick lunches or dinners every once in a while to get some face time in(not to mention it’s a chance to get out of the house!), and if that isn’t possible, invite them over to your home regardless of how messy it is. Even just a quick text is good at reminding them you think of them and want to remain close.
Get back into your hobbies
Giving up your routine to take care of your new baby is certainly true to an extent, but it doesn’t have to be entirely true. Do your best to carve out some time every day to do at least one activity you loved doing before the little one came along. If that involved going out to a class, like yoga, Pilates, or dance, for example, see if you can find similar classes online and do them at home. YouTube is full of free courses from qualified instructors – just be careful not to take it too far and hurt yourself, since there’s no instructor at your home spotting you.
If you have a love for activities like writing, drawing, playing music, gardening, or reading, find some time and lose yourself in it like you used to. Even if only for a little bit each day or every two days, rekindling the love you had for your hobbies will help you feel more like you again.
Finish that course you’ve dreamed of
Getting an education can be one of the most empowering feelings after new motherhood. Maybe you were thinking of starting a course but had to deal with baby first, or perhaps you were in the middle of your schooling and had to take a break. Whatever the circumstance, continuing your education has never been more accessible.
Online education courses give you the flexibility you need as a new mom. You can fit your courses into your schedule, join discussions, or speak to your instructor at your convenience, and best of all, work and study from anywhere. The availability of courses for almost any area of study online. From seminars and workshops to certificate programs, to full undergrad or master’s degree courses, this is another great benefit because you can choose nearly anything you want, rather than having to settle for whatever is available.
If you aren’t sure what to study but know you want to snag that degree or certificate, think about what your skills are now, considering you probably have learned a few new tricks by being a mom. A lot of moms are drawn to nursing because it requires similar qualities as mothering does. There are plenty of online neonatal nurse practitioner education courses available, some without requiring entry tests. That’s just one example of a field you can study from home – there are so many options to choose from!
Above all else, self-care is the best way to do exactly that: take care of you. It can be incredibly stressful having a new baby, with all the life changes and new challenges to worry about, but you can’t forget to take a break once in a while.
Do a facemask, give yourself a manicure or pedicure (or better yet, treat yourself and go out and get one!), and let yourself binge your favorite Netflix shows. There are so many ways to sneak in some self-care time, so take a deep breath in and out, and tell yourself you have earned this.
You can’t forget when caring for your new child, you are your own person with needs and wants of your own, so you don’t need to sacrifice everything about your life before baby. It’s okay to want still to be a little bit selfish and take that extra time to do your makeup, go to that yoga class, have an extra long bubble bath, or go out for dinner with friends.
Appropriately said, new moms forget and they have their life and indulge too much in mothe4rhood. I love your wardrobe idea because it can make any women happy and cheerful.
I often have to go lay down for a 20 minute nap in a dark, quiet room when I’m feeling over stimulated. Even if I don’t fall asleep (but I usually do) the quiet rest helps me to feel calmer.
I really enjoyed this post, Carly–your personal ones are always my favorite, but I especially appreciated how you approached such a touchy topic. (Also, I got married last year and I wish I had saved more during college and the years after so that we could have fully paid for our wedding. It would be been far more satisfying and freeing. As lovely and helpful as parents paying for part/all of a wedding can be, it feels odd as a grown women to have someone do that. And money always = power. So kudos to you for saving for such big life moments!)
I had saved more during college and the years after so that we could have fully paid for our wedding. It would be been far more satisfying and freeing. I love your wardrobe idea because it can make any woman happy and cheerful. There are so many ways to sneak in some self-care time, so take a deep breath in and out, and tell yourself you have earned this.