Self- care is key to well-being, but it is not always easy to keep up with a regular self- care practice. For many it is difficult to develop one at all. Being a mom means putting ones own needs aside and fully being there for the baby. Balancing taking care of one self with taking care of the baby can be very challenging, yet very important. In this post I talk about why the practice of self- care as a mom is so important and how we as moms can balance fully being there for our baby with being there for our self. I call it self-care practice because it is a continuous process of learning. At times it works better and others less, always requiring us to reflect, learn, and adapt to any given moment.
One of the most important ingredients to self- care is truly caring for your self and being motivated to do things, which make you feel good. If this is not present it is difficult to develop a self-care practice especially as a mom because you can get lost in the task of taking care of another human. Taking care of your baby can then become an excuse for not having to take care of your self. Basically, you have to be important enough for your self.
Before engaging in any action it is a good idea to engage in some self- reflection, becoming aware of your needs and becoming clear about what truly makes you feel good is very helpful. I always hear that especially as a parent communities are great. I believe that this is true, but it is not less important to listen to your inner voice. How another mom lives her life might not necessarily be the right thing for you. This is true also when it comes to self- care as a mom. What is important for one person might not necessarily be important for you. What stresses one mom might not stress you and the other way around. I have noticed that I am not stressed out by many of the things others seem to be stressed out about. If you always hear from others that certain things as a parent are so stressful this is what you will expect and might feel even though you yourself would not have experience it that way. Therefore, always remember to experience every situation yourself.
Become aware of what really is good for you. How do you calm down the best? Is it really in font of the TV? Or maybe rather when reading a book, doing some physical exercise, or meeting your friends. It is important to be honest with your self. Sometimes the ‘laziest’ option seems like the most relaxing one (such as turning on the TV), but when we are really honest with ourselves we might be notice that in reality going for a walk will make us feel much better.
While your personality determines what truly is good for you the circumstances and your baby’s mood and needs play a big role as well. If you have a baby who cries a lot one of the most important self- care practices might be to ask someone to be with your baby so that you can simply go out for a walk and enjoy a moment without hearing your baby cry. If your baby does not sleep at night one of the most important self- care practices for you might be to take naps. If your baby wants to be carried all the time and you have a back ache from it one of the most important self- care practices might be to get a massage or do exercises, which are good for your back. This differs from baby to baby but also from day to day. Babies change just as we do and different periods might require different self- care actions.
Remember, what is good for you is good for the baby too. The more relaxed the parents, the more relaxed the baby. Self- care at the same time is caring for your baby. No one in the family benefits from a parent low on energy and patience. Therefore, one important self- care exercise as a mom is to notice when you are feeling stressed out just before you are overwhelmed and acting in order to make yourself feel better. That way you can take care of your self before it is too much. Being able to do so requires knowing and being in touch with your self and being aware of your needs. Otherwise, you are not able to hear the ‘warning signs’.
Being a parent means letting go of old routines and allowing your life to be guided by your baby’s needs. We can however still also be there for our self if we understand that our well- being is in our own hands. We should not neglect ourselves, but find a balance, which leaves space for self care. Be there for your self, listen to your self and take your own well- being into your own hands. Being a parent means being responsible for another human being. The responsibility for your baby’s well- being however does not cancel out your responsibility for and power over your own well- being. If you are in Hamburg or close by on the 16th of July come join Leora and me for our workshop on self- empowerment. In the workshop you will get the chance to explore your self and get a better understanding of how much influence you have over your own well- being.
Since Nailah’s birth my self- care practice, which I had worked on and developed over a period of several years has changed a lot. I have understood that as a mom the practice of letting go, flexibility and openness are extremely important, because with a child changes are inevitable. Every day is different and we as moms cannot plan our days as we used to before we became a mom. I have came to understand that if I allow myself to go with the flow while sticking to certain plans with an openness I can stick to a regular self- care practice, feel relaxed and fulfilled. I have also already experienced moments of feeling upset or a bit annoyed because I would have loved to complete my 1 hour yoga practice and not stop after 20 minutes because Nailah needed me, but with an open attitude and positive self talk this negative thought and feeling evaporates after just a few seconds. Life, including being a mom is all about learning and adapting to the situation we are in at any given time. We all have the capability to do so, we just need to be willing to do so.
Wishing you a beautiful day,