“Self-love is the source of all our other loves.” – Pierre Corneille
When you become a mother it can be tempting to try to do everything yourself. You struggle to maintain your old life and you struggle to adjust to your new life.
But, motherhood isn’t a solo practice. There’s a reason for the age-old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” because truly, it does.
And now is the time to start practicing a new way of life — a life where you openly accept and ask for help. A life where you’re compassionate with yourself and show forgiveness. A life where your relationships within your tribe or deepened, and/or you build a new tribe of other mommies.
Ready to begin your new life? Let’s go!
Here are 5 things every woman needs to do for herself after she becomes a mom:
1. Accept Help From Others
When people ask you what you need or how they can help, take them up on their offer and tell them exactly what you need.
Is your laundry piling up? Take your friend up on her offer to come over and help you get your clothes washed and folded.
Are you having trouble feeding yourself in the midst of adjusting to motherhood? Let your mother-in-law come over and cook for you!
Don’t deny them the gift of being able to help you or the opportunity to show kindness and love to you and your little family.
It’s not a burden and you’re not a failure because you need help. If someone doesn’t really want to help they wouldn’t bring it up in the first place. Those that do offer want to provide you with a gift from their heart.
So let them.
2. Ask For Help
This ties into the #1 and is just as important. We all get overwhelmed, especially when faced with a life-changing event, like caring for an innocent, helpless human. You have enough pressure on your shoulders giving your all to be the best mom, don’t add more pressure by trying to do it all.
Asking for help is difficult for everyone. We think there’s something wrong with us if we can’t do it on our own. We compare ourselves to others and make assumptions that if she can do it, why can’t I? When we don’t meet these false expectations we feel like a failure.
But you’re not. There is no expectation for you to do everything or to do any of it alone.
Reach out and ask for help with what you need. Be specific. If you need to run to the store for a few things and you’re just not up to hauling a 7-pound baby, car seat and diaper bag into the store and timing it around naptime and meals, ask someone else if they can.
You’ll be surprised how many people in your life understand and are more than happy to support you by helping out.
3. Stay Connected With Other Adults.
Stay connected with other adults, especially other trusted mamas.
As human beings, we’re not meant to live life solo, especially when raising children. We crave community and thrive from it.
You need people you can share your experiences, challenges, and concerns with as you navigate motherhood. You also need conversations with other people that involve complete sentences (and sometimes wine).
Stay connected with your tribe and check in at least once a week to chat, learn what’s going on with the rest of the world, and talk about what’s going on in your world.
If you don’t have a tribe yet, join one. Connect with mommy groups. Look for Facebook groups and see if anyone is local or interested in doing a Skype call.
4. Create A New Self-care Routine
Your pre-motherhood routine will no longer work. I’m sure you got a taste of that during your pregnancy. Instead of fighting it, accept it and create a new one.
You’re on a new journey, mama, so set yourself up with the tools to rock it. Here are a few must-haves:
- Meditate every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Allow yourself to quiet your mind for those few minutes (you’ll need it!) and become recentered. Let your fears, worries, and doubts float away.
- Make time to move, even if just for 10 minutes a day. Do yoga to stretch those tired muscles. Go for a walk around the block with your babe. Show your little one the beauty of all the nature that abounds; tickle your baby’s nose and cheeks with flower petals and a blade of grass. Hold your little one while you do some squats or kiss that sweet little nose every time you lower into a pushup.
- Keep easy, healthy meals and snacks on hand. Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables. Double the recipe for two of your favorite healthy meals so you can grab and eat throughout the week. Ask a friend to put together some healthy meals for you.
5. Stay True To Yourself
Everyone has an opinion on how to parent. Respond to suggestions with a simple smile and thank you (people usually mean well) and make your own decisions about what’s best for you and your family. Always do what feels right for you and aligns with your beliefs and values — even when it means going left when everyone else is going right.
What works for one family doesn’t always work for another. That’s okay. Only you know what’s best for you, your little one, and your family. Let your instinct guide you — it’s your internal compass and will always lead you in the right direction. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Above all remember, each of us is unique. Stay true to yourself. Never lower your standards. Parent in a way that feels right to you.
About the author: Ami Rose empowers working moms to be intentional in taking time for themselves. Her website www.amirose.org is focused on providing moms the tools and information they need to care for themselves so that they have the health and energy to care for those they love. When she’s not busy empowering others she can be found hiking the Superior Hiking Trail in Duluth, MN with her 13-year-old daughter, 9-year-old son, and lil’ lab.