The first few years of motherhood is a challenging transition. When I look back on my first 2 years, I was struggling to balance caring for my baby, marriage and myself. It took incremental steps and time, to figure out a better way of approaching things. Here are some mantras that helped me get through those first years…
Challenge: Taking care of a baby is very consuming
Tip: Don’t lose sight of YOU and practice self-care
You’re going to want to be a good mother. Sometimes you’ll be drawn to meeting other people’s expectations of what that is. Sometimes it will mean pushing yourself to do it all; the night feedings, the breast feeding, the sleep training. You’ll feel the need to be in control, but realize you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Take it from me, don’t let your obsession to be the ‘perfect mom’ take over your life. You’ll miss out on so much because of it. Instead don’t lose sight of what makes you awesome, nurtures you, inspires you, and gives you power! Set aside time, even if its 5 minutes, apart from your baby to practice some form of self-care (want some ideas? Check out my blog). Be it meditation, a quick walk (with someone you trust watching your baby, of course), listen to music you love, or treat yourself to an afternoon tea/snack. Find whatever fits into your routine. Be patient. The first year struggles are temporary, keep focusing on the good! You’re doing great!
Buck Naked Soap Co.*: Lavender and Rosemary Bath Bombs
KYVAN*: Honey Apple Salsa
Challenge: Emotional and physical tiredness
Tip: Accept help and boost your mood
You’ll be running on a lack of sleep and often function in a daze. Your hormones will also amplify every minor irritation and sappy moment. This is to be expected! You’re not crazy or a bad person. If your mood is down, try your best to talk it out with someone who will understand. You can also empower yourself by letting go and receive help if it’s available from a spouse/partner, family member, friends or caregivers. Nap, sleep, your baby will be fine! People have constantly given me this same advice over and over again and I’ve seen it really help my mood. You can also try boosting good vibes by by doing some light exercise once a day or treat yourself with some scented candles and drinking tea to help you sleep better when you’re too anxious.
Herbs + Oil Bath*: Lavender + Bergamot Soy Candle
SOMA Tea*: Sleep Tea
Challenge: Being a new mom can be very isolating
Tip: Stay connected with your larger networks to maintain your sense of belonging to the world outside of the home
If you’re a stay at home mom, loneliness can catch you off guard. While there’s many mommy groups you can join on-line, try to take it offline once in a while. Grab your baby bag (don’t forget your baby!) and visit a mommy group (I visited a MOPS group), the park or a baby gym, it’s the best because it doesn’t require any organization on your part. Once you’ve met one mom you can see yourself clicking with, plan future dates to meet at the park or another child friendly venue. You’re beginning to build your network and you’re probably helping others do the same! If you don’t want limit yourself to just hanging out with other mommies, as great as they can be, try sneaking out of the house a couple of times a month to be with a girlfriend friend or people-watch at a cafe when the baby is down. My girl friend who’s about to have her 3rd baby, does it regularly and swears by it. I now meet up with other like minded women and moms at least once or twice a month. Figure out which networks are the most life-giving and participate in them, but don’t over schedule either!
Callina*: Nadia Pullover
Challenge: Life can get mundane doing the same things over and over again
Tip: Find things that inspire you and try to keep it up
This is one that you might not hear too often. Did you have a hobby you loved like cooking, yoga, running or crafts? Even if you don’t have time to actively engage in it, keep that passion alive, by finding inspiration on Pinterest, or just start planning out how you could make it happen in the near future. found inspiration from other women, work, creativity, and blogging! I loved learning new skills, interacting with new people, and using my brain to come up with new ideas. I got so into it, I learned how to use my DSLR camera, built blogs, joined a start-up, left a start-up and collaborated with other entrepreneurial women, all within 4 months. I could only dream about it the first year after I had my son, but I kept inspiring myself, so as soon as I was able to get some help, I actively pursued it.
Jane & Rocco*: Turquoise Embroidered Yoga Mat
Challenge: There are so many unknowns
Tip: Believe in yourself
Whether you have one or more children. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom. You’re going to survive this and find your way. The one thing I constantly did, was doubt myself and that was probably the biggest challenge of all to overcome. You may not realize it at the time, but you’re going through a incredible growth process that will make you a stronger and more empathetic person. Not to mention an amazing problem solver! I was such the perfectionist, but instead of letting the doubt and anxiety get to me and I started giving myself more credit, I started heading in the direction that I wanted. Did things not work out? Sure, but I kept going.
Everyone will have their own unique set of challenges, but I hope that these general tips can help any new mom find a sense of balance in their first few years of motherhood!
Malpaca*: Malpaca Pillows
Nicole is the editor, writer, curator, photographer, pseudo-model, digital marketer, social media guru, and community manager for Eat Sleep Play Blog – a blog dedicated to featuring women-led brands, ethical fashion practices and empowering women and mothers. She’s also a wife, mother and lover of all things beautiful. She resides in the Bay Area, CA but she left her heart in NYC.7