Best Advice Ever: Be Selfish
Motherhood is HARD. This is no secret to any of us moms. There is so much advice we hear before our child is born that sounds like a no brainer, but once we are officially moms, said advice is not easy to follow.
Almost every “new mom” blog or article I read mentions how one of the most important things to do is to MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. That sounded easy. Hell, at first, I didn’t even feel like I needed time for me because I had this fresh, adorable baby that was brand new in my life. I wanted to spend every second with him and watch every breath he took.
The first thing to hit me was how tired I was. All. The. Time. But even waking up every two hours for feedings I didn’t mind because I was so in awe of my son and so happy and in love with him. After the first month though, I started becoming cranky and feeling guilty because of the unavoidable mood swings lack of sleep was bringing me. Then I went back to work. Which was a nice break sometime, but oh how that mom guilt came back around making me miss my son. The mother in me was feeling horrible that I didn’t have the means to stay at home with him all day.
I should probably note here that we are pretty low income as a family. Not poor, but we are paying our bills with just a little extra, but no way in hell could we afford child care full time, and I make just enough to not qualify for any assistance. Luckily, my son’s dad and I work opposite schedules. I got up in the morning to feed bubble breakfast and get ready for work, go to work until around 4, and then dad is off to work for the night. Financially, it works out great. Emotionally, there just is not enough time.
We try to have a system. I tell myself I will have one day a week where dad takes over and I have a completely baby free day. Something usually gets in the way though. He will have plans, or I feel guilty and end up spending the day with bubble.
3-4 Months In
Things started taking a toll on me. I was neglecting myself. Every day, my hair would go up in a bun after work, and makeup would get smeared or just come off from my son poking and prodding my face. I told myself I was happy; because my son was happy. But I wasn’t. I was stress eating, gaining weight, never getting dressed up, having horrible mood swings from lack of sleep (because when he napped I needed to have the perfect house or get other things done). I continued this cycle of pretending I was happy for a couple months.
A Couple Months After Working Again
And believe people when they tell you that you cannot run away from things forever, and that they will catch up to you. I became irritated almost all the time when I was home. I started getting frustrated at my son for not going to sleep. I was unhappy with how bubble’s dad was parenting when he was doing just fine as a parent. I was trying to have control over things that didn’t matter. And the more I did all this, the MORE unhappy I became because I was ugly as a person at the time. I started remembering all those blogs I read.
Something Had to Change
So I MADE myself have time for myself, even if it meant other things getting neglected. Here’s some examples (that hopefully you can use):
- I would leave extra early for work to go grab some coffee and sit outside, or just drive around.
- I slept when my son slept because no matter how bad I had the urge to use that as productivity time I knew my body NEEDED SLEEP! The difference I felt just from having more sleep was amazing. I am the ultimate person that tries to multi-task and feels the need for everything to get done, but I promise you that extra even twenty minutes does wonders.
- If my son was crying and I was exhausted, (as long as he had everything he needed), I would set him in his crib and walk away to breathe. Like breathing exercises. Inhale for 4 seconds, exhale. Sometimes I would be so exhausted that the endless nights of crying made me SO angry. Also, I am so against crying it out (see about me section).
- If my son is needing a little more attention that day, I would throw a yoga routine on YouTube and do some baby yoga with him. I’m still getting something for me, and he’s entertained.
- Finally, I communicated to bubble’s dad how bad I NEEDED this me time for my own sanity and for everyone’s happiness and he started understanding that. Of course, he gets time too. We’re trying to find a balance, because you can’t plan everything as parents. Sometimes he will see that I’m stressed and tell me to just go for a drive or go to the store and walk around. I forgot what it was even like to just get in the car and go, without bring baby.
So that’s my list. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s something. And that list used to be empty. As I said, it’s all about balance and communication. I’m not blessed with a huge social circle or a big family who can watch my son whenever I’m stressed and call them. I’m working with the resources I have. And that’s all we can do. No matter how chaotic your life, who can help or not, I promise you it’s possible to save some sanity and work yourself into your own schedule. Love yourself so you can fully love others.