Being a new mum myself I know exactly how hard it can be to find time even just to pee in peace let alone find time to look after yourself, however I really have come to learn how important it is to take care of yourself first. As the saying goes ‘ You can’t pour from an empty cup’.
I always thought that being a ‘good’ Mum meant that you had to be on top of everything, have the house spotless and always have fresh, homemade meals ready for the family to devour at any time. This is simply not the case and so unrealistic.
We always have a million things on our to do list but quite often find ourselves never even going beyond completing the third thing on that list because motherhood can be that hectic sometimes and life just gets in the way. So we often push ourselves to the bottom of that list and sometimes we don’t even make the cut.
So how do we fix this? Well I decided to put myself back on that list and to make time for myself no matter how busy my day was. This could vary between a mere fifteen minutes in the morning where I got to sip on a hot coffee and sometimes a whole hour where I could catch up on things like reading, Netflix etc.
I thought it would be a great way to start 2020 off by providing you with a self care list that helps me feel good about myself, and hopefully by focusing on some of my tips you too can leap into 2020 feeling on top of the world again.
1. Nourish your body.
It goes without saying that good food is needed to not only make you feel good on the inside but look good on the outside. I know it can be difficult to even find time to eat during the day sometimes, especially if you don’t have help with your little one, but it really should be a priority to nourish your body well.
Whenever my husband is home I will let him take over baby duties for a few hours while I cook a whole batch of meals for the day and to store in the freezer. A lot of my favourite meals to store are:
- Vegan Shepherds Pie, ( We are not Vegan, however we do eat predominantly plant based and it also means I can whip something up at home with things stored in my pantry quickly).
- Spaghetti Bolognese or Pesto Pasta
- Thai Red/Green Curry
- Soups such as: Lentil and Mushroom Soup
- Spicy Mexican Chilli
These are just a few of my regulars but if you are interested to know more about the meals I cook, recipes, storage tips etc then let me know in the comments below so I can dedicate a whole other blogpost to that.
By batch cooking meals at a time, you will always have something healthy and easy to eat within minutes and you won’t go reaching for your phone to order from Uber Eats.
If you are not a fan of freezing meals then do a big grocery shop one day and then prep all your meat and vegetables in containers and bags so that you just need to take them out of the fridge and whip up a quick stir fry or noodle dish and you’re good to go.
2. Make sleep your priority.
Yes I know that those first years of your babies life are crazy busy and so you probably don’t remember the feeling of having a non disturbed 8 hour sleep, ( I definitely do not ), but seriously it is so important to TRY and facilitate that whenever you can.
The best tip I ever got as a new mum was, whenever your baby sleeps you sleep. And to be honest unless I have miraculously had a good nights sleep the night before, I will do exactly that. My son usually naps in the afternoon for 2 hours and so I will put everything on hold and get some shut eye too.
We will always feel like we have things to do during the day like I mentioned previously and we often have this Mum mentality of ‘ getting things done before the baby wakes up’, but seriously all that can wait. Forgive yourself and ditch that guilt of not doing things on time and put yourself first for once. Your mind and your inner self will thank you for it!
3. Treat yourself.
Whether it be something as small as making yourself a batch of chocolate chip cookies or treating yourself to a full on spa day, make sure you give yourself some love. 💛
Every now and then I like to make an appointment and get my nails done and sometimes a massage and actually I will be doing just that very soon as well as a much needed haircut. I leave the salon feeling amazing and it really brightens my mood to know that I look clean and polished, ( even if my house does not).
If making a monthly trip to the salon is not something that you can pull financially right now, then get your husband to look after the kids for a few hours, jump in a steamy hot bubble bath, light a few candles, whack a face mask on and voila you have yourself a fancy spa session without spending a dime! Extra points to the husband if he offers a foot massage!
4. This next one merges into my next tip which is to socialise.
When I first gave birth I felt so confined to the house and scared to go out with the idea of bring responsible for another tiny human in public, and so I let that fear overcome me and I stayed in my house for months on end. Now I know that not only is that mentally not good for anyone, but it also had a huge impact on my social life. I became distant to my friends and for no reason at all!
Now I regularly meet up with my friends sometimes for a quick coffee date or for lunch and you will be amazed at how good you will feel after having some time with other adults who can just take your mind off being a mother for a few hours OR relating with your new life as a Mum.
It took me so much courage to sign myself up to these Mama Mornings that you might often see me attending on Instagram, and trust me when I say it took a lot of pushing from myself AND my husband before I actually got the courage to go.
Now that I have been I wish I would have gone sooner! It is so amazing to surround yourself with other Mums who understand you and who can provide their own tips and tricks with parenting. I have made many friends through my Mama Morning that I attend which is Malaak Baby Centre and I am so happy that they provide such a comfortable atmosphere where Mums and Mums to be can hang out together while their babies and kids can play in a safe environment with each other.
If you are interested in joining us down at Malaak then click on this link and maybe we’ll see you there! https://malaak.me/en/home/
On that note – make time for you and your other half. Save a day each week and make it about the two of you. Whether you dress up for it and go out or just stay at home to snuggle and watch Netflix, it will make you both happy and keep your relationship flowing for the good.
It is crazy how much my husband and I’s lives have changed and so it really makes my day to spend some quality adult time with the man of my dreams.
5. Pursue what makes you happy.
If you used to be a yoga junkie or a book worm then why discontinue that when it obviously makes you happy? Do some simple meditation at home, pick up that book that you have been hiding away on your shelf or do some quick journalling.
I myself have been preparing my 2020 journal and I have been consistently doing that every morning and afternoon for a week, and it truly feels so good to know that I have something that I want to do everyday that isn’t baby related and that makes me feel in control and on top of things.
One of my 2020 goals is also to read more and so I have been trying really hard to put aside a few minutes of the day where I just sit down and read. I’m currently reading Tuesdays with Morrie.
Seriously, get back into some hobbies that you used to do before you became a Mum because before you know it ten years will have gone by and you will regret not getting back into it sooner.
6. Dream to get excited.
This is a big one for me, especially because before I became a Mum I was traveling constantly for 6 years and so there was always a lot of excitement surrounding my life because i was blessed to be able to travel every other day.
Now that I made the choice to be a stay at home Mum the luxury of traveling to places frequently has kind of been discarded and so planning ahead a holiday or a small trip really makes me excited.
For example, if your husband or friends have announced that they need to put in for their holidays soon then plan it straight away! Lock in the dates and engrave it into your journal or calendar so that you have something exciting to look forward to. It will lift your mood and although it might be far away – you can still dream about it. I know I am!
7. Shop for you.
So tell me when was the last time you went out shopping and you came home with something for yourself? Candles and kitchenware do not count, I’m talking about clothes for you, shoes, handbags etc.
I know that ever since I had my son it has been constant online shopping for nappies and water wipes and adorable outfit sets when I go to the mall. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE shopping for teeny tiny human clothes but us Mums need clothes too. And I don’t know about you but I am getting sick of wearing the same old denim shirt that I have been wearing since mid pregnancy.
Anything you get doesn’t have to be big, but it should be for you for a change. You deserve it.
8. Sing like you just don’t care.
Disclaimer. I am not a good singer but the fact that most days I have the house to myself and my son is still probably too small to remember how bad my singing, I sing. In the shower, in the car, when I’m cleaning, or when I’m listening to my sons nursery rhyme playlist for the fourth time that day – it doesn’t matter.
Singing is good for me, it reduces any stress I may have and just makes me feel energised and happy. Although I do miss the days of having my earphones in full blast, having one earphone in and singing along is good enough for me. And I can’t wait to add some dancing to my singing once my son is older. He is going to hate me for it. 😂
9. Learn something new.
I have been trying for years now to learn Egyptian Arabic, my husband is Egyptian and thus my son is part Egyptian and so I would like to have ears on all conversations once he gets older if you know what I mean. As like most of us I pushed it aside and got lazy so now the only new words I’m learning are the ones that my husband says to my son, like ‘Come back inside’, Don’t put that in your mouth’, and ‘ I’ll put you in the crib if you don’t stop crying’.
Don’t get me wrong they are useful phrases but nonetheless phrases that I will only be using for a short period of my life. Hopefully.
So another one of my goals is to get better at this language and to be more confident in my reading and writing skills. It doesn’t have to be learning a new language for you, it could be learning how to make something from scratch at home, learning about a new religion or even learning how to sew or knit.
10. Enjoy this moment.
Yes I did just give you 9 tips on how to take time for yourself and although this last one may not seem like it’s related, I do think it’s an important one.
Take a second, breathe and relish the moment that you are in. Kiss your baby, play with them, smell their head, because it is these moments that we will look back on and wish we had had more with them.
It is coming up to one year since I gave birth and I am in total denial about it. I already find myself crying over the day that I breastfeed him for the last time. It is looming in faster and faster and I can’t help but dread it. So revel in the pure magic of being a mother to your baby and don’t take a second for granted.
Overall those are my 10 tips to look after yourself as a Mum. I genuinely hope that you find some if not all of them useful and as always please leave me a comment, share this with someone and share me some of your tips!
And always remember Mamas, you are important. Your baby looks up to you and so you need to be at your best for them. Don’t think that you need to incorporate all of these tips into your life straight away, maybe just choose a few that you think would benefit you and start from there. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about making yourself a priority.
Have a wonderful 2020 everyone and I’ll see you all soon.
Love, Jessica Cairney.