If you’re new to motherhood, getting comfortable and finding a routine for yourself may seem difficult as you may find yourself fretting over small details here and there, worried about which ways things may go wrong. But it’s important to get a routine together and de-stress your life because there’s no way to be one hundred percent all of the time. Take it from me, I remember when my first child was born and I could barely get to sleep each night for fear that I would miss something or something would happen that I’d need to be prepared for. But that’s the thing about motherhood in general, you’re still a human being and that means that you need rest and to take care of yourself so that you can be at your best as consistently as possible.
Taking Time Is Not Selfish
Plenty of the difficulty lies in the idea that you have to let yourself make decisions that might seem like they’re self-serving for you, but actually, have a great deal of benefit for you and your whole family. For example, stepping back and taking time to yourself so that you can decompress and just spend some time with yourself. Some of you might be so firmly committed to the idea that motherhood as an identity is who you are now, and perhaps you think that taking care of your family is the same as spending time with yourself. That’s an admirable perspective to have, and I certainly appreciate the sentiment. But, there are things that you need to do in order to be the best person that your family and children require because at the end of the day, you still are a person and mothering is what you do.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
It’s easy to get burnt out if you’re constantly focused on the act of just being a mom because you’re also a friend, companion and above all, an individual and you can’t simply deny that from yourself. It’s important to remember the things that make you, you. So taking time for yourself is certainly key, but the difficulty in making time for yourself might manifest in a few different ways. For one thing, after you come to the decision that you’re going to make that time, you might have a tough time working that into your family’s schedule, especially when making that time for self-care the very first time. Hire a babysitter, ask your significant other to take the reigns for a day or drop the kiddos off at a friend’s house for a play date. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from anyone. The second thing, especially if you’ve formulated a close attachment relationship with your children is letting them know that it’s okay if they’re away from mommy for a few hours or an overnight stay. This can be a tough first step and I had to come up with a few creative ways to persuade my own kids that being away from mom for a little while wasn’t a matter of life or death.
Support Your Children’s Sense Of Independence
For this, you might have to think outside the box a little bit. One little trick that I like to use for any number of things when it comes to persuading my kids of something is using the holiday season as a learning tool. Santa Claus is a powerful influencer, in terms of general behavior. So back when my kids still believed in the jolly man, I’d get out some calligraphy pens while they were asleep and write out a nice letter instructing them what Santa Claus expected from them for the year. One year Santa directly told them that a great way to score “nice list points” was to notice when mommy needed to take a moment to herself and to remember that she needed to be alone sometimes. It worked like magic, and they immediately took to the message. I remember after that letter my oldest would remind his little brother to “let Mommy have Mommy Only time, okay?” It was a blessing that I am still thankful for to this very day.
Thankfully, you don’t need to have artistic skills to get a letter from Santa to your kids anymore. There’s a great website, Free Letters from Santa, where you can draft and personalize letters to your little ones from the big man himself, I highly recommend it! My sister who has no creative skills of her own has been using the website’s customizable Santa letter templates for a couple of years to great effect for her children.
So remember to be good to yourself, and take time to make sure that you can remember who you are, your likes, your hobbies, yourself. Or just go see a movie or take a nap. Have a glass of wine and let yourself be you. Because you’re always going to be Mom, you just don’t need to do Mom one hundred percent of the time.