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Taking care and meeting the needs of my fourth little guy, baby Paul, has been the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. My sleep is messed up, the house is disheveled, but you guys – this baby. He and his siblings are my heart and soul.
And in the crazy adventure of life with baby, I’ve oftentimes found myself putting my needs last. Over time, I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t feel good mentally, physically, emotionally – the whole family suffers. Putting myself first (or at least not completely ignoring my needs) isn’t selfish one bit – it’s necessary.
7 Ways I Take Care of Myself, Even with a New Baby:
Seeking out other moms. 1 of 7
I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby, which left me feeling like I didn't have anybody to relate to in my new journey of motherhood. Finding a few like-minded other "mom friends" who could I could lean on made such a difference in my day-to-day life. Image credit: Casey Mullins.
Ditching the pajamas every once in a while. 2 of 7
Admittedly, I don't get completely dressed and put together each and every day - especially with a newborn who is constantly spitting up and making little baby messes everywhere. But I've noticed that when I do make an effort to put myself together - even if it's just my favorite jeans, a clean cardigan and application of lip gloss - I feel 100 percent better about myself. I know it's totally mental; but when I feel clean and presentable, I feel confident and my morale rises considerably.
Journaling the milestones – both big and small. 3 of 7
A couple times a week, I try to find time to sit down record what's new with the kids and the family. I stated journaling (which moved to personal blogging) around 8 years ago when my first born was around six months old. Eight years and four babies later - it's such a mental release to put the pen to paper (ok fine, I totally type it out on the computer these days) and record milestones both big and small. From birth stories to first foods, I find joy and pleasure documenting my baby's special first moments.
Getting fresh air. 4 of 7
Just like my houseplants, I need a daily dose of vitamin D to be happy and healthy. And since moving to warm and sunny Florida isn't currently an option, I make it a priority seek out natural light, particularly on mild sunny days. Sunshine and fresh air - it does my body good.
Clean eating. 5 of 7
Know what? This mama cannot survive alone on caffeine and baby snuggles (I've tried - doesn't work). And while I haven't given up my fresh cup of morning coffee, it's now accompanied by a healthy nutrient packed smoothie. It gives me a clean start to the day - and usually sustains me until lunchtime.
Intentional physical activity 3-4 times a week. 6 of 7
In order to feel both mentally and physically healthy, I aim to "workout" (either a brisk walk around the neighborhood, or a quick trip to the gym) around 3-4 times a week. Nothing too intense - just enough to break a sweat and get my heart pumping.
Quiet time for reading, meditation, and prayer. 7 of 7
No doubt about it, I'm an introvert through and through. Some people are recharged by being around large groups of people, I recharge by intentionally spending time by myself. And while taking care of a new baby 24/7 leaves little time for "me moments", I make it a priority to find quiet time. Simple moments like a bath after dinner or running errands alone once a week does a ton for my emotional well-being.
How about you? How do you recharge and regroup while taking care of an infant?