Your beautiful baby arrives and you can’t quite believe the magical miracle that has taken place but ‘me time’ might now feel like something strictly for memories. Before the baby you may have been the kind of person who liked your own company and appreciated mooching around in coffee shops and leisurely flicking through the pages of your favourite magazines. Being with your baby is incredible but in the early days especially, you are told to sleep when they sleep…so when do you find time to do the things that you enjoy? It can be hard enough showering and getting ready each day!
This is the second post in our tips and tricks series. We have talked to lots of mums to hear how they go about fitting in their version of ‘me time’ in their busy lives and have compiled four tops tips for making time for yourself as a new mother.
You may be a mother now but you are still a person too. It’s important to try and find some time for yourself, even if it’s only five minutes at the end of the day to just stop and be still. Consciously making the decision to do something for yourself can be powerful, and may help you to feel calmer and more relaxed.
It may seem selfish putting yourself first, but think about the instructions you get when you fly. You are always told to put your mask on first before helping others. You can’t help others before you help yourself.
Some women say that doing something for themselves makes them feel like they are a better mum. It might be as simple as cleansing your face before you go to bed, or 20 minutes in the bath once your baby has nodded off. Find the things that make you happy and make the effort to try and do something for yourself each day.
The days merge in to nights and the weeks fly by. Before you know it, months have passed and you realise you haven’t actually been on your own at all since you became a mum. It may seem odd leaving the baby for any period of time, especially in the early days when you may be trying to establish breastfeeding. Spontaneous fun may be a thing of the past (for now), but it doesn’t mean you can’t plan fun activities. In fact, if you don’t plan you will probably find that you will miss out. Work together with your partner and plan your week ahead so that you factor in me time for both of you to avoid any resentment developing.
It’s not always easy to reply to fast moving What’s App group chats with the girls and you may not be able to join last minute drinks but suggest dates and get them in the diary so that you have something to look forward to. If you have made friends with other new mums, think about a baby-free night out. It can be refreshing to get to know them outside the chat about feeding, nappies and sleeping.
Once your partner returns to work it can be especially hard to find time for you, and by the time he gets home from work you are probably ready for your bed. Consider making time for yourself at the start of the day before your partner and baby are up and about. Head to the pool for a swim, do some yoga or stretches, or go for a run. You may feel exhausted and exercise is probably the last thing on your mind but keeping active can be great for your mind and can energise you for the day ahead. Alternatively, you might want to start the day in a more relaxed way: watching the sun come up and enjoying the peace and quiet with a coffee, or your me time might just be doing nothing. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it makes you feel good.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Often people don’t want to be seen to be interfering and will leave you to it unless you ask. It’s not always easy to ask, but the worst that can happen is they say no. The idea of leaving your baby with anybody apart from your partner may seem daunting but some women find that asking a trusted relative or a friend to help out can make a real difference to your wellbeing. It may just be taking the baby for a walk for an hour so that you can have a snooze or a bath, or even just being in the house when the baby is sleeping so that they can see to the baby if they cry.
We’d love to hear your tips about how you get your ‘me time’. Find us on Twitter and share using #SRMMeTime