I was about 6 months postpartum with my first child when my husband came home from work and said, “Rachel, you need to start wearing real pants again.” Because, you see, I was living in pajama pants and maternity jeans. Yes, the newborn stage is full of excitement and busyness, to the point where 6 months flies by and you are still so focused on the baby that you forgot you weren’t wearing “real” pants. For your edification, here is what I am talking about:
As I sit here with my second child approaching 18 months, I realize that motherhood has ahold of me! No, I wear real jeans these days, but in the haze of sleepless nights (yes, the reality is that many kids don’t sleep for years, and anyone who is telling you otherwise is probably trying to sell you something), I realized that my self-care has been seriously lacking.
Am I saying I need to spend more days at the spa? No, though that would definitely be nice. For me, it’s about spending time as myself and recognizing the fact that motherhood isn’t my sole identity. So this year, I have resolved to spend more time on self-care. And this means:
5 minutes on my face: Motherhood (and years working in the Florida Keys–ahem WEAR SUNSCREEN) has aged me. Not in a bad way, but enough that I want to start caring for my skin. So, I’m going to start a skincare routine, and I’m going to at least wear a little makeup (with SPF). By the end of the year, I hope to regularly be wearing contacts again, too. When I was in law school, I did my makeup every day. Not that I am worried about appearances, but it is 5 minutes of pampering that helps me feel more like a professional and less like a haggard mama.
Brushing twice a day: When my first was born, the midwife told me that if I got a shower and brushed my teeth, that would be my new definition of a good day. Nearly 4 years later, and I’m still not great about twice-a-day brushing. But I know that dental health and cardiac health are related, and while I’m still trying to figure out ways to lose the baby weight, brushing my teeth is a simple way I can help improve my health that doesn’t require a lot of time.
Morning meditation and stretching: I’ve read that just 5 minutes a day of meditation can seriously change the way you look at the day. So, again, I won’t be busting out week-long yoga workshops anytime soon, but I can take 5 minutes to set my intention for the day and prepare my body for the often demanding task of being a parent to two very busy boys.
Take a relaxing bath once a week: Okay, so this one is purely pampering. A bath reminds me to slow down and breathe, and gives me uninterrupted time to myself. Obviously, this one requires the support of my husband, who can keep the littles from intruding.
More time away: My children are old enough that they don’t need me 24/7. And as they get older, I need to touch base with the part of me that has hobbies and interests outside of parenthood. This means more time away, whether it’s a crafting retreat or a simple girls’ night. My husband is awesome and I know the kids will be fine in his hands while I get a much needed break to re-connect with myself!
So those are my self-care resolutions for this year. What are yours?