Becoming a mother is a shock to the system. We become so immersed in the goings-on of tiny humans that we can start to forget who we were - or what it felt like to be us - pre-kids. Sure, we can come up for air every now and again. A weekend getaway here, a girl's night there. But how can we maintain that sense of self more consistently?
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay afloat
Keep Your Brain on Its Toes 🧐
All that baby-talk and simplifying sentences can really do a number. Anyone else losing their vocabulary altogether? I remember people telling me about baby-brain but never did I think it would hit me so hard. I found myself forgetting words, dates, places and all sorts! Sometimes you start to wonder if you've just lost the plot or maybe suffered from a concussion whilst giving birth! I finally spoke to a fellow mum about it and was so relieved that it wasn't just me. Mum-brain just isn't talked about enough, and even if it is, it doesn't cover its extent or reality. When I got back to work, I honestly didn't feel like the woman I once was - I was hit by imposter syndrome and haunted by the fact that someone might clock on to the fact that I'd lost myself, my confidence and my wits.
This brings me back to the point of keeping your brain on its toes! Re-educate yourself, whether that's by reading a non-parenting related book, watching some educational Netflix documentaries or by joining an online course. Try mixing in with people again; it's so important to be around people in the same boat as you! have an intellectual conversation with another adult. You'll be surprised how quickly you jump back into the swing of things. Think of your brain as a muscle that needs to be worked back into shape!
Find an Outlet 👩🏻🎨
The old you is in there waiting to be unleashed! If you're struggling to find her or feel her absence altogether. Why not try and walk in her footsteps, do the things that made you happy and alive. Let's not forget that sometimes having a baby can also mean the growth of yourself! You might not be exactly like the woman you once were, and that can be scary. So, take some time and discover this new you - because if you don't, then no one will. Look forward and try something new! Be it raising house plants, turning to mindful colouring, or even a weekend cooking project (Lockdown's special homemade sourdough, anyone?), if you've said, " I'd love to try that",- now's the time! What's the worst that could happen?
Get Active 🥊
While we are on the point of getting to know your new self, I should probably mention getting to know your new body too. Forget about weight loss or that 'hot girl summer' bod. That's not why we do it! Your postpartum body will definitely change in one way or another, and trust me when I say that I know it's not easy letting go of those perfect pre-baby boobs or accepting that you've jumped a few dress sizes up. Some parts of you will get back to normal over time, but some things will stay as a reminder of your bravery and motherhood. Let's celebrate them! Get active and fall in love with your new body, wear that coordinated active set that you bought (but were too intimidated to wear), find a gym with a creche, try a YouTube video in the lounge, or even go for a walk. Thanks to endorphins, it's literally impossible to feel stressed/overwhelmed whilst working out. You're welcome.
Me Time 🛀🏻
Ah, self-care. It's all the rage. And for a good reason. Whether you work in an office, are a stay-at-home mum, or run a side-hustle during naptimes - the mental load of motherhood is the most draining of all. The washing, the cooking and everything in-between - and all of the 'doing' is usually for someone else. Schedule in time to be 'selfish' (spoiler: it's really not). Go on a quick adventure, book at the salon - carve out that time for yourself and recharge your batteries! I always made excuses, "I have —— to do", "I'd rather have a nap", anything really. I don't know what it was, but it felt like I didn't deserve "me time" maybe it was the mum guilt or a voice in my head telling me that everyone else should come first! I finally did it! I booked at the salon and had a pamper session, and I'm not shy to say that it was brilliant. I put effort into myself again. The following week I went on a bit of an adventure just me, myself and I... the moral of the story is that don't hold yourself back, because once you start you'll realise what you're missing!
Date Your Partner 💃🏽
Parenting with a partner can feel like The Hunger Games. When one of us starts sinking, it's all too easy for the other one to get dragged down alongside. I know that it doesn't feel like it once did, and you might argue more than usual, but let's acknowledge for a second that both of your lives have been turned upside down! Having a baby can sometimes be overwhelming, and that's just a reaction to feeling helpless, burned out, not to forget the sleepless nights. You both are a team at the end of the day. Communicate what you're feeling, set a schedule for each other and acknowledge that you're in this together! It's also essential to take a break sometimes; parenting 24/7 can sometimes lead to a loss of sanity. SO GO OUT!! Just you and your partner, and I promise that you'll find your rhythm again. Take people up on their offers to babysit and ask for help when you need it. If these aren't an option, then apps like Bubble are perfect for reliable last-minute sitters.
I hope this helps! We're always just a DM away, so keep in touch and know that our community is here for you on Instagram and on our Facebook group.
You are amazing and should be so proud of yourself; get to know the new you. You'll love her!
Lots of love,
Himanshi @ Mamamade