Raise your hand if you can relate to any of the above.
While in some ways it seems like we've caught on to this parenting thing I still find myself struggling here and there to find balance. As a mother it is so easy to put yourself last. I have found myself falling down that hole time and time again in the last year; only beginning to crawl out when I have an emotional breakdown every month or so because I have neglected myself. My role has shifted 180 degrees from those self-serving days when I only had to worry about my schedule, wants and needs.
Now, almost every waking moment is spent focusing on a new little human. You plot which mommy group to join and determine which library has the best story time. You decide if you will do Gymboree or swim lessons. What about the baby classes offered through Parks & Rec? Maybe you should sign up for that Mommy & Baby Spanish class. Before you know it, you have created a jam-packed schedule for this little person that barely allows you five minutes to pee!
I've fallen prey to all of the mistakes above (and if you're behind me on this mommy journey then you will too). I would feel guilty dropping Olivia in the child care at the gym because surely she wouldn't be getting anything out of that time. I should be doing something constructive with her instead - reading a book or letting her roam around and explore the outdoors. If this last year has taught me nothing more, it has undoubtedly made known that carving out time for me is important. It is essential for my well-being and thus for the health of my relationship with my husband and daughter.
If you aren't taking care of you then you most certainly can't be asked to take care of others. I know I am only at the top of my game as a wife and mother when I am allowed to pour into myself - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When I am full I can more easily pour myself into the other very important people in my life. My favorite ways to unwind, decompress and recharge include working out (duh!), cooking, reading, getting a massage, listening to music, sitting in a coffee shop and soaking up the moment, being outdoors (beach, park, etc.), church, and slowing down/connecting with my family (see pic below). I was fortunate enough to be able to indulge in quite a few of these things last weekend and oh boy, did it feel good!
It is a work in progress. I still need to be occasionally reminded to step away from my new role as mommy to remember that person I was before. I am confident that as we enter this second year with our sweet little girl I will continue to work towards a more balanced state and I challenge you to do the same.
If you can do nothing more, I encourage you to take five minutes at the end of the night, before bed, to quiet your mind and turn your thoughts inward. I love to spritz lavender on my pillows and listen to "Offering Chant" (by Lama Gyrume & Jean-Philippe Rykiel). It is one of my all-time favorite songs for Savasna. It is so incredibly peaceful and serene. Speaking of, I'm off to bed, but before I go...
What are your favorite ways to relax, unwind, and recharge? When is the last time you were able to do one of these things?