Tip for New Parents: Remember to Put Yourself First Sometimes
I joined a new mom support group a few weeks ago to help me in this transition to motherhood. Part of our session the other week was about a tip for new parents – “moments for mom” – where we focused on how easy it is to put ourselves last. Often times, when we finally get a chance to look at the clock, it’s usually around 4 or 5 p.m. and we wonder where the day went and perhaps focus on how little we have accomplished that day. Our instructor said that when those thoughts come to mind, you need look at your child and realize all it takes to care for your baby. Caring for a newborn is hard work – it takes a lot of time and energy, and if we were able to put the dishes away or put in a load of laundry or even shower – that would be the icing on the cake.
We did some shoulder rolls and neck rolls and focused on our breathing. Our instructor told us how important it is to celebrate the small milestones and remember to pat ourselves on the back.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I can get Zoe down to nap (remember, she doesn’t like to sleep), I run to the dishes, the laundry or whatever task I feel needs to be done – I rarely take care of myself first. Many have used to airplane oxygen mask story to help make this point. “If the cabin loses air pressure, oxygen masks will fall. First put the mask on yourself before assisting others.” So, in order to properly care for your baby, you need to care for yourself. Take time to breath, make time for a pedicure, lunch with a friend or a simply just walk around the block.
This morning Zoe slept until 8 a.m. I got up at 7:30 and instead of rushing to do laundry, I made a fresh cup of coffee, sat in silence and enjoyed every last drop. By the time she woke up, I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the day. I made a promise during that class to focus on the positives, say a small affirmation each day and let go of all the little things around the house so I can put myself first. It will be better for me and it will be better for my daughter.