Oh, man – this mommy thing is tricky.
I love it. I’ve waited for a long time to be a mother, and it’s the greatest joy I’ve ever experienced – pure delight.
However, I’ve noticed that I’ve been struggling to recalibrate – to figure out how to maintain good self-care as a new mother. As always, when I am stressed – even when it’s good stress! – I slip back into my vices. For me, it’s candy, junk food, caffeine, and TV.
When things change in your life, you have an opportunity to achieve a brand-new equilibrium. That’s what’s been happening with me, as I adjust happily and tiredly to having Teddy – Our Baby! – home.
The biggest area of struggle with me in New Mommy Land is #body. Figuring out how to get the exercise I need while also spending as much of my love, time, and energy on Teddy as I possibly can – that’s challenging.
And now, my return to working full-time is looming. I’ve been working part-time – two or three days a week – since Teddy was born. My work days have been long, to make up for having Thursdays and Fridays home with Teddy. That means, from Monday to Wednesday, I get through my days via sugar and caffeine. Then I spend Thursday trying to physically and mentally recover from that (while snuggling with Teddy, of course).
Honestly, that’s always been one of my major work patterns. I often power through my work days with caffeine and no food. I get through the day – but then, when the work day is over, I am DONE. Wiped out. I come home and I crash. When I didn’t have a kid, it was fairly easy to take the time to recuperate. Now, if I were to come home and need to crash and burn every night, I wouldn’t be present and alert for precious Teddy time. And that’s just not how I want to live.
Additionally, I’ve had to spend a lot of time working from home while being on part-time maternity leave. That’s been a big adjustment for me – one of my primary self-care strategies is to leave work at work – mentally, emotionally, and, most importantly, physically. So, as much as I’m dreading being away from Teddy five days a week, I’m also eager to get back into a regular routine and find a balance that works for my career and for my family.
Here are the strategies I’ve come up with so far:
- Leave work at work. I’m planning to leave home at 6:30 a.m. I’ll work my butt off until 4 p.m. – though there will be breaks to look at the Teddy photos that Tee will send periodically! And then I will leave work at 4 p.m. to drive home. I will maintain those boundaries, and once I leave work, I will focus on my family and my self. It’s never been so important to practice mindfulness – keeping myself in the present moment.
- Take a walk with Teddy after work. Even when it’s dark out! That’s what head lamps are for. Teddy loves being in the Ergo, snuggled into my chest, and an early evening walk will help me to get some much-needed exercise.
- Make the most of the weekends… Before Teddy, I used to throw a few things in my purse on a Friday when I was going away for the weekend. It was easy to just kinda go with the flow. Now, my plan is to be more intentional about how I spend my time. Life’s too short.
- …including exercise! It’s going to be really hard to get any running in on winter weekdays. So it’ll have to be saved for Saturdays and Sundays.
- Slow down. Take it easy. Stop trying to power through anything and everything; stay in the moment. This is your life.
Man. Well, we’ll see what happens. November 28th is the big day; until then, it’s vacay in Vegas, baby!