Photography by Brandon John
When my sister Britta was on maternity leave, I would Facetime her daily. I remember being so envious of her ability to just RELAX. She enjoyed her baby and took lots of time to snuggle with my delicious nephew while watching the entire series of Grey's Anatomy. At the time, I was still dealing with the trauma of a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome and keeping busy was my way of coping. The idea of sitting still was just NOT something I could have even considered for a long time after having Adeline. But then one day, I hit a wall. I realized I hadn't sat down in 6 months, so that's what I did. I sat down, I relaxed and I took a breath.
I have had 10 months since Adeline was born and now that I am in a much better mental state postpartum, my sister has been my inspiration. I try and sit down daily and find moments for myself. That said, self care for me is not as expected. The idea of rest, listening to my body, taking a nap, or just eating what I feel like is self care. There are absolutely moments during the week that I take time to enjoy a glass of wine, work out, see a friend for lunch or write in my journal. But, it can be hard for me to find the time for these moments of self care so I do my best to recognize smaller moments because they matter just as much as the big. This helps me stay more present, and quite honestly more sane. Here are some of those small things I do for my personal self care:
I try to wake up before my kids. Now please do not get it twisted! I am not one of those incredible Moms who wake up hours before their kids, workout and have the kitchen spotless by 7. When I say "wake up before my kids" I mean even by 5 minutes. For example, this morning I woke up about 20 minutes before my kids. I was able to take a quick shower, prep Charlee's breakfast and get Adeline's bottle ready all before they woke up. I love when this happens because our mornings are less stressful and just more enjoyable. It's also lovely to be alone with my coffee even if for a moment or two.
Every night I pray. We are not a faith based company and I am not here to talk about my personal faith, but for me this is a part of my small moments of self care. I like to take a moment to talk to God about my day, my fears and my hopes. It's a great way to relax and I usually fall asleep a bit easier.
I take time for ME when I can. I make sure before I sit down to play with Addie, feed her, etc. I make sure I am taking care of myself. If it's time for her bottle, I always make sure I have a glass of water or coffee or a meal if I am hungry. Making sure I have what I need allows me to care for my kiddo with a happier state of mind.
Therapy! I speak to my therapist weekly. This has been a game changer for me in terms of self care. Allowing myself to take an hour a week to speak to someone who is helping me better my mental health has given me so much in return. I believe in the mind/body connection and as Mother's we take on a tremendous mental load. Therapy has provided me with wonderful tools to use when I am feeling stressed or at capacity.
I go shopping! Once or twice a week, Adeline and I have appointments 30-45 min from our house. I usually book it back to the house after appointments to make sure I get all my chores done but sometimes, I stop at the mall. I swear I don't even buy things sometimes! But for me, window shopping and bopping around with my kiddos is so fun for and a lovely way to treat myself. Plus, Adeline always naps so well while I shop because the mall is so loud!
I wash my face before bed. Ok this one sounds silly, but I LOVE taking the time to do my skincare routine before I go to sleep. Sometimes I am SO exhausted that I skip it and I always regret it in the morning. When I take the time to wash off the day and prep my skin for sleep, I feel amazing!
I wonder if any of the things I listed in this post are things you guys practice for your own self care?! I love getting inspired by others and look forward to connecting on this topic! Don't forget to take care of yourself today and everyday :)