Most women want to grow up to become a beautiful lady, married to the guy of her dreams, with lovely children and a wonderful house with white picket fences. After becoming moms, many women find themselves to have come full circle but the vast majority never expect motherhood to be as hard as it is.
After all, it seemed like only yesterday when your own mother had breezed through bringing you up (or so you thought....mother might be hiding around the corner snickering right now heh). Now that you've given birth to your child (or children), how do you go about feeling wholesome again? Will you ever feel normal? Will the word "human being" ever apply to you after the birth of your children? Or will you forever feel tired, depressed, frustrated and angry with a body only a mother could love?
Fear not; we have compiled 20 ways to help you find a semblance of humanity back in your now 'out of this world' life of chaos and craziness. So fret not, there's still hope for you to get back to your once savvy but normal looking and mentally sane self.
20 Time For A Fresh Wardrobe
Ahhhhh....the number one therapy for women worldwide. Shopping and a whole new wardrobe. Feeling drab, old and unattractive or just downright uncomfortable in your old clothes? Well, why not burn a hole in your pocket and get a revamp? Throw (or at least donate) your old and ill-fitting clothes (especially now that there's a flabby tummy to take into consideration) and simply shop for something for comfortable. Now, comfortable does not mean baggy, unattractive clothing but rather something chic yet appealing to you and your new body type. You'd feel a lot more confident in your own skin with a whole new look.
19 Splurge On A Trip To The Salon
Also, why not take a trip to your favorite salon. Cut off the thinning hair (hair loss is such a hassle), go for a scalp treatment or if you have no hair loss issue, why not try something new like dyeing it blonde with soft pink streaks or become a brunette with a hint of purple? Like the teens in the streets say, 'it's rad' (whatever it means...I'm way too out of their league to understand what those kids say anymore). If you like to play it safe, then how about perming your hair (afro style, Korean soft perm or simply a digital-noodle-like perm), it could change the way you look and make heads turn in a good way.
18 Get some New Sets Of Shoes
What's a wardrobe change if you don't get a new set of shoes. Perhaps the swollen feet will stay like that for a long, long time. No way are you going to stuff your elephant feet into the killer stiletto heels anymore, are you? And do you really want to risk walking around with a baby in six-inch platform shoes? Why not opt for a cooler pair of sandals that scream elegance or some ballerina pumps to give you a more feminine look? A lot of women claim to feel more comfortable after stepping out in a new pair of shoes. Many say they feel like a whole new person...like a Cinderella (without the pesky stepsisters and evil stepmother of course).
17 Get control back with some fancy Facials
Remember the time before the baby came and when you could go for your facials every other week? Well, just because you have a baby now, that doesn't mean you have to dedicate 24/7 to your baby. You need a little 'me time' too. And now that you have to care not only for yourself but for your baby too, there is more the reason for you to look after yourself. After all, a good facial can not only rid your face of impurities like blackheads and whiteheads, it can also help hydrate and moisturize your skin, giving your face a lift and glow that many moms' skin is lacking. Our faces basically scream for a good ol' facial.
16 Sneak Away For A Body Massage
Apart from the essential facials, one must not forgo body massages. Ahhhhh, the wonderful touch of having expert masseurs giving your body a much-needed massage. Be it the Balinese massage, the Thai head cracking massage or just a soothing massage with essential oils, in the hands of professionals, they will definitely invigorate you. Massage away the stress from having to care for your colicky baby, soothe the tensions in your muscles from having to carry the baby the whole night and reemerge feeling like a whole new person (or rather the old you who could party the whole night and still headline a politically charged meeting with no problem).
15 Get that Mani-Pedi, Girl
There's nothing like a fresh and polished looking pair of hands and feet. Look at your cuticles. Are they parched and dry? Are the tips of your fingers flaky with peeling skin? Do you have unsightly cracked heels that you hide in shame in your sneakers? Well then, if you've checked for all of the above then it's high time for your hands and feet to get pampered.
Allow your feet to go on the most blissful ride and indulge in foot and hand massages to help release toxins and be painted with the best paints in town. Or if you prefer a more low key look then why not go for a French pedicure and manicure? Again if you're worried about breaking the beautifully trimmed nails while tending to your baby then a simple buffing of your nails will do to let them shine brilliantly once again. There's nothing like a confidence booster than a pair of healthy looking hands and feet.
14 Work off The Flab
Time to get back in shape. If you want to feel the slightest bit normal again, you might want to try to get rid of the extra flab that accumulated during the pregnancy period. Granted, you might have very limited time for exercise with all the work you need to put up with right now but trust me.
The exercise will pay off. Move your bum, twist your waist, tighten up your abs and perhaps, just perhaps six to ten months down the line (no, getting back in shape after pregnancy doesn't happen overnight), you just might be able to fit into your favourite pair of skinny jeans and look smoldering hot in it once again.
13 Careful what you reach for
Junk food always tastes the best. Nachos, tacos, burgers, fries, ice creams, you name it they have it. These sinfully delicious food are a 'no no' if you want to feel and look normal again. Stay away from stuff that will put on pounds to your body and increase your already roof hitting cholesterol and blood pressure. Instead, try a healthy diet. Eat your veggies, take your vitamins, wave goodbye to the king and his clown of burgers.
Eat a healthy wholesome sandwich with baked chicken breast or smoked salmon. In no time you'll be feeling as fit as a fiddle, though the process of becoming one can be rather daunting. Curbing junk food is akin to stopping certain bad habits. The process can be rather excruciating, we kid you not. But hey, you can do it!
12 Get back to your old eating habits
Eating healthy also means maintaining a proper diet. It matters not if you eat clean for a day or two only to buckle under the pressure to the latest edition of chocolate cookies and cream. One must try to 'eat clean' for at least a month or two to see and feel the difference. Meet up with your nutritionist to work out a proper diet. If you don't have one then turn to the next best thing, Mr. Google, who can help work out a healthy diet for you based on your current BMI (body mass index). So never look down on Mr. Google anymore. We swear that guy could solve any problem you give him. Give him a head and a body and he would've been a babe magnet.
11 Don't feel bad about getting Lots of Sleep
Sleep: the number one thing all normal human beings need. If you are deprived of sleep, chances are you would not be operating on a normal level. You'd probably feel zombie-like going through your days in a haze. So in order to get some semblance of humanity and normality in your life, put your head down, close your eyes and try to get a wink or two (especially when the baby is sleeping).
Your body needs to recuperate from all the sleepless nights during pregnancy and even more sleepless nights during the first few months of the baby's life. See the bags under your eyes? They're big enough to fit a dumbbell or two. Try to sleep it off before the eye bags become a permanent feature on your face.
10 Get back to work
It used to be we would dread waking up on Mondays to go to work. We'd drag our assess off the bed, haul ourselves into the bathroom, live practically on coffee while riding the subway to and from work. Work made us feel like zombies. But after having given birth, work might actually help us feel like a normal human being again. We get to integrate with society, catch up on the latest gossip and take our minds off the diapers and baby milk. So if you were working before, try to get back to the workforce. It matters not if it's full time, part time or even freelancing from home. So long as you work, you will feel the adrenaline rush that can somehow magically make you feel normal again.
9 Cook Your Heart Out
Some women turn to cooking whenever they feel like life is out of control. In the kitchen, they call the shots. They are the boss and can dictate what will be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It gives them a sense of control (wielding the knife), a form of achievement (being able to handle the stove without it crying and bawling), and a sense of fulfillment (especially if the family appreciates the food).
So on any day you feel like you're on the brink of insanity, why not head to the kitchen and make some garlic bread or chicken cordon bleu? Or bake a salmon? How about a cranberry cake? Yout might just be the next master chef in the making
8 Meet Up With The Girls
Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed with all that is happening around you (ie baby crying, baby biting, baby having spit ups, baby pooping, etc), you will need an outlet. One for you to let loose all your frustrations. And what better way to release all the tension than by talking to your besties? After all, nothing good ever came up from bottling up your frustrations.
Let your girlfriends in on your worst days, bombard them with the nitty gritty details of diaper changes and cracked nipples. Or better yet, share with one another how you quell your toddler's tantrums. Compare woes with one another and you might just realize that your life isn't all that bad after all.
7 Clean Up The House
Cleaning up the house, picking up the toys littering around, vacuuming the bits and pieces of baby puffs and wiping away the grime....that my dear can be one way to make you feel normal again. Yes, you might think it absurd. After all, what normal human being enjoys doing household chores. We all cringe at the thought of having the even wash the bathroom, let alone do spring cleaning for the whole house. But once you become a mother, house cleaning will be a norm. It will become a part of you and by cleaning and ridding the house of dirt and dust, you can actually feel energized and accomplished for having been able to turn what looked like an aftermath of a tsunami into a warm, cozy livable place again.
6 Garden A Little... or sit by the garden
Many view gardening as a way to express your nurturing side, the motherly side of you. As if you aren't a mother enough to your emotionally charged baby. Heh. But the good thing about gardening is that it helps a number of mums to feel wholesome again. This is especially so when they get to witness the seeds that they planted start to grow and bloom into beautiful flowers or vegetable patches. This process of seeing their plants grow inevitably sends an indirect message to the brain, telling mums that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that one day, their little rascals will also grow into a wonderful, beautiful and rational adult.
5 Wish for good fortune
'The Lord is my Shepherd' is one of the most powerful hymns and prayer from the book of Psalms that many turning to those comforting words in times of trouble. Regardless of one's religion, many mothers turn to prayers in times of distress (cue to Beatles' Let It Be).
Somehow, sharing our worst fears and worries with one whom we believe is of greater power can help us alleviate the feeling of inadequacy and failures as a mother. So when our child is down with a cough or cold, we pray for their speedy recovery. When nights are rough with the baby refusing to sleep, we pray that they will sleep soundly.
When they cry because they accidentally scraped their knee at the playground, we pray they won't feel so much pain. When our child throws a tantrum in public we pray to be invisible. And when we look at our haggard selves in the mirror, we pray for the days of our youth. So yes, basically, we turn to prayers and hope that the big guy up there will open the door.
4 Get Away with A Mini-Vacation
When all else fails, one can plan a mini vacation away from the baby. Many newborn parents tend to take a few days to a week off from their baby just to get a breather either at a nearby resort for the weekend or jetlag to the other side of the world for a taste of a different culture. A vacation can help to release some pent up pressure and stress of being a mum. We get to set our sights on things other than the baby's diapers and milk. Instead, we get to feast our eyes on sandy beaches, awe-inspiring temples, beautiful architectures, juicy delicacies and memorable sunsets. Ahhhhh... a vacation is a must for every mum. So go and get one, by hook or by crook.
3 Get Emotional Support From The Family
A listening ear goes a long way. Even more so when the support comes from a family member who's been through the same harrowing experience that you are going through now. Having them there for you and knowing that they understand what and how you feel can make you realize that all the emotional distress you feel right now as a mother is actually a normal thing.
Feeling like the end of the world when you accidentally spill an hour's pumping of breast milk? Letting a silent scream inside of you when your toddler asks 'why' for the thousandth time? Wanting to just run away from home and going a hippie group when the kids spiral out of control? It's normal. It's called motherhood. And it'll be stuck with you for practically all the days of your life. Sob!
2 Dance it off
'Let the music heal your soul. Let the music take control. Let the music give you the power to move any mountain'. These lyrics to the Bravo All Stars' song actually do make sense. Music has the ability to evoke powerful emotions. It can make us laugh, cry, fuel our anger and even provide comfort. So at times when you feel like you're spiraling down a rabbit hole, take a breather and listen to your favorite tunes.
Listen to songs that are uplifting and encouraging (read: Fighter by Christina Aguilera, I Turn To You by the late Whitney Houston, Wannabe by the Spice Girls, etc). Do away with all those sappy emotional songs that could make you feel even worse than you already feel (basically almost every song on the radio these days are considered negatively charged). Choose wisely and the music could just be your silver lining in the sky.
1 Know that there's no shame in Getting Professional Help
Motherhood is a funny thing. On one hand, it could bring you to an all-time high, seeing your little ones grow. On the other hand, some mothers can crack under the pressure and succumb to postnatal depression. In the event that you feel that something 'just isn't right' (trust your instinct here...crying alone in the shower every day or having frequent violent thoughts is NOT normal), seek help. Remember Charlize Theron in Tully? That's one serious piece of er...poop. But in all seriousness, get professional counseling if you truly feel that you are suffering from depression. A little talk with someone who knows the ropes can really bring you back to normal.
References: Wikipedia, The Bible and Parenting.com.