Motherhood can be overwhelming, stressful and exhausting. Nothing really prepares you for the ups and downs you'll experience. Some days you'll cry, some days you'll laugh, most days are full of both.
When you are thrown into the world of motherhood, only you truly know what will work best. In order for you to enjoy motherhood to its fullest, it’s important to continue to give yourself love, space and kindness. Because it is different for everyone, we have compiled a list of 10 tricks to relieve that early day motherhood stress that you may not have expected.
Exercise has been proven to enhance your brain’s oxytocin and put you in a better, healthier mood. After you are finished with your physical healing from birth, it’s important to begin a exercise routine- even if this means going for a walk each and every morning with baby in the stroller.
Ensure you are fully recovered during the after-birth period. If you begin working out before you’re physically healed, it could lead to more damage than good. Speak to your doctor or midwife before beginning a new exercise routine. Your medical professional will likely check you for the next 6 weeks after delivery to ensure you’re healing well.
9 PICK UP A BOOK
This seems simple, but during the early days your mind may feel like it’s about to explode. From feeding the baby to feeding yourself, your day’s tasks will likely go from 0-100, real quick.
The responsibility that motherhood brings is immense, and it is important to keep your mind stimulated with other, intellectual things. We encourage you to have a bedside book that is easily accessible during nap time or down time. Don’t lose yourself in the early days; it’s easier said than done. But, if you put effort into keeping your adult-brain stimulated, you’ll feel a little more human in the early days of motherhood.
8 MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR DIET
Adding more brain-foods and healthy fats to your diet can not only help keep your milk supply up (if you have chosen to breastfeed) and energy high, but it will ensure that you are retaining enough minerals to live a happy and healthy life.
You are what you eat, they say, and if you’re not eating enough, it may be time to add frequent, healthy snacks to your daily routine. We know it’s incredibly busy in the first few days... well, years of motherhood, but it is important to take care of your body and mind to ensure you’re living your best life possible.
7 TAKE AN HOUR OUT OF YOUR DAY FOR SILENCE
No baby screams, no television, no phone calls! Take an hour to soak in a bath to silence. Take that hour to rest while you have your partner/help putting the baby down for their nap.
Take an hour to lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling with earplugs in. You need to collect those Momma Thoughts and be calm. Feel your emotions and hold space for those emotions with no distraction (if possible). This will be a difficult task to master, but if you are able to take an hour out of your day to just be, it will help immensely.
6 SHOWER FOR RELAXATION- NOT JUST CLEANLINESS
Yes, we know. How funny!? How will you have time to just stand in that shower without being productive by washing your hair that’s been dirty for 5 days straight? Well, try your very best to make the time.
Warn your partner/friend/in-law that it’s time to shave- that excuse may buy you an extra 20 minutes to just stand with that heat running down your body to relax your mind, body and soul. A shower is a great way to de-stress from the day’s tasks. It’s the simple pleasures in life, now. You will do your very best to find time for yourself at any moment of the day. Welcome to motherhood.
5 GO FOR A WALK ALONE
As simple as this sounds, it’s important to have some alone time. Don’t forget the ones you love, of course, but don't let yourself become completely consumed by them either.
Even in the early days, it’s important to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air. Walking will absolutely relieve stress and it will be a great excuse to squeeze in that hour of solo time.
4 PUT DOWN THE PHONE
Oh, I know. Possible? If you try really, really hard! It is near impossible to end the comparison that us mothers partake in. It’s natural, but can be toxic. If you notice a negative pattern (especially through the use of social media) of comparing yourself to other new mothers, it may be time to delete an app for just a little while.
Never forget: social media highlights the best moments. And, if we’re going to be real: the grass is not always greener on the other side. What you’re feeling are emotions that the “perfect mother” you see posting every day is likely feeling, as well. You may be new to this whole mom thing, but you know your baby best. Use your Mom Gut and forget what the others are doing and saying. You’ll thank us later.
Don’t hate us just yet. We know: the worst advice that a new parent can receive is, “nap when they nap!” Well, when are we supposed to do laundry, shower, wash the dishes, do our taxes and binge our shows to feel a bit more human-like? We know, it’s difficult. Whether you decide to breastfeed or formula feed, or the mix of both, it’s important to try and balance out the tasks between you and your partner.
If you are parenting solo, it can be just as vital to ask or hire help if you can. Of course, keep binge-watching that new Netflix special. But, when you have a solid 20 minutes to mop those floors- pick your battles. Do they need to be washed today? Or, are you a little too sleep-deprived to think straight? Nap when you can, Momma. It’s important.
2 DISCUSS YOUR FEELINGS
No matter how you feel, it’s important to speak with someone when it gets a little overwhelming. Thankfully the stigma of professional therapy and medication is dying out: it’s far more common than we may believe; however, it’s important to have a trusted loved one to open up to when the going gets tough.
Whether you are seeking medical, professional help to ease the stress of the new lifestyle you’ve brought on, it’s important to still have that go-to, trusted person who you can open up to. You’re not doing this alone- no matter how isolated you may feel sometimes. There are ways to better this experience. You just need to be open-minded and trust that you are loved.
1 DON’T CANCEL DATE NIGHT
Whether you are healing in bed from a traumatic birth or walking within days, it’s important to keep date night well and alive. Now, if you are a single parent with an older child or a friends near-by, we don’t mean for date night to necessarily be romantic! This is some well-deserved adult time.
If this means laying in bed while feeding each other take-out pizza or going to the closest coffee shop for some adult conversation, date night needs to stay alive and well. It’s just as important to keep a schedule for yourself as it is for your new baby. Don’t forget about you, momma.