Let me tell you a little about the third trimester. When you’re just weeks away from having your baby, you’re just … over it.
Your muscles hurt, you can’t sleep, and you have to answer the “When are you due?” question on an hourly basis. You’re lucky if you don’t have people touch your stomach without asking. It’s miserable. Even if you try to take a relaxing bath to practice some self-care, relaxation never happens.
But then you see your baby and happen to forget the aches and pains. You chalk up the sleepless nights as practice for what’s to come. Nobody in the world has conquered a full night of sleep with a newborn around.
Even if the baby is sleeping soundly, you’re not. You’re too busy glued to the monitor, zooming in on their tiny bodies to make sure they’re still breathing.
Suffice to say, there’s rarely a good time for a mom to relax. While pregnancy aches and pains may dissipate, things will be hectic for a while. Sure, they’ll get easier — but actually having a moment to yourself is rare. Sometimes, when the opportunity actually strikes, you end up feeling guilty for taking it.
If you’ve reached that point, you’re obviously not giving yourself any time to unwind throughout the day. Here are ways to incorporate self-care into your mom routine, which will help remind you that every good mom needs some time to themselves to recharge.
Make sure to lotion up yourself when you put lotion on your baby.
Photo by Brandless on Unsplash
It’s important to make sure your baby’s skin is hydrated, but this is a step that you, yourself, may have forgotten about in order to make time for other things in your life. Everyday Health points out plenty of reasons why lotion is important in skin care. It helps replenish any rough spots you have on your skin — especially in the winter. But it also helps keep you relaxed.
Designate set times where you're on your own.
Your partner should be helping you, but some days, it can feel like all of the work is falling on you. Set out a schedule that allows you time to get out of the house. Make Thursday nights and all day Sunday your day to just take a break. If your partner complains or “doesn’t know what to do,” remember that you never got your parenthood manual but managed to figure it out just fine. Don’t let anyone put guilt on you. You deserve time apart from your baby.
Get your nails painted.
Photo by Analia Baggiano on Unsplash
A pedicure or manicure can make you feel like gold. Every month, make sure you book one in advance. Put it on all of the calendars, and don’t talk yourself out of going. It’ll be only about an hour out of your day at max, and you’ll feel a lot better afterward. If you really want to challenge yourself, pick out a fun color that you’ve always wanted to try but never felt confident enough. If you can give birth to a baby, you can have lime green toenails.
If your friends have kids, schedule a weekly playdate.
Even if your friends have kids, sometimes it’s still hard to catch up. Socialization with people outside of your family will ease your spirits. With a set date on the schedule, you’ll be able to catch up, relax, and know there are extra eyes on your child while they’re learning how to socialize. You’ll also be able to share war stories. Motherhood rarely looks like the professional photo shoots that parents share on Facebook.
Have a meditation session the second your kid falls asleep.
If you own a device that uses Alexa, you can practice guided meditations through that — just ask her. Most last less than 10 minutes and can help ease your mind. If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, it’s the perfect reset. And if you’re in the middle of a toddler sleep regression, you may need it to avoid a meltdown later tonight.
Make smoothies for you and your toddler every morning.
If they’re fruity, your toddler will love them. Even better, you’ll be able to hide spinach in there and they’ll have no idea. When you’ve nourished your body, you’ll feel better. Even though you may think that a pile of nachos might be the best way to self-care, it’s really taking the time out to ensure your body has everything it needs to stay calm and happy. Nachos are delicious and definitely have their purpose in your diet, but … not for self-care.
Make a point to walk around the neighborhood every day if you're using a stroller.
On warm days, it’s a great idea to take some time and get some fresh air with your child. Just make sure that you have everything you need on hand in order to avoid any sort of meltdown — some water, a pacifier if your child requires one, and some portable snacks are a great way to make sure you can lengthen your journey. Use this time to catch up on a podcast. Just remember to slather some SPF on both of you before heading out.
Get to sleep on time, if not earlier than normal.
If you’re breastfeeding or you have a new baby, you’ll probably be up at 3. That means that going to bed at 8 makes a lot of sense. It might seem strange to compare your time schedule now to what it was just a decade ago, but face it: You’re a new person, and you need to sleep to feel your best. Also, make sure you’re not the only parent waking up in the middle of the night. Having a schedule that you both follow every night is key in making sure the first year goes smoothly.