It's Happy Hump day, where I share valuable information for those who are in the same place as I am: knocked up! I will also share tips and info for postpartum mamas, as we are in very similar territory. Pregnancy is much like the postpartum realm in that our bodies, minds and hearts are still evolving. I aim to help women keep their bodies and their minds a priority even when we are tired, feeling physically awkward and emotionally drained. You need and deserve to feel the best that you can, and I'm here for you. I understand what a constant struggle it is to juggle it all.
Week one was about immune boosting. This week I will share with you how I go about managing my sanity. Managing stress levels is tough, and I suspect many mammas struggle with this too, and rightfully so! Life is very different from what it used to be. Remember life before you decided to become a human maker? The ease of walking into a coffee shop, ordering whatever, paying, then leaving while sipping a cup of something lovely. The ease of staying an extra 40 minutes after work to chat and chew the fat with coworkers about nothing and everything important. The ease of walking around with a purse that suited the occasion and the outfit. The ease of meeting your partner at a bar for a couple of drinks for fun on any given Tuesday. The ease... in general. Go ahead and think about it for a while if you wish; I just did and it was very pleasing.
Now, most days have a reeeeaaaaal sense of urgency.
You know the sense of urgency I'm talking about? Your frantic brain processing 7 to 23 different tasks at once, phone in hand to reference the time, heart pounding: what did I forget? How am I going to get a chance to pick up dinner? I thought I was so much EARLIER THAN THIS?! Why does my hair look like i just got caught in a street brawl? How I can maximize my time so I can get as much done with my clients, housework, cooking, friends, family etc. as possible?!
You need to manage the frenzy so the frenzy doesn't manage you.
I will now share with you 4 things I do to prioritize my own sanity! Learning to prioritize my own needs makes me a better Mama and I suspect it will for you too.
Most postnatal Moms in the 4th trimester and beyond aim to "get back" to their "normal" bodies again. The (sad) truth is that we actually can never go back again. It's impossible to go back! The good news is that we can move forward, with the plan to feel better, stronger and smarter than we were before. After I had my daughter, I just didn't feel like myself. My body was different in so many unpleasant ways. I felt stuck and confused and quite frankly very unsexy. It takes time to relearn the norms of your bod again, especially if you've had a handful of confusing postpartum issues. Women don't talk about it enough, or at all. We also probably just wish everything unpleasant would fade away. So now I make it a priority to exercise at least 3 days a week. I have decided to NOT JUDGE myself if I don't have much time or energy for this, because I know that ANY exercise is good exercise and helps to make me stronger and MUCH less stressed. Anything goes (I talked about this in my last post). Walking, biking, jogging, whatever! If you are having a hard time with scheduling - find a friend! I can guarantee you there is someone out there who needs someone to take a walk with. You get to talk, gossip, laugh... it won't even feel like exercise! My time at the gym is the time when I am alone, I am getting in touch with how my body actually feels, and I am usually working a few things out in my head. It's a win, win, win.
Two: Put ENOUGH time aside.
Running errands, shopping for food, returning or buying that sweater, dropping off clothing at the cleaners.... all that running around you do. BE REALISTIC when you schedule these things. Even with how long it takes to get your hair done so you aren't running down the street with wet hair, rushing and sweating to relieve your baby sitter. Stop running Mama. Unless you have your sneakers on and you are literally going for a run- make sure you leave enough time to get things accomplished. You deserve to leave yourself an extra half hour so your heart doesn't have to be in your chest. Breathe, and try and plan accordingly.
Three: Who's vacuuming?
REGARDLESS if you are pregnant or postpartum- if you find that keeping up with the needs of your home is making you stressed out and crazy- get help. Who can help you with your home? Perhaps you will hire someone once a week, twice a month or even one time a month to do the big stuff (deep clean bathrooms, vacuum, mop floors, do some laundry, etc.) This will be money well spent. OR perhaps you can sit down with your parter to give him or her a better idea of what you are going through. You can say: Boo, I need your help, I'm about to jump in front of a bus. Would you mind washing the toilets and doing all the folding each week till I am up to it again? Or maybe you can ask a family member for help? I know whenever my MIL asks me if there is anything she can do, I say... YES! Truth- I had to learn to let someone help me, and I also had to learn to ask for the help I needed. Have a sit down this week with those who support you to be honest about your needs in this department. Below is my favorite explanation of the whole process! Thank you Carol Channing.
Four: Put it in the cal
Especially postpartum Mamas: if you don't schedule it, it won't get done. Sex. Cooking. Filing. Walking. Laughing. I HATE to be this unsexy about day-to-day life, but getting things done is far too important to me to wait around for the EASE to come back. That ease is long gone. Try scheduling your whole day for 3 full days. Schedule your shower, gym time, meeting a friend for a cup of coffee... if it's important to you, put it in the cal. Doing this will actually help you MANAGE THE FRENZY! You may even end up with extra time.
To conclude: Life when you are pregnant or postpartum is just not easy. I have shared what has helped me, but you are your own Mama. The best thing you can do is to find ways to reduce stress through prioritizing your own needs. It took me a while to get the hang of it, and I still struggle with it weekly, because that is the nature of the beast. Start small and take steps towards your goals. I believe in you!
Tip for preggies:
Tip for postpartum mamas:
How to prioritize yourself this week:
I think this whole article is about making yourself a priority, but there IS one more thing I will add. I often run into Mamas who apologize a lot, for everything. Notice when the words I'm sorry come up for you, and if you feel they are truly merited. I'd love to hear if some of you get caught apologizing for things that are rather just the way life is. I'm sorry we are late, I'm sorry this didn't come out the way I wanted it to, I'm sorry I'm under dressed....
You are enough. You are enough. You are perfect and doing your best.
Thanks for reading, and being awesome.