Having a Motherhood Identity Crisis?

Having a Motherhood Identity Crisis?

Becoming a mother for the first (or second, third, fourth, five…) time is life-changing and beautiful, but it can also lead to a motherhood identity crisis.

People say your life is over when you have children.

I tried to deny it. I tried to fight it. I tried to pretend like everything was mostly the same. That I was the same person with the same hopes and the same dreams.

But I wasn’t, and I’m happy about that.

Who wants to be the same person for their entire life? Is that what life is about? Stasis? Sameness? Surely not.

Just a quick look around the world and you will notice that the one thing that is constant is change. Seasons come and go. Friends (and family) come and go. Relationships come and go. Pets come and go. Stores come and go.

If you live in an area as I do, every fall the leaves turn the most beautiful shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown then fall off the trees whirling their way in the wind to the ground. We go through the barrenness of winter with the distractions of the holiday season but soon the cold sinks into your bones until you year for the freshness of spring and the heat of summer.

 

Change, good or bad, is a necessity. There isn’t even a choice in the matter for us mere mortals. The best we can do is adapt and go along for the ride.

The same is true for becoming a parent and learning to evolve into the person you are meant to be after that tiny human(s) comes into your life.

The story of motherhood is truly about learning to surrender to nature, and being able to ride the waves of life that come at you. Your identity cracks and crumbles then blows away like dust in the wind.

The new you remembers that girl inside of you. A piece of her is still there, but she’s a backup singer and not the lead vocalist anymore. There’s a new voice, a new soul, and a new person inside of the body that has also been permanently changed through carrying and birthing a child(ren).

You become someone who is different and in some ways less, but most ways, so much more. You grow and become stronger. A more developed and evolved human. Someone who is more secure in her skin, and knows her place in the world.

But there are growing pains.

There’s a period of time where you don’t know what is happening. It’s like transition during birth. You don’t know if you can even go on. Surely you can’t do it. It’s too much. Your grip on reality even seems to fade in and out. You’re in your own little world, but that world doesn’t look anything like it used to.

As your old self blows away in the wind, you try to grasp it. You reach for it, but it slips through your fingers. It’s disconcerting, to say the least.

You’re in this in-between space where your old identity is gone, but the new one is yet to emerge completely. You might have a small sense that something new is coming. A new you is forming but hasn’t fully taken shape yet. That’s the motherhood identity crisis.

And guess what? It doesn’t happen just once. It happens over and over again throughout your life. When you go from one child to more than one, and then with each little milestone your child has you have some small internal milestone that is almost unnoticeable. But as they grow, you grow.

 

The trick is to learn to not try to hold on. Yes, you grasp tightly to those little moments when you feel the joy exploding out of your heart as you hold their little bodies as they sleep, or when they say “mama” for the first time, or when the sound out their first word in a book. But holding onto this little moments is not the same as holding on to who you think you are.

Allowing ourselves to grow without holding too strongly to who we used to be is just as essential as how we allow our children to grow without being too overbearing.

So if you’re in the middle of a motherhood identity crisis, just hold one. It gets better. Then it gets worse. Then it gets better again. One day you will feel like you even if it’s a new you.

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Self-Care Basics: Self-Care for Moms That Works. (Part 2: What the hell is sleep?)

Self-Care Basics: Self-Care for Moms That Works. (Part 2: What the hell is sleep?)

Self-care doesn’t need to take up lots of time or money. The key to self-care practices that work is to stick with practical and simple self-care, focusing on self-care basics.

I was inspired by this article in Motherly to talk about how my concept of simple self-care, while in practice isn’t really revolutionary, has completely changed that I think about self-care. Instead of making big plans, let’s get back to self-care basics.

 

In Part 1 of this series on simple self-care and self-care basics, I talked you through my decision-making process and what it took for me to get to a place where I finally took my own self-care seriously. The thing about it was that I was in a place both physically and mentally where I couldn’t indulge in any fancy routines. Nope. That’s why this is basic. It’s self-care that is actually doable AND makes a difference in the long run.

The teeny and seemingly insignificant change that I decided to make, which would incorporate even just a token amount of self-care into my life was to start taking a vitamin first thing in the morning and drinking a glass of water.

Once this new little habit was part of my daily life, I started thinking about other small and practical things I could do every day to help my health and mood. So I made a list of what I knew would make me feel better on a physical and emotional level. Things that would help fuel me and fortify me for the draining and challenging task of… being a mom.

The list of additional habits I wanted to cultivate started to get pretty long, but I was able to widdle it down to a few things that were totally doable. These focused mostly on my sleep, exercise, diet, and mindset/spirituality.

But this basically narrowed down to two main buckets of topics that I needed to focus on to tend to my needs. My body and soul.

The first I decided to tackle was my body.

Ah, this body. Something I have had love and hatred for throughout my life. From loving my new and fairly large breasts as a teenager because of the attention they got me, to hating those same breasts as a teenager because there was only ONE kind of attention they got me.

Then being a 32-year-old mom whose current breasts are being fully used for their intended purpose in milk production, but don’t look quite as close to the societal standard of what breasts “should” look like anymore. (Hello sagginess.)

Not to mention the constant nagging voice in my head talking about how I’m not thin enough, and each bit of cellulite on my ass and thighs made me just a little bit less lovable and worthy as a human being.

When I first started thinking about self-care as a mom after I had my first child over four years ago, I had a much different approach. Back then I was mostly thinking of it as superfluous and something to add as a bonus to my life instead of something essential to fuel my life.

The idea of working out or eating better was about trying to mold my body into what I (society) thought was acceptable. This meant that exercising or dieting was a penance for my lack of perfection instead of something I did just for me no matter the external outcomes.

I decided it was time to change that. This time it would be about doing what is right for ME, not other people, not society, and not a partner.

This time I vowed to favor practicality in my decisionmaking, which is why I chose to focus on my sleep, exercise, and diet.

(Though I was specifically not interested in a “diet,” but rather just a focus on filling up with super good foods for as much energy as possible… if some cake or chips slipped in there, so be it.)

I did NOT come up with random and arbitrary goals. I created goals that I could create habits around, and I knew these choices would actually feel better based on my own personal experience mixed with science.

So let’s dive right into the first self-care basics goal I set for myself. Next time I’ll get into exercise and diet, but for now… let’s talk sleep! Something that isn’t super sexy or revolutionary, but incredibly necessary.

Let’s talk about the overtired elephant in the bedroom for moms. Sleep.

Eight hours of sleep is like the quest for the Holy Grail for moms, but I decided to take on the challenge anyway. As a mom whose twins still do not regularly sleep through the night I know it seemed like a Herculean task, but it turned out to be super simple and hinge on just one thing.

In order to get those eight hours of sleep, I needed to actually be in bed for around 10 hours every single night. Since my kids usually wake up between 6am-7pm, that meant I needed to be in bed by 9 pm every night.

Why 10 hours in bed? Because chances are I would have to be up for at least one cumulative hour each night. If I am in bed for 10 hours then I will likely end up getting 8-9 hours of sleep.

I know. This might sound extreme. It’s so tempting to get in your Netflix binges or other adulting during the late hours of the day/night, but I found that by ensuring I skipped those evening indulgences I could be better rested the next day.

Being more rested during the day meant I was more productive, got more done, and then had more energy to actually enjoy the adult indulgences I DID have, perhaps while my kids were napping or watching their own Disney Junior TV binges on rainy days.

While I do cherish this early bedtime for myself, I make exceptions because life happens.

For example, this a few Saturdays ago I stayed up until around 11 pm because my daughter was happily playing with the neighbor kids until late into the night as their mom and I drank wine. So I totally let that bedtime slip because summer fun sometimes takes precedence. But the fact that at least 6 of 7 days a week I stick pretty closely to my self-imposed bedtime, I can handle the occasional late night.

Then this last Saturday, my bestie cousin and I went to the Ren Faire (yes we are nerds and we totally dressed up). It was our mom night away. So we stayed up until the super late hours of around 11pm again. Yeah we are party animals.

I hope the point you get here is that you don’t have to be dogmatic or stuck in stone with the choices you make. You CAN have some flexibility. Rules were meant to be broken.

BUT if everyone broke the rules all the time our world would be chaos.

The same goes for our own worlds. We can bend or break rules we create for our own well-being from time to time, but if we totally ignore self-care basics forever… we’re gonna be on the fast track to a hot mess express.

Our bodies are how we navigate this world.

They are our home. They are the place we reside. They are also our car. The vehicle that gets us to where we need to go.

Just like your car, you need to make sure it has gas and periodically the oil is changed, tires rotated, inspected, etc. Let’s at least take as good a care of our bodies as we do with our car. We can’t trade it in when we want a new one, unfortunately.

I have had to accept that this is the body I am stuck with. There are some awesome part and some not so awesome parts. Like being short… It’s cute and all, but reaching the top shelves is a bitch…

In the next installment of this series on self-care basics I get deeper into how and why I have (at least somewhat) learned to accept my body and truly become body positive when it comes to how I feel about myself and my body.

But for now, let’s just accept on face value that our body deserves the same, if not more attention, than a car or even our home?

Like our car or our home, we CAN delay or ignore the general maintenance that is needed for some time. We can skip cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes for a night because we are running late for a hot date with our partner. Maybe we can delay our oil change for a couple of weeks because life is really busy right now.

Eventually, those delays will catch up with us. (Take it from someone who forgot to get an oil change for like 6 months then had to drop $3k on an entirely new engine the good ole Kia. Yep. It was me.)

So it is from this angle that I have approached not just my sleep situation, but my entire view of my body. There IS an aspect of my body that I view as beautiful, sexy, hot, voluptuous, and more.

But this view of my body is a new perspective, and it is one of utility.

That is why we are starting with a discussion of sleep. This is the place it all seems to begin for us moms. All our poor decisions and lack of self-care begin and end with our lack of sleep.

Like it says in that Motherly article I mentioned before, the deficit we have in terms of missing sleep is often so huge that we could sleep for years and never catch up.

The advice I am trying to fulfill is one as old as parenting it seems, and that is the “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

As I mentioned earlier, I try to be in bed by 9 pm because that is what ensures that I get a solid 8 hours of sleep in. This has been the case since my kids were newborns, especially my twins! Imagine getting up double in the night. It was surprisingly easier than I anticipated because of the fact that when it was bedtime, I literally went to bed with them.

Side Note: Discussions on bedsharing are a whole other topic, but suffice to say that after consistently falling asleep with my first child during night time feedings in a rocking chair, which is statistically less safe than bedsharing, I brought her to bed (with some safety precautions). I never looked back, and then decided to just have a family bed with all kids cuddling me each night.

Whether you literally go to bed WITH your children, or you just go to your own separate bed at the same time as your children is not really the point.

The point is that you are in a bed for a pretty large chunk of time.

With my twins, I went to bed with them at around 7 pm in the early days. My then 3-year-old came along too. We would eat snacks in bed and watch TV for an hour or so until we drifted off to sleep too.

Then I would usually be up around 10pm, 12am, 2pm, 4am, and 6am, or something like that. But as I said before, I would usually get a cumulative 8 hours of sleep or more.

There were, of course, days then and days now when I wake up exhausted, but they are few and far between. In fact, I wake up with more energy now that I did before I was a mom going to bed at 11 pm-12 am each night and not waking up until 8-9 am.

This isn’t going to be equally easy for everyone. Some moms don’t have a partner to lean on like I do. All those nights when I went to be at 7pm? My husband was up cleaning. I have a cushy situation here where I have a partner, and he actually helps me co-parent plus take care of the home.

Some moms work night shift and then take over childcare as soon as they get off. Life is tough sometimes, and more sleep is a luxury that literally isn’t available to some moms. Even focusing on self-care basics is hard for some moms.

But I will challenge most of you to look at your time in the evenings and see if you go to bed just a *little* earlier. Is that extra 15 minutes (or 2 hours) of scrolling Facebook really worth it?

And if you have hobbies or valuable time you spend in the evening with your partner, how can you optimize that time? Like instead of hanging with your partner for an hour watching TV every night, can you go to bed earlier and then have a legit date one night a week?

Just think about it. See how you can actually do that old and tired, but still true, saying about sleeping when the baby (or kids) sleep.

What’s Next?

When we talk about our body and what it needs, besides sleep, we need to feed it and exercise it, focusing on self-care basics.

So in the next edition of this little series, I’ll talk about the diet and exercise changes I made that have helped me stop GAINING weight and lose almost 10 pounds so far without really trying.

But this isn’t about weight in terms of feeling crappy about my belly being a little too chubby according to unattainable beauty standards. Which of course is always something I’m working on. The feeling happy and loving with the body I have… not trying to reach unattainable and useless societal standards.

This is about losing that extra bit of weight that just mades you feel uncomfortable and bloaty. Ya know when you can still fit in all your clothes, but they just feel pinchy and weird? That’s what I mean here.

There were just a few simple self-care changes I made to the way I eat and move my body that have had a huge impact! Can’t wait to share more self-care basics.

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My Firstborn Turns 5 Tomorrow, and I Can’t Handle It

My Firstborn Turns 5 Tomorrow, and I Can’t Handle It

On November 24, 2014, at 6:54 am I became a mom for the first time. My daughter came into the world screaming with eyes so dark they were black and just a little bit of hair that would turn into the perfect ringlet curls. A fierce little girl who knows what she wants...

Can’t Sleep While Pregnant? Steal My Pregnant Sleep Routine.

Can’t Sleep While Pregnant? Steal My Pregnant Sleep Routine.

Pregnancy is NOT the most comfortable time in your life, and that can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s normal if you can’t sleep while pregnant, but there are some hacks you can try to catch a few more zzz’s. Of course, I'm not a medical professional....

Resilience for Kids. Why I’m Teaching My Kids How to Fail.

Resilience for Kids. Why I’m Teaching My Kids How to Fail.

The older I get, the more I believe the key to happiness and success is being willing to fail. This doesn't mean you have to seek out failure, but rather it's about learning how to fail in a way that propels you forward and helps you learn. I grew up a smart kid. I...

Steal These Gift Ideas. My Kids Christmas List This Year.

Steal These Gift Ideas. My Kids Christmas List This Year.

Feeling overwhelmed with filling out your kids Christmas list this year? Use my list for my 2-year-olds and 5-year-old as inspiration Despite my best attempts to keep things to a minimum when writing my kids Christmas list, I went a little overboard with Christmas the...

Gratitude for Kids: Teaching Whiney Kids to Be Grateful

Gratitude for Kids: Teaching Whiney Kids to Be Grateful

Ever have one of those days when your 4-year-old whines and complains one too many times, and you think maybe you've totally failed and your kid is 100% spoiled? Me too. That's why I started diving into ways to teach gratitude for kids. Your little angel turning into...

How to Put Yourself First When You’re a Mom

How to Put Yourself First When You’re a Mom

Moms do it all. Supermoms. Take care of everyone and all their needs. There's just one thing moms aren't so great at it... it's learning how to put yourself first when you're a mom. How often do you pine for some alone time, but then it never quite pans out how you...

3 Simple Ways to Be a Mindful Mom

3 Simple Ways to Be a Mindful Mom

It is so easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out as a mom, am I right? The easiest way to combat it is to become more present and a more mindful mom to ditch the stress and chill the F out. What does it even mean to be a mindful mom? Glad you asked. Let's talk about...

6 Types of Self Care Moms Need to Know About

6 Types of Self Care Moms Need to Know About

Did you know there are different types of self care? Yeah... me neither. But identifying them is actually REALLY important to understand how to take care of your whole being. There are 6 types of self-care, in general. Some will claim 5, and some 7, but for me, this...

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Been counting down the days the end of pregnancy to finally pop a bottle of your fav rosé and celebrate? But you might be wondering, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, we have your answer. There's a lot of misinformation about consuming alcohol while...

3 Keys to Create a Daily Routine with Kids for Less Stress

3 Keys to Create a Daily Routine with Kids for Less Stress

I used to fly by the seat of my pants. No schedule, no rhythm, no routine. But when I switched to a consistent daily routine with kids, my life got so much easier. Any seasoned mom will tell you a daily routine with kids is really important. I had a somewhat loose...

What Are STEM toys? The Coolest Gifts for Kids.

What Are STEM toys? The Coolest Gifts for Kids.

Looking for the coolest gifts for kids that are also educational? I have the answer. Let's talk about what are STEM toys and why they rock! First, let's get a handle on what are stem toys exactly, and then we will talk about some awesome examples of STEM toys for...

Should Moms Stop Complaining About SAHM Life?

Should Moms Stop Complaining About SAHM Life?

Gratitude in and for this SAHM life (stay-at-home-mom life), has been on my mind for a while as I navigate my own ship through motherhood, but today I came across something that put it on full blast. Today I was nursing a toddler back to sleep and naturally googling...

15 Perfect First Time Mom Christmas Gifts

15 Perfect First Time Mom Christmas Gifts

Trying to find the perfect first time mom Christmas gifts? This list has you covered! These mom-approved gifts are all available on Amazon, affordable, and would be so welcomed by any mama as the first time mom Christmas gifts. As I sat down to curate this list I...

I Love My Boring MomLife

I Love My Boring MomLife

It's taken me years to truly embrace it, but the older I get the more I settle into motherhood and absolutely love my boring momlife. Today was one of those days when nothing super notable happened, but it just highlights the realities of my life right now and why I...

How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids

How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids

Capturing those picture-perfect moments with kids can be so challenging. That's why I asked professional photographers for their best tips on how to take better photos of your kids. Tired of the pictures your snap of your kids coming out blurry, dark, or just... meh?...

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

Breastfeeding twins has been major accomplishment. I have reached my goal of nursing twins for two full years. This is what helped me get there. The odds are stacked against many moms when they start their journey of breastfeeding twins, but after recently reaching...

How to Feel Sexy Again After Having Babies

How to Feel Sexy Again After Having Babies

In a bit of a rut and wanting to figure out how to feel sexy again after having babies? Let's talk about how to reconnect with your body and soul to feel sexy ASAP. It's totally normal to have a sex slump after kids. I mean, if you gave birth, there's a period of time...

What Having a Boy Taught Me About Self-Love

What Having a Boy Taught Me About Self-Love

While the bond I have with my daughter is priceless, it was having a boy that taught me about self-love. You see I love my daughter every ounce as much as my sons, but as a woman, I know what difficulties she will probably face growing up today as a girl. Having the...

The Fear of Loss in Motherhood

The Fear of Loss in Motherhood

Trigger Warning: infant/pregnancy loss One night during my first pregnancy I just felt off. My back was bothering me. I felt crampy. Just not myself. I took at a long hot shower and felt just a little better, and went back to bed.  It wasn’t until I woke up at 2am to...

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack for Hospital Birth

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack for Hospital Birth

Not sure what to pack for hospital birth? These are the absolute essentials to add to your hospital bag checklist! We're just sharing the absolute musts that moms say they are glad they added to their hospital bag checklist before the baby came. Trying to think of...

30 Day Gratitude Challenge and Gratitude Prompts

30 Day Gratitude Challenge and Gratitude Prompts

Practicing gratitude is a proven way to increase happiness, and gratitude challenge is an awesome way to get into the habit of appreciating all you have. These 30 days of gratitude prompts that will help you kick off a gratitude challenge so you can make journaling...

Gifts for Moms Who Don’t Want Anything

Gifts for Moms Who Don’t Want Anything

It is so frustrating shopping for gifts for moms who don't want anything, isn't it? But even if she proclaims she doesn't need a thing, there are gifts for moms who don't want anything that are exactly what they need! This year, get the mom in your life something that...

Screw Instagram. The Messy Reality of Being a Mom

Screw Instagram. The Messy Reality of Being a Mom

Letterboards with the perfect quotes held by pristinely made-up moms with mombuns that defy gravity. Children who wear bonnets for God's sake, and don't rip it off the second it touches their scalp. Kitchens that look like Joanna Gaines designed them and then stayed...

3 Ways Moms Can Embrace Their Inner Witch

3 Ways Moms Can Embrace Their Inner Witch

Maybe we've just seen Hocus Pocus one too many times, but tons of millennial moms are learning to channel their inner Witch. A lot of moms are tapping into that inner Witch power without even realizing it. Perhaps it's partly an aesthetic choice (cause witchy vibes...

My Mom Morning Routine with 3 Kids Under 5

My Mom Morning Routine with 3 Kids Under 5

Need to revamp your mom morning routine with kids? I did too. After being stressed all the time, I decided to cultivate a more peaceful morning vibe, and so far it's working. My mom morning routine with kids has never been something I structured much. I am a very go...

When Your Birth Plan Changes

When Your Birth Plan Changes

Birth is complicated, and it's so common for your birth plan to changes. But the fact that curveballs are bound to come your way during birth is the biggest reason you NEED a birth plan. When I was pregnant with my first, I had an extremely detailed birth plan, and...

Products to Help Baby Sleep Through the Night

Products to Help Baby Sleep Through the Night

Sleepless nights are rough, and as a new mom they can drag on for so long! But you don't have to sleep train to help baby sleep through the night. Moms swear by these products for baby sleep. Before we dive into ways to help baby sleep through the night, let's get...

No More Mean Mommy: Ditch the Mom Anger & be a Peaceful Mom

No More Mean Mommy: Ditch the Mom Anger & be a Peaceful Mom

Looking to find the peaceful mom inside of you, but keep getting caught up in the mom anger, turning you into a mean mommy instead? We've all had our moments, but there are ways to cool off and get recentered, we just need the right tools. Mom anger can creep up...

The Joy of Motherhood and Sacrifice of Motherhood

The Joy of Motherhood and Sacrifice of Motherhood

Motherhood is something that is inexplicable and the joy of motherhood even more so. Forget the stretch marks. The girl’s nights out you plan but never actually do. The way you pee your pants a little with even the slightest sneeze. Forget the sleepless nights. The...

Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

Going back to work after maternity leave can be so hard, but having the right supplies for pumping at work can help smooth out the process a little. Prepping with the best supplies for pumping at work before getting back into the swing of things in the working work...

11 Latching Tips for Breastfeeding if Baby Won’t Latch

11 Latching Tips for Breastfeeding if Baby Won’t Latch

Baby won't latch, or won't latch comfortably? These latching tips for breastfeeding are a great place to start troubleshooting your latch. After breastfeeding my kids for a combined 6+ years, I'm sharing my best latching tips for breastfeeding so you can get a good...

10 Must-Read Mom Blogs with Tips for New Moms

10 Must-Read Mom Blogs with Tips for New Moms

If you're feeling overwhelmed by all those tips for new moms on all the mom blogs, this is for you. Here are 10 awesome blog posts from mom blogs I found to help you get started on your journey to becoming a new mama, with the best tips for new moms. Learn the old...

I’m Tired of Being a Stressed Out Mom

I’m Tired of Being a Stressed Out Mom

I never expected to fulfill the stressed out mom stereotype. The picture in my mind was of an earth goddess mama who was super zen and could calm any nerves with a whiff of some essential oils... but I was so wrong. I'm the stressed out mom even though my life is...

Peek Inside Our Montessori Style Playroom

Peek Inside Our Montessori Style Playroom

Keeping three kids entertained all day is rough, but since moving towards a Montessori style playroom, it is much simpler. Montessori style education was created by Maria Montessori in the early 1900's, and is still super popular today. I am by no means an expert in...

Tired of Tampons? Time to Use a Menstrual Cup

Tired of Tampons? Time to Use a Menstrual Cup

On the fence about whether you're ready to use a menstrual cup? Here's why I made the switch and never looked back! It can be a bit intimidating when you start thinking about if you want to use a menstrual cup, but once you get into it, it turns out to be so simple...

Minimalism with Kids: Small Changes for a Big Impact

Minimalism with Kids: Small Changes for a Big Impact

If you're drowning in clutter and ready to make a change towards minimalism with kids, this one is for you. Minimalism with kids IS possible, and with a few small tweaks, you can get started on the path. What is minimalism? It's doing with less so you can live a...

Sex After Kids: Tips to Get Your Freak on More

Sex After Kids: Tips to Get Your Freak on More

facebookinstagrampinterest s witHaving sex after kids can be a little tricky, and many people find that they are just not getting it in like they used to. Healing postpartum, busy schedules, the sheer exhaustion of having kids, and more can all lead to parents having...

I’m That Mom Who Doesn’t Know How to Be Alone

I’m That Mom Who Doesn’t Know How to Be Alone

I used to laugh at those moms who said they wouldn't know what to do with alone time if they got... and now I'm one of them. After years of being waist-deep in diapers and breastmilk, my cousin and I decided to implement a quarterly moms' night away. So this morning I...

How to Survive Disney World with Toddlers

How to Survive Disney World with Toddlers

Some people might think I'm a few bricks short of a load for deciding to go to Disney World with Toddlers. That's toddlers plural, not a single toddler, but somehow I made the trek with my twin toddlers and preschooler, and we survived! (and loved it) Before I just...

Mom Shaming Sucks. Let’s Choose Mom Love Instead.

Mom Shaming Sucks. Let’s Choose Mom Love Instead.

As much as mom shaming is going on between moms, maybe it's mostly going on internally... What if we chose mom love for ourselves in the form of self-love, and then extended that to all mothers instead of mom shaming? A few days after I gave birth to my twins,...

My Twin Birth Story (Hospital Induction, No Epidural)

My Twin Birth Story (Hospital Induction, No Epidural)

My twin boys just turned 2 today, and it felt like the right time to share my twin birth story. This is the twin birth story of Sebastian Charles and Maximus James. When I found out I was pregnant in Early 2017, I was so excited to plan a totally natural water birth....

10 Time-Saving Productivity Tools for Moms

10 Time-Saving Productivity Tools for Moms

Are you a mama in need of some productivity tools so you can do #allthethings? These are my 10 favorites. One of the biggest challenges for moms is time. We don't have enough of it! So I've compiled my favorite time-saving products, and productivity tools for busy...

4 Month Sleep Regression: Baby Becomes a Demon

4 Month Sleep Regression: Baby Becomes a Demon

The 4 month sleep regression is one of the most dreaded phases of parenting. You've finally gotten the hang of this parenting thing, you think it's all smooth sailing, and then the 4 month sleep regression steps in to knock you off your parenting pedestal. It's...

Being Fat and Loving it Instead of Judging Myself

Being Fat and Loving it Instead of Judging Myself

I decided it's time to embrace being fat. I’ve tried accepting my new mombod. I’ve tried changing it. I’ve tried to love it for giving me babies and nourishing them. But what if I try something new and lean into being fat? What if instead of loving myself and my body...

Why is How Often Moms Shower a Hot Topic?

Why is How Often Moms Shower a Hot Topic?

I shared a heartfelt post on Facebook about the sacrifices and joys of being a mom, but what caught a lot of attention was a debate on how often moms shower. We joke about it, but it's usually true that moms shower less than non-moms, especially during those early...

Fourth Trimester: How One Mom Helps New Moms Thrive Postpartum

Fourth Trimester: How One Mom Helps New Moms Thrive Postpartum

There are so many ways in which modern society does not fully support new moms, especially during postpartum. So one mom decided to do something about it. When Lisa Chin began her journey of entrepreneurship, she thought about what she would pursue even if she didn't...

How to Make a Baby: Get Pregnant Faster

How to Make a Baby: Get Pregnant Faster

There's more to how to make a baby than the good old birds and bees talk you got as an adolescent. Many adults have knowledge gaps when it comes to trying to conceive, so let's fill them in so you can get pregnant faster. Have you been doing it like rabbits for months...

Things to Do With Toddlers to Beat Boredom

Things to Do With Toddlers to Beat Boredom

Running out of ideas of things to do with toddlers? Sometimes we get into a slump as kids grow and need to come up with new activities for toddlers as they grow. These toddler and mom-approved things to do with toddlers at home will stimulate their developing bodies...

Must-Try Foods for Picky Toddlers They’ll Actually Eat

Must-Try Foods for Picky Toddlers They’ll Actually Eat

If you're trying to get your little one to be more adventurous with their eating, these foods for picky toddlers are a great place to start! We all know what it's like to slave over a delicious and nutritious meal only for our little ones to push it away and stick...

Creating a Baby Registry on Amazon

Creating a Baby Registry on Amazon

The best thing new parents can do when shopping for their bundle of joy is creating a baby registry on Amazon. In this post we will talk about all the pro's and con's of creating a baby registry on Amazon and how to do it. But first, let's talk about what a baby...

Gratitude is the Attitude Moms Need + How to Get it

Gratitude is the Attitude Moms Need + How to Get it

Gratitude is the attitude many of us WANT to cultivate as a mom, but we have so much on our minds, and sometimes remembering how much we have to appreciate and be grateful for gets put on the backburner. While gratitude is the attitude we know we *should* be focusing...

What is Self-Care for Moms, and Why is it Important?

What is Self-Care for Moms, and Why is it Important?

Self-care for moms is more important than for most other people on the planet. Being a mom is like having 2.5 jobs, and a lot of us have jobs on top of that! When will we take self-care for moms seriously? There are countless memes about how moms are exhausted and...

Is Mom Guilt a Good Thing?

Is Mom Guilt a Good Thing?

We've all felt the mom guilt, haven't we? The mom guilt and the mom-shaming seems to be at epic levels, but have we ever stopped to consider if there might be some good to be found inside the messy mom guilt? The other day I posted on my personal Facebook profile...

Learn from a Child to Be a Better Parent

Learn from a Child to Be a Better Parent

We exepect our children to learn from us, but there is so much we can  learn from a child. Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, "The soul is healed by being with children," and nothing could be more true, even if having children is also one of the hardest things you can do it's...

Teaching Kids to Share is Hard, and I Don’t Force It

Teaching Kids to Share is Hard, and I Don’t Force It

Before having kids I thought I totally knew what teaching kids to share was all about, but now that I'm a parent it is a whole lot harder than I anticipated. Sometimes doing what's best doesn't fit into societal expectations, and that's what makes teaching kids to...

Vacationing with Kids: Is it Even Worth It?

Vacationing with Kids: Is it Even Worth It?

After spending 10 days driving from Pennsylvania to Orlando, FL for our very first Disney vacation as a family, I am starting to wonder, is vacationing with kids even worth it? It was just a few days after we got back from a recent trip to Disney World when I was...

30 Best Wooden Toys for Kids and Babies on Amazon

30 Best Wooden Toys for Kids and Babies on Amazon

If your kids (or you) are feeling a bit of sensory overload with all the colorful, plastic, and noisy toys, these 30 best wooden toys for kids and babies will simplify the playroom. Wooden toys for kids made out of natural woods bring a sense of peace and calm to play...

Simple Self-Care for Moms that Actually Works. (Part 1: Not Just Another Bubble Bath)

Simple Self-Care for Moms that Actually Works. (Part 1: Not Just Another Bubble Bath)

It’s not just the girls’ weekends. It’s not just another bubble bath or brunch. The truth about self-care is that the way moms need to be thinking about this issue is on a much more basic level. It’s all about simple self-care for moms.

Self-care has been a hot topic for years now. Everyone says we need to take it seriously, and moms deserve to put ourselves first or even that it is necessary to put ourselves first… because happy mom = happy kids. But when you get down to the nitty-gritty of self-care, I feel like we aren’t having serious discussions of what it ACTUALLY looks like, and instead just talk about the flashy and fun aspects.

This is about ensuring you are in peak condition to do one of the toughest jobs on the planet, many times in addition to a job outside of the home.

Moms get made fun of for our little obsession with yoga pants and activewear even when we haven’t been to the yoga studio or gym in years. But let’s be real. Mommin’ is a full-contact sport, and I challenge you to get as good of a workout from CrossFit as chasing my twins around every single day.

And it isn’t just taxing on our physical bodies. About 10% of women each year will go through depression. 1 in 9 will have postpartum depression.

I am one of them. I have had PPD and depression/anxiety off and on throughout my life. While I can’t say I am “cured,” I also have found that there is something so simple and basic I can do to stop the depression, it’s almost embarrassing I didn’t do it before.

Practice super easy, basic and simple self-care.

Being a mom is so freakin’ hard, and I am obsessed with this story in Motherly all about how “‘Self-care’ is not enough to fix how much moms are burnt out.” (https://www.mother.ly/life/self-care-is-not-enough-to-fix-how-much-moms-are-burnt-out)

And the truth is that the things we have been considering self-care really don’t even begin to make a dent in the sleep and energy deficit we tend to find ourselves in. But I knew that after I had a bit of a depressive episode/mental breakdown/three-day anxiety attack a few months ago, I could NOT go on as I did before. I was overwhelmed and exhausted physically and emotionally.

Although I have struggled with anxiety and depression for all of my adult life, I had been able to manage it. 99% of the time I can keep myself in check with things like meditation and mindfulness plus countless hours reading personal development books and therapy as needed. Occasionally I have also tried medication which has worked and not worked to varying degrees.

But earlier this year, I had a few different factors come together to give me a pretty rough week that had been brewing for months.

Just to give you taste of those factors, it was the middle of winter and I had been cooped up with a 4-year-old and twin one-year-olds for months. I wasn’t getting any fresh air or sunlight. I wasn’t able to exercise or get my body really moving at all. The soundtrack of my life was a mix of kids cartoons. And I was processing through a bunch of small traumas that had come up from my past, plus finally dealing with some grief that had been hiding in the shadows for years.

Not to mention I was struggling with the typical exhaustion and stress that comes from having three kids ages four and under.

These things and more came together to make my anxiety and depression skyrocket.

All the thoughts going through my mind about myself were negative. I felt stuck. It was the first time in my life that I was REALLY worried about myself and whether I could do this. Not just be a mom, but could I really live? Could I have a good life? Or was I doomed to this depression and anxiety forever?

While I do think that I’ll have to be on guard against depression and anxiety forever, I realized at some point that there were some super basic things I could do to help myself.

The truth is that at the time I didn’t really know how to take care of myself at all.

I could identify hand-foot-and-mouth disease with my eyes closed. I could tell what my kids needed before they even opened their mouths just by the way they moved. I could use my spidey senses to tell if something bad happened with my husband’s work that day without him saying a word.

But did I know how to really take care of this 32-year-old body and soul I have? Nope.

I posted on Facebook detailing how I was depressed because I am all about transparency and perhaps even oversharing. Reading stories from other moms and women helps me tremendously. Some of the responses I got took me back.

At first, I felt kind of offended that people thought I was so stupid to have not thought of their ideas, but then I realized… I hadn’t.

The most simple things like drinking water, taking vitamins, and getting some vitamin D by getting in the sun every day were super basic acts of self-care that I had completely neglected for months.

This realization made me feel like kind of a dope for not thinking of them.

I mean, I *know* how important these things are… I just kind of forgot about them when it came to actually ensuring they were included in my life. (and not just my kids’ lives)

But this wasn’t the first time I totally neglected my own health.

I ended up needing not one, but TWO root canals last year because I just kept delaying on going to the dentist. I knew I had lost a filling in one tooth and the other felt a little odd, but because I wasn’t in total agony I figured I could just let it go.

Bad choice.

If I would have just been diligent about getting my routine dental exams, I probably would have been able to get away with just a few little fillings.

I thought this root canal situation was a wake-up call for me to finally commit to practicing the most BASIC self-care. Nothing fancy, just generally assuring I get to the medical appointments I need to attend.

However, while I did a better job of making and keeping those appointments, I did basically nothing for myself in between. At least until this most recent mental crisis.

I decided it was finally time to do something I had been pondering for a while and even wrote a blog post about.

It was the time I really became my own mother… for real.

And not just in the touchy/feely way. It’s not just about learning to love myself unconditionally, and actually care about myself enough to take care of me, but to also learn to discipline myself.

Now, I am not one for hardcore strict discipline full of time outs with my children. They will never be spanked, and I have yet to reach the age where I need to even think about grounding them… but I do hope to teach them to discipline themselves. To be able to set goals and achieve them.

I hope they will have the diligence to keep their rooms at least somewhat tidy, brush (and floss!) their teeth twice a day, complete homework assignments on time, etc.

And so I realized that at the ripe old age of 32, I had to start treating myself like one of my own children. No more letting myself off the hook. I had to be my own authority and start learning to be disciplined in my own life.

(Side note: this isn’t JUST about my own self-care and health, but I also realized I needed to set an example for my kids, especially my daughter, on how to live and care for yourself.)

So with this new resolve, my knee-jerk reaction was to overhaul my entire life. Start from scratch. Get on a schedule, a workout routine, and be hardcore with my health.

But… I had luckily just had an interview on the MomUp Show with Dana Skoglund all about how to create healthy habits. I knew I needed to start fairly small and make a plan around it. For me, the more simple the better.

If I was honest with myself, I knew that I was a novice at this whole healthy habit and good discipline thing.

Side note: the reason discipline and habits were hard for me was that I never needed them. I had gotten by in school and life until this point with just natural abilities, which has turned out to be a blessing and a curse.

The whole work hard on a daily basis to make incremental progress instead of skipping class all semester and cramming the night before the final wouldn’t work.

To make this work, I needed to keep it simple and (gasp!) EASY and regimented.

I decided to start with one super basic thing that I would start every single day that would herald in a new routine. A way to kind of short circuit my old norm and quickly swap it out for something new.

I would simply wake up every day, quickly get the kids settled, then grab a glass of water and my multivitamin.

That’s it.

I would make that one small change of starting my day by drinking a glass of water and taking my vitamin.

This small change is what I landed on for a few reasons.

On a very practical level I knew I was probably at a constant low key level of dehydration, AND since I was still breastfeeding my twins staying hydrated and taking a multivitamin were essential and would probably help me not feel so physically depleted all the time. (I, like most women nowadays, tend to have lower levels of vitamin-D, which can impact mood.)

But also, this was such an easy change to make. It took me less than 60 seconds a day but making sure that the first real thing I did every day was something for myself and my own health injected a new mindset into my life.

It’s not some self-indulgent idea of making sure I always come first no matter what, which let’s be honest would not work as a mom of three small kids. It shifted my mindset around my self-care from something that I needed to fight for or work for to something I just did. It just happened. It was just part of the routine. Nothing special, just a necessity.

I feel like the way I thought about self-care also changed from CARING for to more like… TENDING to my body. I stopped viewing my body and a lot of being as some delicate little thing that needed to be cared for to a vehicle that needed to do a lot of demanding work and needed to be maintained… just like the family car. (That dear old Kia has seen better days but it’s still kickin’)

Through beginning with this simple act that isn’t even close to being revolutionary or difficult, I was able to just take my first step on the path.

And you know what? I saw actual real benefits from this.

Not only do I believe the added water intake and vitamins helped my physical body feel better on a daily basis, but just having completed this minor task every single day for a period of time gave the sense of accomplishment needed to continue to search for ways to improve my body and mind so that I could be a better person and a better mom.

I was ready to stop feeling like I was barely holding onto life, and to finally flourish.

Just typing that word “flourish” makes me realize I never have. In all of my life, I have never felt like I have reached my full potential as a human being because of a lack of really understand myself as a physical and emotional being, which sounds bizarre, but is true.

And this teeny step forward of making a 60-second tweak to my morning is what began an entirely new path in life for me.

I’m going to be sharing even more on this topic through additional posts on how to begin a very simple self-care practice for moms. Next week I’m going to dive into the next steps I took, and I how I started taking even better care of my body, and even learned to love my body.

 

For now, what do you think? Can you adjust your thinking and practice to ensure that you are taking basic care of yourself? Some practical and simple self-care methods that work for you?