Love Yourself

A photo by Azrul Aziz. unsplash.com/photos/_14v_Fbk4SQ

I notice moms everywhere…passing by me at Target and at gymnastics – 2 kids in tow, 1 on the way. The stressed look on her face. Trying to juggle it all. Feeling all alone. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? Isn’t this what she looked forward to her whole life? Getting married and having babies? Why did no one tell her how hard it would be? Why did no one tell her to stay young just a little while longer. Little did she know how many sleepless nights were ahead of her. How many fevers she would tend to. How many days the laundry would pile up around her while she felt anything but joy. Continue reading “Love Yourself”

Pilates as Self-Care

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As part of my self-care journey, I’ve always been mindful of getting in some form of exercise, which is no easy feat when you’re a parent. I have tried going back to the regular “gym” where I can use childcare, but then I never know when they might call me out of class because my child needs a diaper change or some other reason. I settled on doing workout videos at home after the birth of my second child. It seemed like the easiest route and it still does in some ways. But last year I felt like I needed to up my game a bit. My body was getting used to the same routine and I was craving a challenge. Continue reading “Pilates as Self-Care”

Kim Burckhardt Interview

I am so excited to share an interview with a fellow mom I met on Instagram over the past year. I love Kim’s posts on fitness and nutrition. Over the years, I have also done a lot of working out at home and I know other moms do the same. I find her tips incredibly motivating and helpful and I know others will too. Please don’t forget to check out Kim’s Facebook and Instagram page too! Continue reading “Kim Burckhardt Interview”

Making Time for Yourself

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“Similar to a garden, we all reflect the kind of care we are given. If we are intentional about watering and getting sun, we will also bloom and thrive like the flower does. As mothers, it is so, so easy to neglect ourselves and wither away. Self-care is crucial as a caregiver. Keep pushing for it. It will keep you alive and growing.”
I recently had one of those horrible parenting fails – you know, the ones where you do something you completely regret? Something you do or say (or in this case yelled as loud as possible) when all buttons have been pushed and the adrenaline is rushing at lightning speed. I am still processing it because I feel so terrible I let myself get to that point. Hindsight is 20/20 – but really, why didn’t I see it coming? When I felt the spike in blood pressure, why didn’t I go to another room and take some deep breaths in order to regroup?

Continue reading “Making Time for Yourself”

Finding rest

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Rest.  What’s that, you say?  If you’re a mother of small children, chances are, you are exhausted and anything but rested.  My kids are on the go non-stop and keep me on my toes continuously.  And come to find out, my tiredness may not be from child-rearing alone.  There’s a chance it could be caused from post-natal depletion – meaning, it may be much more physical than you think.  Carrying a baby is hard work on the body and the effects can actually last for years.

When I came across this article detailing the physical and mental effects that can linger for up to a decade after giving birth, I almost felt a sense of relief.  I sent it to many of my mom friends saying, “Look – it’s not just mental, there’s a reason we feel this way!”

Dr. Oscar Serrallach, a family practitioner in rural Australia, describes postnatal depletion as “…the common phenomenon of fatigue and exhaustion combined with a feeling of ‘baby brain.’ Baby Brain is a term that encompasses the symptoms of poor concentration, poor memory, and emotional lability. Emotional lability is where one’s emotions change up and down much more easily than they would have in the past, e.g. ‘crying for no reason.’ There is often a feeling of isolation, vulnerability, and of not feeling ‘good enough.’ It is experienced by many mothers, and is an understandable and at times predictable outcome associated with the extremely demanding task of being a mother from the perspective of both childbearing and child raising.”

The article goes on to say:

  1. We live in a society of continual ongoing stress and we literally don’t know how to relax or switch off. This has profound effects on hormones, immune function, brain structure, and gut health.
  2. Woman are having babies later in life. In Australia the average age for a mother having her first baby is 30.9 years.
  3. Women tend to be in a depleted state going into motherhood with careers, demanding social schedules, and the chronic sleep deprivation as the norm in our society.
  4. As a society we tend not to allow mothers to fully recover after childbirth before getting pregnant again. It is not uncommon to see the phenomenon of a mother giving birth to two children from separate pregnancies in the same calendar year. Also with assisted reproduction we are seeing higher rates of twins which will obviously exacerbate any depletion.
  5. Sleep deprivation of having a newborn with some research suggesting that in the first year the average sleep debt is 700 hours! Reduced family and societal support is very common.
  6. Our food is becoming increasingly nutrient poor. We are in many cases having “2 mouthfuls of food for 1 mouthful of nutrition.”
There are more bullet-points in the full article, but for this post, I wanted to focus on the above-mentioned factors.  Many women I know don’t have help from family (either they don’t live local, or they just don’t help, sadly).  Add to it a sleep deficit of 700 hours in the first year of a newborn’s life and crazy work schedules plus the pressure to do it all.  No wonder so many mothers are experiencing burnout.

This, friends, is why self-care is an essential part of motherhood.  And to be honest with you, some days I feel like even the greatest amount of self-care there is couldn’t help me feel rested or ready to tackle what each day brings.  Having small kids is exhausting no matter how you spin it.

And so, I have to merge self-care into my daily routine and try my hardest to schedule out breaks in order to rest and rejuvenate.  Rest is good for the body, and maybe even better for the soul.

I’ve posted numerous times on how I incorporate self-care into my routine – click here for my Self-care 101 post.  I’ve also written on ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life, if a break is not always possible – click here for that post.

And finally, below are some not-so-obvious ways to avoid burnout as a mom:

  • Take a break from social media and focus on your personal relationships
  • Try your best to keep a positive mindset – trust me, this one makes a world of difference
  • Make it a practice to not compare yourself to others.  Motherhood is tough enough as it is
  • In your “quiet” time, try to have some true silence where you can be alone with your thoughts
  • Incorporate contemplative practices like meditation or prayer into your days
  • Eat whole, unrefined foods and fit some exercise into your routine
All of these are ways to pour back into yourself so that you can pour into your children.  It isn’t easy, but the investment is well worth it.

The challenges of staying at home

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A mother staying at home with her children is not revolutionary.  This, I know.  There is nothing unusual or particularly interesting about it.  But what I didn’t know when I decided to quit my job to stay at home full-time is how incredibly challenging and long my days would be.  What I want you to know is that staying at home with my children does not always feel like “enough” for me as I had always envisioned it would.

Continue reading “The challenges of staying at home”

Finding your self-care rhythm

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{image c/o Modify Ink}

Finding a new rhythm for anything is tricky.  Whenever life changes, it throws me for a loop.  It always takes time to work out the kinks, and it is no different for starting a new self-care regimen.

These are just some of the things that have helped me get back into the swing of things after becoming a mother.  Now, if you just had a baby, do NOT expect to embrace several new things at once.  Be gentle with yourself.  I have a nearly 5-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old, and it’s taken me a long time to add these routines back into my life.  Slow and steady wins the race though. Continue reading “Finding your self-care rhythm”

Self-Care Redefined

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The term ‘self-care’ has been used all over lately – I see it hash-tagged on Instagram, in quotes on the Internet, and in so many other places.  I think for some, it can have negative connotations – especially in the parenting world.  For me, though, self-care was a term in my vocabulary years before I became a mother.  But it means something totally different to me now. Continue reading “Self-Care Redefined”

Looking and Feeling Your Best

IMG_4844For me, part of self-care has been spending time on myself each day to look and feel my best – which can be quite challenging with little ones!  Somewhere along the way in my motherhood journey, I stopped caring quite as much about hair, makeup, fashion and working out.  It wasn’t that I let myself go, but I just couldn’t muster up the time or energy once my second baby arrived.  I found myself in my ‘mom uniform’ of yoga pants and a tee pretty much every day with little to no makeup. Continue reading “Looking and Feeling Your Best”

Mom Guilt

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This week I had one of those horrible parenting fails – you know, the ones where you do something you completely regret with your kiddos?  Something you do or say (or in this case yelled as loud as possible) when all buttons have been pushed and the adrenaline is rushing at lightning speed.  I am still processing it days later because I feel so terrible I let myself get to that point.  Hindsight is 20/20 – but really, couldn’t I have seen it coming?  When I felt the spike in blood pressure, why didn’t I go to another room and shut the door in order to take some deep breaths and regroup?

The only consolation in this situation is the words of wisdom and support from my girlfriends I texted after it happened. Continue reading “Mom Guilt”