Self Care for the New Mama (and anyone else who may need it!)

***Originally Posted 2/11/15. Sorry if this gets emailed to you as a duplicate. Only 3 more repeat posts after this and I’m all caught up for new blogging!***

There are plenty of times as a new mama when I do not feel my most beautiful. Naively, I once thought that the amount of TV shows or films that portray parents being spit up on or other bodily fluids getting on them from their baby was grossly exaggerating and that if I was very careful then I could avoid that fate in real life. Turns out, the only thing that’s exaggerated is the parental reaction… because if you have a baby with any sort of reflux or digestive problems, then after a while, you just accept the giant amount of spit up in your hair or down your shirt.

For those HIMYM fans out there… that “confetti” moment is no joke…

I also swore up and down when I was pregnant that I would never be that mom who forgot to take a shower. And that brilliant plan worked great the first four months when my husband was working the night shift and was home mornings to watch the baby while I did my normal morning routine, but now that he leaves the house at 5:30AM and little guy is still getting up around 5:15AM… (which does not mix well with directing until 10 or 11pm…) there are definitely days where I just resign myself to try again tomorrow.

What I’d look like most days if I didn’t keep my hair in a ponytail… only less makeup and accessories….

While I am a strong believer in beauty coming from within, it’s easy to start letting your inner beauty get eaten away by the negativity that can come with not taking care of yourself. This negativity started really catching up with me late summer or early fall of last year. It was just dawning on me that I was not going back to work full time and it felt like we were past the understandable chaos of the newborn phase and I still wasn’t quite finding a rhythm or routine to get it together. I felt good that I had a healthy, happy baby, but I realized that if I kept heading in the direction I was going I would not be a healthy, happy mama. A friend from my undergraduate program at Pepperdine helped hammer this idea home when, after a long facebook conversation, she could tell I was stressed and sent me this oh so thoughtful gift:

Mary Kay Satin Hands- SUCH a wonderful indulgence!

The gift included a note I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing because I think it’s good to pass along and that most new parents (not just mamas!) need to hear this message:
“A mommy who takes care of herself is best equipped to take care of others”
This gesture was so thoughtful and oh so helpful for me. I began to ask around to find out what other new mamas did to take care of themselves, specifically if they were part of other families on a budget. Here are some of the awesome answers I got, just in case you need some ideas too (you don’t have to be a mom for these to be useful! Everyone needs to take a pause and take care of themselves sometimes!)

Even the Bible says do unto others as you would have them do unto you… and it did not mean treat others like crap, so take note and don’t treat yourself poorly!

**EDIT: My new #1 piece of advice is ACCEPT HELP!!!!

* Shower vacations: This is basically a 30 minute indulgent, hot shower with no interruptions. Those of you who are new moms will understand the power of taking time to shave your legs amidst the chaos. For those of you who aren’t thrilled with showers you could try:

*A hot bath with a favorite drink of some kind (be it iced coffee, a smoothie, or a glass of wine) and some kind of bath salt or bubble bath. This is a favorite in my household…

*DIY at home mani/pedis. Sometimes just adding some color to your nails can brighten up the long nursing/pumping/walking the baby in the middle of the night moments. Of the two, I like painting my toes more because it lasts longer, and if I buy cheapo nail polish I don’t have to worry about it chipping into baby’s food/somehow being ingested.

* Going to a cafe or bookstore and treating yourself to a hot chocolate or a baked good you don’t normally have (for me that’s macaroons or chocolate croissants!). I love browsing the poetry section, and even an hour away from the house can do wonders for my mood.

*Spending time in nature- if I have no one to help me with the baby during a particularly stressful time, we go on lots of walks. It calms him and we both get to enjoy nature. Plus, I get some exercise and it’s often a time I can call a friend I’ve been missing and catch up because community can make you feel a lot more beautiful.

*Buy a lipstick or lipgloss in a shade you really love and even if you don’t have time for any other makeup, that can pick up your spirits! Bonus: you get to leave lipstick marks from all the kisses you will be giving your baby!

Do you have any budget friendly ways to distress and feel beautiful?

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