As the coming months approach, I will again, be a new momma. My second baby boy will be born into the world. This brings much joy, excitement, love, appreciation and gratitude into my body. It also, unfortunately, brings a tinge of anxiety for many moms.
This post is all about exposing my secrets on "how I do it all" and still (attempt) to stay happy, healthy and kind. I hope this helps any of you weary about mommyhood and starting a family. I also hope this helps those of you that are struggling as moms and not quite sure how to find the time to be your best self. Philosophie Sophie is here to help!
Balancing Mommy Secret #1
You can't do it all. Take help when it's offered. Oh, AND, you need sleep.
For some reason mamas and papas just accept the fact that they won't sleep for the first two years or so (I've heard 5 from some parents! eek!). That's NOT an option in my world! In the first few months of a new baby being in your life, they need you ALL the time. They must nurse every few hours, they need a diaper change constantly and they need to bond with you. They have higher piles of dirty clothes than you do and you've already run out of diapers before you can blink twice. So where does sleep fit in?
For the first 6 months, my husband did at LEAST one night time feeding. It was calculated with the intention of me getting more sleep. So, let's say I did one last feeding at 9p, baby would be up again in 2-3 hours crying and hungry- that would be dads turn (or grandmas, best friends, etc). He would do the whole routine, feed him a bottle (of pumped breast milk), change him and tuck him into bed. I would sleep this entire time-until the following feeding-peacefully and soundly with earplugs shoved into both ears. By the time the next feeding came, I'd practically jump into my baby's moses basket to snatch him up because I had so much energy. Then we'd go back to sleep for a few hours and I'd be nearing 8 hours with barely any effort, and a bonus nap a few hours into the day if I wanted it! ALLOW people to help you. INSIST your husband/significant other participates in a REAL way.
When people want to bring you food, let them. When they ask if they can help at all, say yes. Have people help with laundry, cleaning the house, watching the baby for 1 hour while you get a nap/walk/shower/anything. Take care of your needs, you'll be taking care of that baby's for the next lifetime!
Secret #2, Breath: Yoga.
Take time to go inward. To meditate, to breath, to journal.
It's so important to reflect on what's going on in your heart, mind and body. You just had a CHILD! You brought a LIVING, BREATHING HUMAN into this planet. It's time to open up and see what's going on inside.
If you don't practice yoga, purchase a yoga DVD online and get moving! Find a patch of carpet in your home when the baby is napping or in the swing and take some time for yourself. Even 25 minutes of yoga can shift your entire day energetically. It will bring bonus happiness that the physical body slims down while you're taking care of your spiritual self.
I went to a yoga class at my gym at least 2-3 times a week because they have a kids club/babysitting in the gym. I HIGHLY recommended looking into this amenity when selecting a gym to join. Often when Kai was still super little they would come get me halfway through class because he needed me, but I didn't care, I appreciated every minute I had to myself.
Secret #3: Pamper Mama.
Get manicures, pedicures, massages, facials. Have your best friend come give you a foot rub. Have your hubby give you a full body rub down. You DESERVE to take care of yourself, to love yourself, to indulge. I think I've gotten more treatments in the past 20 months then I ever did before. A 45 minute trip to the nail salon can turn out to be the best decision you've made all month. When they ask if you want 10 more minutes for a foot/shoulder/whatever rub, say "YES"! You are nurturing another human 24/7, responsible for that person, giving giving and giving some more.... the least you can do is nurture the source of all that energy. My sister is an amazing massage therapist if anyone that lives in LA wants to take advantage of her healing powers. Let me know and I'll hook it up :)
Secret #4: Get a good wrap/carrier
A big help in mommyland is having a good carrier to tote bebe around with you wherever you go.
I worked from home the first 6 months in the kitchen with Kai on me. I used the moby a LOT in the beginning and switched over to the Butterfly 2 later on when he got heavier. I STILL use the Butterfly 2 and he's almost 2 years old! It can be used on the front facing you (which is supposed to be better for baby then facing out) and it can also be used as a backpack with baby on your back. This allowed me the freedom to go for hikes and run errands without dealing with a hefty stroller. Plus, you have the added bonus of bonding with your baby while they are on you, listening to you talk, feeling your body heat, etc. I highly recommend purchasing a sling/pak/carrier from the wonderful mommy I bought mine from at paxbaby.com. She's extremely knowledgeable and has 5 children herself (wow!) so knows a thing or two about it! She will also custom make your sling for you with special patterns you get to chose!
Secret #5: Balance mommyhood and livelihood
Your life now contains a baby, your life is NOT a baby.
Sometimes you may feel like your entire BEING is being a momma. That life is all things baby and that's the way it's going to be for years to come.
With a few really easy steps, you too can feel like there's more to life than diaper changes and playdates.
1) Find a babysitter you love and GET OUT! You need time to yourself. You need to meet up with friends for lunch/coffee/juice/yoga and NOT have your tot with you. Especially later when the baby has set naps, you don't want to selfishly screw up their day so that you can see your friends... so having a sitter take care of babes helps. Run errands, do some work, go for a long walk in nature, whatever you need to feel like YOU again. I promise, you won't regret leaving them for a few hours once you just GO!
2) Schedule Date-nights: my hubby and I schedule once a week date nights. It's imperative we schedule this in because if we don't, weeks will pass and we won't take that special time for us. Sometimes it's something bomb like a concert and other times it's just dinner at our favorite sushi place or a movie. Regardless, we see each other, outside of the house, and have time to bond as two lovers and friends, not just as mommy and daddy. (although I must admit we probably talk about Kai the majority of the time and share pics and videos!) We also schedule time with couple friends, groups of friends and our family as often as we can so we can feel connected to our loved ones.
Secret # 6: SLEEP TRAIN YOUR CHILD!
I can't say enough about this! At 6 months, we sleep trained Kai. After two days of letting him "cry it out" (there are several techniques, we chose this one) he was trained. For over 15 months now, he has slept through every single night (unless he was sick/teething) for 11 HOURS STRAIGHT. He is a happy, joyful, rested child and I owe this to his sleep. Get books, do research and figure out what's best for you and your baby.
Secret #7: Be Present
When you're with baby, try and be as present as possible. At the dinner table, keep phones away. When you're spending one on one time or time as a family, try to stay in the moment. Kids can feel when you're not connected and really love it when you are. Obviously you'll have to take a phone call here and there and connect to the outside world, but just be sure when you're giving time to your little one that you're doing the best you can to give them all of you. If you're balancing your time by pampering yourself, journaling, getting enough sleep and exercising, you should be more than happy to give a few hours to your sweet love!
Being a mama is no doubt a balancing act. But part of being a wonderful mother is being a wonderful person. You can't be a person in the universe if you never take time for YOU and the things you love. So we adapt! Love to hike? Strap that baby onto your body! Love to practice yoga? find a gym that watches babies. Want to be a working mommy? Find a sitter you absolutely love and trust and get your hubby on board to help when he can. It can ALL be done, being a happy mommy, wife, friend and careerwoman... you just need to take the time to dream it into reality (and get creative!). Journal, reflect and connect to your truest and best self as often as you can to stay centered and true to you. Everyone around you will notice the difference, I promise!