When I go to describe myself the first thing I always blurt out is "I am a mom..." usually I will go into a bit about my son right after. How many other moms also do this? Is being a mom really my big defining feature? I know I was some one before this little guy so being a mom, while an amazing blessing and job, it is not who I am.
I am Jamie, 25, a mom to my amazing son Eli, and so so so much more.
If my friends tried to describe me here are some words they would throw out, ambitious, motivated, passionate and driven. All great qualities if harnessed and used to their fullest potential, but if pushed aside can lead to feeling unfulfilled, bored, and resentful to those I love most.
I knew I wanted to use my qualities/ skills while also being an amazing mom, that is why I started Baby Time Toys. I can work from home so I don't miss a moment of Eli's life and can be there when he needs me, but also have something that fulfills my need to grow, create, and be independent. I can grow this amazing company and Eli gets to play with all my toy creations.
I know I am not alone, especially new moms/ dads who had plans before their little one popped into the picture and turned their world upside down. So over the last year of being a parent I have been thinking of ways that you as a new mom can still be you while also allowing you to be present and happy in your little ones life.
How To Stay Yourself In Your New Role:
-Now this is just my own experience, and some may not work for others. There is no actual scientific research behind it, but I have other moms in my life who also have done these with huge results so hopefully it can help you too.
1. Do Your Hobbies With Your Little One
Now this may be hard for some hobbies, but those activities that bring you joy are going to help you feel like your self again. So if you swim, take your little one to swimming lessons, you can start this very early in their lives. For us Eli started swimming at 3 months old. I met other moms with similar aged babies and it gave me something to look forward to each week. Some examples of hobbies you can do with a little one; dancing, singing, swimming, hikes, gardening, painting, shopping, ect. there are ways you can include your little one in all those.
2. Shower, At Least Every Other Day, With Out Interruptions
I don't mean the baby puked on me showers, or the quick 3 minute one where baby is just outside in there chair. I mean taking 15 minutes of uninterrupted shower time. Showers are amazing for resetting. There is something about the water , its calming and the feeling of being clean after is something that kept me going on those sleepless nights. I often would get these before I went to bed after Eli was already asleep, I would crawl out, make a pillow wall on my side and Logan was on the other. Best 15 minutes ever! I often slept better too afterwards, double win!
3. Get Your Movement In
This feels so hard in the beginning or during a babies routine change, I know, but the hormones you get from exercise can significantly improve your mood therefore affecting your patience and parenting. I know for me, when I am not happy or content, the little things Logan or Eli do drive me to madness way quicker. I have snapped over Logan not telling me we were out of cheese. We had an emergency C-section and I have a health condition that causes me to heal very very slowly, so I was bagging for the day I could just move again, when that day finally did come it didn't feel the same as it used too. I have had to completely retrain my bodies muscles. So I started walking, Eli would be in his stroller and it started with just down the road, then the block, now I can do the whole zoo. It takes a lot of time but if I hadn't at least started I wouldn't be even close to that and I wouldn't get those happy hormones.
4. Do Something Special For Yourself Each Day
So this does not need to be big at all. When I realized this it was the middle of winter in Calgary, so cold. I made myself a hot chocolate station and every afternoon nap I would make myself one. I grew to love afternoon naps because it meant I would get my hot chocolate soon. Then, because I went into naps so positive they were usually the easiest ones. I always would put him down and was proud of myself for doing it so easily. Then treat myself to a hot chocolate. Find something you can do for your self every day and do it no exceptions.
5. Celebrate All The Days Wins, Big Or Small
I often made my To Do lists and expected completion every day, as a new mom that is totally unrealistic. Instead of telling myself what I should do, I started writing out what I did do. Changed a diaper, Changed a poopy diaper, had a bath, did a load of laundry, put Eli down for a nap. rocked Eli for 20 minutes straight, ate my own lunch, made another bottle, pumped for 30 minutes, cooked dinner. ect. Once I wrote everything down, I would realize that everything I did was important to myself, Eli or the family, it had to get done. Therefore I couldn't beat myself up anymore for not completing those extra To Do's. So write down what you did do. If baby napped on you and you couldn't move for 2 hours, put that you kept baby safe while he slept, that is important!
I hope these help to at least get your feeling confident in yourself. You are not alone in this, even though it may feel it. There are so many tools and aids out there now that if you ever feel alone you can reach out. You can always google your questions or comment below and someone will have gone through it before. You got this Mama/ Dada, and welcome to the Culham Wight Village.