Becoming a mummy is one of the most rewarding yet challenging roles in the world. It’s like one big emotional rollercoaster, from the highs of finally mastering how to put a nappy on correctly, to the lows of struggling to function on very little or broken sleep.
One thing that you’ll hear time and time again as a new mum, is the need for self-care or ‘me time’. And it wasn’t until I reached almost breaking point the other weekend that I truly understood the need for it.
Ironically, just before Maternal Mental Health Matter’s Awareness Week started, five months of disrupted sleep finally caught up with me and I hit the wall. The weeks leading up to this point were the cause, with the dreaded ‘four month sleep regression’ being the tipping point. I had been burning the candle at both ends quite literally, going to bed at 11pm only to be woken from midnight almost hourly to an upset baby with our day starting all over again at 6am.
It sounds silly on reflection, but after bed time for baby at 8/9pm I really loved having those 2 hours of alone time in the house. However, the lack of sleep finally hit me and I was left feeling empty. I expressed my feelings on my Instagram stories and you girls were so empathetic and supportive that I wanted to share my tips on self-care to help prevent another mini melt down from happening.
Mummy can’t pour from an empty cup, so here’s how I’m going to refill mine. I would love to know how you refill yours? ☕️
- 1) I will go to bed no later than 9:30pm every night to ensure that I get an initial 3-4 hour sleep stretch. To help with this I’m going to enlist a phone ban from 9pm, as the blue light emitted from phones and tablets can disrupt precious sleep and stimulate your brain in what should be a time of rest! Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on your health and well-being both short and long term, from not being able to concentrate on day to day tasks, to a less than optimal functioning immune system respectively. I’ve never been a day-time napper (mainly as H naps on me in a sling during the day!) so going to bed early is crucial
- 2) I’m going to have one bubble bath a week and read my book on ‘Self care for New Mums’.My husband has said that he will take Henry after work on a Thursday, meaning all I have to do is feed him before bed, the perfect time to chill, even if it’s just an hour. Having one night ‘off’ a week also means that I can pencil in some mummy pamper sessions such as fake tanning and getting my brows and nails done, the things that used to, and still do, make me feel more like ‘me’. These may sound like little things but ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’. Do what makes YOU happy.
- 3) I am going to schedule a baby-free date night with my husband every six weeks. So far, we’ve had two of these, one as a couple when we went to a lovely restaurant in Leeds and the other was with a pregnant friend and her husband. It really does make such a difference to go out baby free, you can really enjoy each other’s company without being constantly distracted by your little one. Don’t get me wrong, I love time spending time with my baby and friends at the same time but nothing can compare when you get a babysitter and can truly focus on the food being eaten and the conversation around you! Many thanks to my sister and her fiancé for helping us out on both occasions… even if H did have a mini melt down wondering where his parents were!
- 4) I’m going to spend devoted (phone free) time with my mummy friends, as I, like many millennials, have my phone in arms reach at all times. This not only serves as a continual reminder that ‘I should be taking a picture of this’, it’s a constant distraction, indicating to the person who I am with that I am more interested in something or someone else other than those right in front of me. Nothing is more important than the person who you are with in real life, right there, so put your phone away out of sight, don’t just turn it over! If you’re feeling lonely and would like more mummy friends, search for your local stay and plays at churches and children’s centres and pluck up the courage to make small talk with another mum, suggest going for cake and coffee and you may just make a friend for life! Or why not attend a class such as Baby Sensory or Mummy Fit? They are two of my personal favourites!
- 5) I’m going to remind myself that although I am enough and I can do this, I will accept and ask for help when I need it. I am very fortunate to have friends and family who live nearby meaning they can look after H when I attend my ‘keep in touch’ days at work and can come over to help me like they did in the crazy non-stop newborn days. We are over 6 months into our new life but still last night my sister very kindly changed our bed sheets and tidied my bedroom whilst I got H ready for bed, and today my mum played with H whilst I ran around the house trying to get on top of the washing. Being a mummy gets easier, but it is still relentless and it’s hard to fit everything in when you compare your new life to what it was like pre-baby. “It takes a village to raise a child” and we shouldn’t try to do it alone.
I really hope this blog post helps you think about how you’re going to have a little more ‘me time’, and if you take anything away from this article, remember that you have a duty to look after yourself, and you must take this duty seriously
You’re worth it mamma!
This blog post has been written in collaboration with Asda Little Angels. All words are my own. Please read my disclaimer page for more information about brand collaborations.