The perfect mother is completely self-sacrificial. She's supposed to put her children first in all ways and still be fulfilled and capable. Or at least that's what culture tells us. But is that actually what's best for mom and baby?
Today's guest post is from Mary Huston, doula and owner of the Birthing Boutique in Denver, Colorado. If you're in the Denver area be sure to follow The Birthing Boutique on Facebook.
As a new mom, how are you feeling? There are so many emotional and physical challenges and changes every time you have a baby. I constantly see posts on Facebook from moms who seem like they are just drowning; they are exhausted, lonely and struggling. I have totally been there… and continue to go there. Self care is something that is continual.
Some moms experience the challenges more intensely than others. It also depends on your child and what kind of demeanor they have. Some kids are just more challenging; maybe they don’t sleep well, don’t eat well or they cry a lot. Even with the world's ‘easiest’ baby parenting still has it’s challenges.
My question to you is:
Is your oxygen mask on first? It may sound selfish for me to tell a mom to take care of herself first above her young child or helpless infant. I know if I were in a plane crash my very first thought would be of my children sitting next to me. We have this natural desire to see our children be well. But think about it. If I put the oxygen mask on my child and then I pass out or die then my child is alone. They will have had that one instance of help from me; but who is going to nurture, love, care for and protect them for the rest of their life?
As moms we have to take care of ourselves so that we can be around for the long haul, physically and emotionally, to continue to parent and love our children. (tweet this)
If you are drowning it’s really difficult to parent well. Taking care of yourself is an essential step in caring for your child. It cannot be skipped! Imagine your child has the most amazing preschool teacher or pediatrician. You want them to be healthy and happy so they’ll continue to offer those services to your child! Right now your child has THE MOST AMAZING MOM. What are things you can do to make sure that you stay happy and healthy so that you can continue to pour into your child?
When you take care of yourself you are making an investment in the best provider and nurturer for your child. You are doing the best thing you possibly can for them. So when you’re done reading this, evaluate how you’re really doing. If your baby is taxing you in one area (for example; not sleeping) then either find a way to take care of yourself in that instance OR balance it out by ‘putting on your oxygen mask’ in another area. If you’re up all night with a crying baby,maybe you can go see a movie the next day. Be creative. Find ways to fill up your tank.
Do you need a good night of sleep? Ask for nighttime help that will give you more shuteye.
Do you need to see a therapist?
Do you need to get a massage?
There are lots of ways to take care of yourself; so start doing it! A happy and healthy mom is absolutely the best gift you can ever give to your child.
Share your ideas. How can you start investing in YOU?