Borderline (An Ode to Self Care): 5 New Mom Self Care Tips
Because taking care of a new little human doesn’t mean ignoring myself.
Shoutout to Solange Knowles for her song on the album, A Seat at the Table featuring Q-Tip, with a flair of Aaliyah. In the song, she talks about taking a little time to escape from the sadness and intensity going on in the world and the need to just take a break and love herself, her husband, and her son. “…throughout that, [self-care] becomes a mission within itself,” Solange said. Although her need for self-care is currently different than mine, it still resonates with me. It is my mission to practice better self-care. Therefore, I feel the need to discuss five new mom self-care tips for myself.
Communication between Marquis & I these days consists mostly of tagging each other in memes and sending pictures/videos of Jaxon. That doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about important things because we do. It’s just that Jaxon is extremely cute, interesting and brand new. It’s also hard to have real conversations via phone. We are very personable people. However, on those rare occasions where I do send him a selfie of myself sans Jax, his only request is that I do not include a filter. That includes the cute snapchat filter that smooths my skin and makes my face and nose skinnier. Y’all know the one! I was annoyed at first like he didn’t know what I looked like in real life. But, I wanted to send pretty selfies! To him though, selfies that are filter-free are the pretty ones.
That’s what has prompted this post.
This is me. No filter, no special effects that smooths my skin or makes my nose smaller. It shows that someone likes how I look without all of the editing that goes into the perfect selfie. Not only does it show that someone appreciates how I naturally look, but it shows how important it is for me to take care of myself. That includes my hair, skin, nails, and body. But I’m not just stopping at my physical health, but I’m talking about my mental health as well. Here is a little advice from myself to myself. If you new moms out there want to keep these five new mom self-care tips in mind, by all means, please do.
Shower and Wash Your Face Every Day
You would think that’s like the basic rule of self-care.
But, it’s the first on the new mom self-care tips list because it is imperative! In the few days after I gave birth, I was either getting a sponge bath (yes, the nurses had to bathe me because I had just had a C-Section and couldn’t move around) or I was taking skimpy showers because water couldn’t directly hit my c-section incision until the stitches dissolved. Then, after I was clear to start taking REAL showers again, every time I got in, I could hear Jaxon crying. WTF. They were merely phantom cries because he was as cool as a cucumber whenever I would jump out to check on him. I was so incredibly paranoid, I would check on him even when I knew someone was watching him.
Seven months later, I still hear crying whenever I take a shower. I have it in my head now that he has figured out a way to climb out of his crib and has fallen on the floor. It’s nerve wrecking! Some days, I will literally sit down for a few minutes, and wake up the next morning fully clothed with just enough time to wash up in the sink. Shameful, but true. I’m keeping it real.
New mom life is draining.
I have to remind myself daily to shower. Not because I think I’m dirty, but because I always feel a million times better whenever I get out of the shower. Don’t cringe. Ask any new mom if they have skipped a few showers. And just like with Jaxon, fresh baths help me sleep easier. As if I wasn’t sleeping like a baby whenever I do get in the bed at a decent time. I am also making it a point to wash my face every day. Not just with water, either. That happens while I’m in the shower. But because I do not wear makeup often, I have never established a facial cleansing routine. To add to that point, I also do not have a problem with acne. So, good ole water just does the trick for me. It has the same effects on me as a shower does.
I JUST FEEL BETTER when I wash my face with facial cleansing products. I feel airy and light and I want to feel that way every day.
Relax, Slow Down, Breathe
Next up on the list of new mom self-care tips is to relax, slow down, and breathe. Since I have had Jaxon, I have diagnosed myself with anxiety and ADD. To be honest, I probably diagnosed myself well before he came, it just became more prominent after he was born. Whether I actually have it or not, something is going on. I just need to remind myself on a daily basis that it is okay to make mistakes. I cannot be perfect and I cannot have everything under control. Since I have returned to work, I have been so hard on myself and I am constantly worrying about if I’m good enough to be a working mom. If that wasn’t enough, just imagine worrying about not being good at something, then actually showing that you’re not good at it.
What helps me through it is my support system. To be constantly told that it is okay to make mistakes and to be reminded that I’m just getting started helps me relax, slow down, and breathe. I’ve only been doing this working mom thing for a few months. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Boss Moms aren’t built in a few months.
Hang Out With Friends
Since I have had Jaxon, I have hung out with my friends quite a bit. Funny thing is though, I have hung out with them WITH Jaxon tagging along. It’s not because he has no one to stay with because he does. I just want him to be with me. Whenever I do something with my friends without him, all I think about is how much I want to be with him. Trust me, I have a good time with them, but all I can think about is cuddling with the cuddle monster himself.
I need to remind myself that it is OKAY to spend time away from him. An article from 2015 done by the Washington Post states that when it comes to spending time with your children, it is more about quality than quantity.
“Mothers’ stress, especially when mothers are stressed because of the juggling with work and trying to find time with kids, that may actually be affecting their kids poorly,” said co-author Kei Nomaguchi, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University.
Now, I have plenty of time to spend away from Jaxon, and any future children I have. But, I have to get over the feeling guilty part.
Get Your Hair and Nails Done
This is simple. Don’t skip your hair appointment, and don’t go too long without getting your nails and toes done. I have only been to the nail shop twice in the past seven months, and those two times had nothing to do with the holidays. Well, my birthday IS a holiday. But, I don’t go get my nails and toes done because I don’t want to leave Jaxon at home on the weekend. There’s that guilty feeling again. But, I always feel prettier when I have my nails and toes done. I don’t even have to get acrylic. Just a basic gel polish will do the trick. Maintaining a physical appearance is important because if you THINK you look good, you’ll probably begin to FEEL good. That includes going to the hair shop as well. I get my hair done often simply because if I don’t, I’ll look like a troll doll. This is important to realize when it comes to new mom self-care.
Eat a Healthy Diet
I am a repeat offender when it comes to skipping a meal or two…or three. It’s basic science, however. If you don’t eat, you will not be healthy. If you’re not healthy, you’re not happy. SIMPLE.
These five new mom self-care tips are just a few of the issues that I have encountered as a new mom. The struggle is real. I really believe that if I start following these tips on a daily basis, the quality of my life will improve, and I will feel less anxious, and more focused. They are simple but significant. Every new mom is different and struggles with obstacles that are different than other moms. The important thing is to surround yourself with people that want to see you happy and healthy.
To that end, I have to say “thank you” to Marquis, who accepts my natural selfie, or momfie, under-eye bags, blemishes, and less-than-perfect nose.