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Looking back on my first postpartum experience, I had some major mental boxing matches between my pre and post-mom self. Before Michael, I was a 5-day a week pregnant yogi and was loving the “excuse” to be lazy all evening binge-watching whatever show I wanted with some extra dessert. Enter baby, and my brain was dying for some yoga endorphins and errand running. Being new to the suburbs and not trusting anyone but myself to watch the baby, I felt totally overwhelmed.
When I finally reached disaster level, I caved and dropped the baby when he was 8 weeks with my mother-in-law for a one hour Daily Method class. Shocker – I survived and so did the baby (so much so that I ran to the grocery store solo after the class for an extra 30 minutes). Grandma also got some one-on-one time without my overbearing, sleep-deprived self-hovering.
Total game-changer – I couldn’t believe how much better and happier I felt! I vowed to avoid this scenario with my next kids, and found these three activities to be an absolute must for me those first three weeks home with the baby. I did both these after Addie and Jimmy, and I wish someone had made me do it for Michael. If these activities speak to you, remember to take it slow – you just birthed a human. One step per week, then start to increase!
Walk, feel the sun or freezing cold on your face. If it is too cold or too hot for your new sweet little love, then put in your earbuds and walk around the block alone – something about fresh air and music will let you take those deep breaths you’ve been too preoccupied to notice you desperately need!
Give your partner a heads up that you plan to accomplish this task and that you need his/her encouragement by offering to hold the sleeping baby the entire time you are gone and to send you a photo while you are out for your jaunt. It’s important to mitigate your anxiety about leaving, albeit briefly, so if a photo every 5 minutes while you are gone helps with this then do it. Fresh air is necessary and rejuvenating! It should also be noted it’s VERY important to empower your partner to feel capable and accomplished in caring for you and your little one. Two birds, ladies!
Have friends over for lunch.
Plan several days in advance. Tell them right away the house will be a disaster then tell yourself; it is completely fine that my house is a disaster. Clean only what you need to in order to feel comfortable (or splurge and hire someone the day before they come). Assume your friends will want to see the nursery, so clear one path from the table to the baby’s nursery and a second path to the bathroom.
Assign each of them an item to bring for the group or order delivery for everyone (order enough for you and your family to eat for dinner too). You need some girl time, you’ll be amazed how invigorating it will be to think about anything other than feedings, naps, poops, and your own exhaustion. It’s also so fun to show off your little peanut!
Go to Target!
Pre-mom you is craving some shopping. Make a running list the days leading up to your trip – essentials, wants, needs, whatever. Book someone to watch the baby. Partner, family member, babysitter – any warm body (who has had a Pertussis vaccine), and ask them to come over for a 3-hour stretch. Tell them you will be home for part of the time and out for part of the time. This flexibility allows you to leave right after a feeding when the baby is milk drunk and sleepy (grab a shower or even a power nap first if possible, and you will feel like that red target is a red carpet!).
Assign the caregiver the task of texting you every 30 minutes an update and a picture – again, mitigate your anxiety. I promise you the update will be “Still snoozing!” and you will feel amazing with another 30 minutes to stare and browse!
There you have it, moms. In no time you will be out and about like a pro, sometimes with and sometimes without your bundle of joy. I insist you treat your amazing self to a few hours a week – your happiness and, let’s face it, everyone else’s happiness in your house depends on it!