Having a baby is an amazing experience. The most life-changing, possibly, of any experience a person could have. You know that your life is going to change, but nothing prepares you for the day your baby arrives and 100% of your day is devoted to caring for the new family member.
With this huge transition, it’s easy for new moms to feel overwhelmed, and to miss having time to themselves. After the first weeks pass by and your new family starts to get into a routine, don’t be afraid to start doing a few things for yourself.
Take the hands offered to you.
You probably have had family and friends offering to help out or watch the baby for you for short periods. By all means, say yes! Your baby will be fine without you for a little while. Start by leaving baby for 30 minutes or an hour –- enough time for a quick break for you, without the anxious feeling of being too far away.
Make the time count.
If the most time you can get to yourself initially is 30 minutes or an hour, you can still use that time to rest and relax. Think about what you would enjoy doing the most and do it: a long (uninterrupted!) bath, an extra hour’s sleep, a walk – on your own – around the neighborhood, or a quick coffee with a friend.
Growing “me” time.
As your baby gets older, you’ll be able to leave her for longer periods. This is when it’s time to schedule activities that take more time, like getting a manicure and pedicure, or going out to dinner with your friends. Or perhaps you want to start getting fit again – you could use your “me” time to go for a run, or take a Zumba class.
Why it matters.
It’s easy to get lost in the routine of a new baby, and forget to take care of yourself as well. By making the effort to carve out time just for you, it will help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle anything your baby throws (sometimes literally) at you. Even short breaks are beneficial, so take the time you can, no matter how short it is.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.