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Although tiny humans are quite demanding, having a newborn doesn’t mean that you are locked down until they walk and talk! With a few lifestyle changes, you can get that breather you need to keep you from drowning your sorrows in chocolate covered everything! Don’t base what freedom is for you by the trends and fads of today’s motherhood world, either! You’ll end up thinking that your baby is a ball and chain and not a bundle of joy. Here are a few things to think about when working to regain or maintain your freedom:
Let people help you!
In these challenging times, this can be tough; however, if you HAVE help, USE IT! Those who are offering don’t see you as the burden that they think you are to them. Whether it’s uninterrupted shower time, a nap, or unaccompanied trip to the grocery store, take what they offer…please! Yes, I know that an ant is bigger than the list of people you can trust with your baby, but you need those steal away moments — trust me! Allow yourself to be present in the moment when they come — no running out of the shower because they cry two seconds longer than you’re used to hearing. Allow those friends, family, and loved ones to build a bond with your little one. Although they will use it against you later in life when this same sweet little baby is trying to manipulate you through them, it’s still a joy to have that circle of support around them so you can breathe.
Let’s take this in another direction…this counts financially, too! Every little bit helps, so if you are blessed to have someone who wants to bless you this way, accept it. I know it’s hard to do because you don’t want to owe anyone, but anything that gets you closer to a financial breather is a blessing most would kill for right now. Some may not be able to physically help as much as they want to, so that gift card, paid bill, or love offering helps them feel like they can be there in some way for you. As mad as you get about them doing it, wipe those tears, say thank you, and make that person glad they helped you!
Don’t forget YOU!
Self-inflicted mom guilt is a snare that many never find a way out of and it can hurt more than help. Yes, you want to make sure your baby doesn’t want for anything, but it is perfectly okay for a diaper run to include one of mom’s favorite things. Yes, you want to do ALL you can so that your baby meets all developmental goals and milestones, but those you have for yourself matter, too. (Cue the viral social media image of the college professor holding a student’s baby while teaching.) Yes, you want to be there for ALL baby firsts, but those steal away moments are LIFE for a new mom… don’t kick yourself because you were taking a much deserved hot bath when your baby rolled over for the first time. Speaking of a hot bath, check out 50 Self Care Ideas For Moms Who Don’t Have a Lot of Time. Yes, you want to alert your child’s doctor with every cough that doesn’t sound right, but what about you? Going to the doctor yourself is just as important and freeing. Don’t discount that!
Build your circle of friends
Most new moms crave adult attention and conversation as they are sometimes isolated from it. Be it online or in person, seek out those needed connections so that you can release when needed and not carry so much! Having another mom to talk to is often just as, if not more, freeing than leaving the house. There are so many things to bond around nowadays! Call out the right TV show and you’ll instantly have a circle of friends who become your people!
Set up schedules and routines
This can be freeing? Why, yes, it can! Your routine doesn’t go out the window because you have a newborn. It may change a lot, but it’s not completely gone! It’s all about learning your baby’s needs early and building around both that and what Mom needs, too. For example, if you notice that your baby gets sleepy around the same time, put them down and then do something for yourself first that’s not housework and then work on other things.
Keep yourself up
Many new moms become okay with looking as though they are college students finally emerging from finals, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I know you may not want to because you are a new mom and dealing with a baby; however, you can be casually chic, cute, and comfortable! Lift that ponytail a little higher. Put on that lipstick or colored gloss and kiss at yourself in the mirror. Put on your favorite color. Say positive things to yourself. Paint your nails. Count your blessings. All of this may sound silly, but it will lighten your mood on the gloomiest day and make you feel like there’s still some YOU inside.
Help another new mom
Often the most freeing thing you can do is be there for the next new mom. When you see that nervous expectant mom in the doctor’s office, strike up a conversation and help her to calm down before they call her name. Tell another new mom about what you’ve figured out to keep from running yourself ragged. Be a listening ear and shoulder to cry on for that new mom who needs a friend at 3 A.M. when her baby just won’t go down for the night.
What I’ve given you here isn’t what we’re used to hearing, but freedom looks different to every woman, so please take what you need! The journey of motherhood is one that can be the most rewardingly annoying ones we encounter, yet the love and joy we see in those little eyes make it worth it all! Give them someone to look back and smile at, Mom!