You may have noticed things have been a little quiet here on the blog lately. That’s because I’ve moved to my new online home and have been busy helping personal brand entrepreneurs, small businesses, and podcasters with their blogging! So I decided to open up Mind your Mamma to guest contributions to give a voice to other bloggers, influencer, and professionals who have a different perspective or angle to add to the conversation and help busy mums like us! The first guest blog post is from Laura Jagdev, a mummy & lifestyle blogger from Surrey, UK. In her post, Why Mums Need Time Out Too, Laura addresses the all-important topic of self-care with a very young baby at home.
So let’s hear it from Laura.
Why mums need time out too
You’ve been so totally engrossed in everything your new-found life has thrown at you – not just the baby him/herself, but the endless stream of bottles, feeds, naps, lack-of-sleep, struggling to leave the house, poo, vomit, nappies, baby rashes, baby fevers, jabs, pee, washing, sterilising, cleaning, shopping, and everything else in between. In the process, you’ve forgotten that you still exist as a person in your own right.
Yes, you are a mum, which can be totally overwhelming and all-consuming. But you are also still you. You might not be the shiny, polished, make-up wearing, hair-washed, clean-clothed version of yourself that you once were, but deep down you are still YOU.
So try to give yourself a break!
You’ve created a new-life and managed to keep that little person alive all by yourself – you are totally nailing it. Even on those days where you may sit and cry and not feel so great about yourself. All your baby needs is you. You are enough.
So the day arrives when you have to leave your baby for the first time. And your first thought is ‘I can’t leave them, they would never cope without me’. But chances are it’s actually you feeling like you can’t cope without them. As much as they need you, they’re not exactly going to break after a few hours, or even overnight. But the truth is that you might well fall apart if you don’t get a break soon.
The impact of having a baby on your mental health
Research suggests that women who have time for themselves once a week or more in the first six months after childbirth have improved mental health.
The findings, from The Maternal Health Study undertaken by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in a study of 1500 women, found that as many as one in six new mums report they never have time for themselves. Furthermore, as many as 1 in 3 women experience depression in the first four years after having a baby.
The research by study’s chief investigator, Associate Professor Stephanie Brown highlighted that mothers who had regular time for themselves (when someone else cared for their baby) were less likely to be depressed at 6 months postpartum. The prevalence of depressive symptoms steadily decreased as the frequency of time for themselves increased.
So here’s proof that taking time for yourself is important. What are you waiting for, then?
Leaving your baby can mean anything from nipping to the shops for an hour (look at you, hands-free!), or even overnight to join your bestie’s hen party. So how do you deal with this?
1. Ditch the Mum guilt
Taking time out is so important – honestly, it’ll leave you feeling totally invigorated and ridiculously excited to be reunited with your little sleep-thief. As the old saying goes, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Believe me, you are doing the right thing for you and your baby. As hard as it may be, try not to feel guilty. You have been working 24/7 for however long, and if you carry on like this, at some point you’ll burn out.
So take yourself off. Do that shopping, meet up with your friends, go on that spa day, the hair salon – wherever. Just try not to feel guilty about it. The minute you feel that anxiety rising or those guilty thoughts creeping in, try and smash them straight back into that box.
2. Book your babysitter
Don’t let anything or anyone put you off. Make sure your hubby, your babysitter, or the grandparents are locked in. Text them numerous times to ensure there’s no miscommunication of dates. Even if you text them twice in one day, just blame it on your baby-brain. After all, baby-brain is actually a real-life thing. Who knew?
3. Plan ahead
Start getting ready way ahead of schedule to allow for vomit up your arm, a poonami situation, a baby melt-down, phone-calls from your old Aunty Sue on the other side of the world, an actual bath Tsunami, and numerous outfit changes (baby, not you). Lay your clothes out. Actually lay everything out so even if you are left with 5 minutes to get ready after having dealt with all of the above, you are still ready to rock and roll.
4. Trust your childcare
Of course, it goes without saying that nobody knows your little angel as well as you do. And nobody could ever look after them as well as you. But let’s be honest, you haven’t left your precious child with just anyone. It’ll be someone you trust implicitly. Your little one will be just fine, and chances are, when you return, you will be surprised and shocked (and maybe a little bit sad) that everything has run so smoothly without you.
Okay, don’t go phoning every 5 minutes because that’s super annoying, especially if your little one is with a family member. But of course, you should check-in to see how things are going. When you are re-assured that Baby has taken his feed, had his wind up, has had his nap and is now totally content playing peek-a-boo with Nanny, you will be a whole lot more relaxed and ready to bring your A game. If the situation is the polar opposite and Baby is bawling her eyes out, screaming in the background, then maybe just hit mute and hope for the best. Good luck!
Enjoy every minute of your first baby-free experience – you deserve it. Please ensure you make time for yourself regularly. After all, mums need some time out too!
So what do you think? Can you relate? Would you have any more tips to add?
This post was contributed by Laura Jagdev. Laura is a mummy & lifestyle blogger based in Surrey, UK. She is mum to two young daughters (2 years and 3 years of age). She’s passionate about parenting, beauty, travel, health, and fitness. You can find Laura on her website, The Exhausted Mum, and you can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.