As the saying goes, ‘when a baby is born, so is a mother. And it’s so true when our children enter the world, many of us find we literally transform into this new version of ourselves. You step into a role where life is no longer all about you, and instead, you become the world to another human being which is the most incredible and empowering process. However, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. As time goes on and we give all that we have of ourselves day in, and day out, we can start to lose the essence of who we once were. There’s nothing quite like looking in the mirror when you’re sleep deprived, under eye circles, in baggy clothes on, and probably covered in baby milk and vomit and thinking ‘who is this person?’ If you’ve reached a stage where you’d like to get back your spark, here are some ways you can go about it.
Invest in your appearance
Once you have a baby, your appearance tends to drop right to the bottom of the priority list. Over time, this can really impact the way that you feel. Not only does your body change but when you’re no longer doing the little grooming jobs, keeping on top of your hair, and dressing purely for comfort you can reach a stage where you’re unrecognizable to yourself. You might never be the ‘old you’ again but you can certainly carve out a new self-image where you’re a mother AND someone you recognize and are happy to be. Be realistic about your regime, but do make time for yourself. Create a simple skin and haircare routine, and come up with some outfits that are comfy and practical without just baggy loungewear or pajamas. If you’re able to get to the hairdressers, have them color your hair in a way that’s low maintenance and will grow out nicely, meaning you won’t be stuck with roots or faded color after a few weeks and can go longer between appointments. Ask your partner to look after the baby so you can have a pampering bath- shave, wax and tweeze, paint your nails, and pop on a face mask. These little things can all make such a difference in how you look and feel.
Find the right exercise
This isn’t about ‘springing back’ to your old body or feeling pressure to look a certain way. Finding an exercise you can do is good for your overall well-being and is fantastic for mental health. As long as you follow the advice of your doctor, it can speed up your recovery too once you’re out of that early postpartum stage. There’s no doubt that exercise can feel like a chore. While some people might enjoy going on long runs or feeling the burn at the gym, for us mere mortals we’d probably prefer to be doing just about anything else. And once you have a baby and you’re tired and pressed for time, it can be even more complicated. And that’s ok, exercise doesn’t need to mean strenuous, sweaty, painful workouts while we watch the time tick down on the clock until we can stop. If you find the right activity it can be genuinely fun, you’ll move your body, burn calories, and tone up without even thinking about it. If you have older children, perhaps you could book a trampoline park, a bouncy castle park, rollerblading, or ice skating and do this kind of activity every weekend? If your partner is around to watch the baby for you, this is a great chance to spend time with your other children while getting in plenty of good exercises. You get some great cardiovascular workout time and the kids will see it as a treat! Maybe low-impact exercise like swimming is more your thing, or you could go walking. Walking is fantastic and doesn’t have to be boring- drive to a new place and go and explore. It’s something you can do with your baby and they’ll enjoy being out in the pram or carrier in the fresh air. If you invest in a fitness tracker this can help keep you motivated as you can see exactly how much you’re doing, and how much you need to do to reach your goals. Sites like Smartwatch Lab have comparisons making it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Spend time with your partner
Arranging spontaneous dates and going out to do all of the things you used to do becomes difficult once you have a baby, but it’s worth working with your situation to see what you can do. Perhaps friends or family members will babysit on occasion so you can go out together? Maybe you could go on a daytime date during baby’s naptime, and bring them along. Either way, making that time for each other is a good idea if you can. Having a baby can make your relationship so much stronger but the early days especially can be hard. You’re both tired, have much less time and probably less money so it’s more of a challenge. But reconnect when you can and remember who you are as a couple.
Spend time with friends
As with the above, if you get the opportunity to spend time with friends then try and do that if you can. Even if you bring your baby along to your coffee dates, it’s still a chance to chat and catch up and some adult conversation can help you to feel more human. Chats with friends can help you to talk through any problems or issues you have, they can make you laugh and cheer you up and generally just feel like you again.