Making time for self-care has become such a buzzy topic that you get to almost feeling pressured to do it. I’ve found that letting go of what self-care looked like for me pre-baby and listening to what it means for me now has made all the difference.
I have 2 little boys, one is not quite 2 and a half and the other is just 6 months old. I also have a Baby Gifts Business – Nested Fox, that I started at the end of my maternity leave for my first son. I’m not going to lie it’s a lot to handle. So when someone tells me I’ve taken on too much or I need to take time out I can sometimes feel myself gritting my teeth because it feels unhelpful for people to say, ‘you know all that stuff that you think is so important – it isn’t’. But, annoyingly, ‘they’ are usually right on this one.
In fact, it is because the things I thought were important pre-baby really weren’t that I quit my steady well paid job to start my business. I knew that, for me, being able to stay home with my son was more important than the security of the job that had been my be all, end all before he was born.
But of course, everything changes when you have your first child. The definition of ‘time out’ and ‘me time’ changes completely because of the length of time you can reasonably take away from your child just isn’t that long frankly. I feel like it is because I embraced the land of baby full force that I’ve been able to cope with how hard raising two kids and running a business can be. And part of that, as unexciting as it sounds, is about adjusting expectations.
Self-care before my babies were born looked like this: several hours in a super hot bath with Epsom salts, a glass of prosecco and an audio book on tape; a massage, a swim and a pedicure at a day spa; or a whole day out in the garden painting furniture and listening to tunes.
I just don’t have the luxury of that kind of time out anymore. So these days I’ve found self-care in smaller bite-sized chunks.
Today self-care looks like this: closing my eyes and cuddling in to my baby’s lovely head while he gets his nap on my chest; listening to a small business podcast while I make dinner or push the buggy to a baby class; and putting on an audiobook and playing a zone out bubble pop game on my phone late at night when everyone is finally asleep and I ‘should’ be too.
These aren’t the sort of things you think of (or at least I didn’t) when you say the words self-care, but it is these little things that help me get through and re-charge. Snuggling into my son and enjoying the cuddles instead of stressing about putting him ‘down’ for a nap reminds me of why I started the business in the first place – to be with them. Listening to a podcast in the midst of mundane day to day activities helps me feel like I’m fitting in some learning time and growing my mind because even when you have embraced the land of baby, there comes a point when you need to have some adult thoughts! And letting myself stay up a little later than I should and having my ‘zone out’ time in the dark on my phone with my baby breathing heavily beside me helps me feel like I’ve had time to myself. Even if it doesn’t look like what someone else’s me-time would be.
All that to say, you do what works for you mama. Would I love to have the time for super long tub soaks, massages and DIY projects? Of course, I would, but letting go of that, at least for these years when my little ones are so small, has helped me cope and find new ways of taking time out for me.
At Nested Fox we have a little motto – ‘It’s a big wild world out there – let’s make our kids feel cuddled!’ Well the same is true for mummies, it’s a great big world of responsibilities and worries and to do lists, so find the little things that make you feel cuddled and fit those into your day and try your best to let go of the rest.
Nested Fox specialises in Gender Neutral Baby Gifts and Nursery Décor