When I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t read all the books or take all the classes. I found one book that was a week by week pregnancy into motherhood guide to ease my way into the fact I was becoming a mother. To be honest, I was scared and wasn’t sure how my life was going to change. I was overwhelmed by all the information at our fingertips thanks to Dr Google and social media. And I was starting to resent feeling I was being forced to fit a mold before I was even a mother.
Here is the thing, though, dear mama. Once I realized that I was going to have infinite information at my fingertips and that everyone had their advice and opinions to give, was the moment I knew I had to protect my energy and stay true to what I my husband and I felt was right for our family. It’s a pendulum of emotion because being first time parents, we wanted advice, but it was also opening the flood gates of every opinion under the sun.
Becoming a Mom
Looking back, I wish I would’ve heard more of:
It’s OK to want alone time.
It is OK to want to do things you used to do before kids.
It’s OK to work on your body after kids.
It is OK to feel off.
It’s OK to still want an identity outside of ‘mom’.
It’s OK to say YES to you!
Instead I heard things like:
Say goodbye to sleep.
Your life before kids will never exist.
How do you have the energy to xyz?
Let’s hope your baby doesn’t have colic.
And it doesn’t make you feel any better when you do have a difficult baby and feel you are the one doing something wrong. Our son just started to understand that sleep is a good thing at 20 months old, so I feel all those emotions, mama.
20 months in and I still can’t explain the emotions of motherhood sometimes. But you know what, other moms get it. The easy, hard, unpredictable, unexplainable, bliss, and all in between. There is a special bond where you don’t have to explain. Just know, you are not alone. And sometimes it may feel that societal norms are working against our aspirations of happiness because of all the competition, comparisons, media, and information at our fingertips. It can become overwhelming and make us feel like we don’t know where to turn.
Postpartum life just isn’t talked about enough.
I feel there is a communication barrier of sorts when it comes to supporting new moms. Even if people’s comments, concerns, and advice are meant well, they can come off as pushy and overwhelming to someone who is a little sleep deprived and learning a whole new normal.
Entering the fourth trimester of pregnancy is that 3 month period after childbirth where the baby and you are transitioning into a whole new world. This is your time to find your new rhythm while bonding, healing, and learning. You are juggling tons of different hats right now, but you cannot forget about something.
When I entered the fourth trimester, I wish I would have slowed down a bit. We were at the tail end of a complete home renovation and closing process, and I have an at home career so I wasn’t too sure how to balance it all. It took trial and error, bouts of PPA, and re-finding my faith to really settle in and focus on myself. And realize that less is more, and simplicity truly helps heal all.
Here is what I learned to embrace, and come baby #2, these tips will be at the top of my list to love life, stress Less, be happy, and take care of me outside of being a mother.
Know that you are still important after having your children. Times may be hairy and schedules may be completely non existent. But it is OK to feel your feelings and know you are not alone.
It is sacrificing.
And it’s OK to need a breather from giving your everything to do something or feel something for you, sweet mama.
I’ll give you the simplest 7 things to focus on because we just don’t have time for complicated, am I right?
7 Ways to Live More, Stress Less, and Love Life
1. Focus on your mindset.
Stay intentional with you and making time to know you, love you, and have an unshakeable mindset. There is so much noise all around us, all the time to where we seldom take the time to listen to ourselves. Social media, news, media, peers, coworkers, and technology all have such an influence on our mindsets even if we don’t realize it. And it is up to us to take control of protecting our energy.
Take 5-10 minutes everyday to:
- Write a gratitude list
- Sit, pray, or meditate in silence to be with your thoughts. Click here to read an amazing post on meditation for beginners.
- Journal or read if you have the time
I do this every morning and call it my Morning Mindset. This sets the tone for my entire day.
And I encourage you to limit social media. Say whaaat?! I know, but think how easy it is to get captivated in the scroll and let your whole mood be changed by one single post. Frightening when you think about it like that isn’t it?
All the above will also help with avoiding comparison, judgement, and resentment in parenting [or life] if you are one with yourself and proactively working on a positive mindset.
2. Move your body.
It doesn’t have to be hours a day. 20-30 minutes is enough to reap benefits internally and externally of exercise. I have a virtual wellness community that is a virtual getaway for us moms who want to take back control of our bodies, health & happiness. It is so easy to lose ourselves and who we are outside of parenthood. Our minds are always on everything else but ourselves, and this place is where we can feel comfortable with finding ourselves again, getting healthier and fit from home, and be held accountable for taking 20-45 mins a day for ourselves.
3. Fuel your body with nutrition and water it needs to function.
This will not only help with the surface level satisfaction of physical results, but on a deeper level of increasing energy, helping with better sleep, and improving digestion. I know, not the sexiest way to say, eat and drink well to improve your health, but it is true – health starts on the inside, so we have to be taking care of ourselves before we focus on any outside physical appearances, ya know? Eating healthy-ish as a family can be difficult, so I share some of my best tips in this post.
4. Make time for you
We are so influenced by the world and all the floating information out there to where we just need to shut out the noise and take time for ourselves. I truly believe that we are completely over stimulated with the amount of technology we are constantly consuming and it leads to burn out and overwhelm that much quicker.
Don’t feel it is selfish asking for help or wanting an afternoon alone. I know you have heard the saying before, you can’t give from an empty cup, but it is so true and everyone deserves time for self-care. After you comes everything else. For ideas on self care, check out this post: 31 Days of Self-Care – Love Yourself!
5. Be present
This is my number 1 piece of advice to avoid burnout, mom guilt, resentment, and all the negative emotions tied to your life. Have you ever been so consumed in an email or reading an article on your phone to where you missed a ‘first’ with your child? I know we can’t be everywhere all the time to never miss a moment, BUT has that ever happened and then you feel guilty you knew the email could’ve waited?
Presence is my #1 intention in life. Being present in what I am doing in that very moment to give it all of me. Let it be time with my children, my work, appointments, anything. Time is something we can never get back, and it isn’t worth feeling guilty over having your mind elsewhere when you should be in the moment.
6. Write it out
I always have been fond of making lists. When I write it down, I can get it out of my head so I am not overwhelmed and constantly trying to think and remember a gazillion things. And I can use my headspace to be in the present moment. So write it down.
- Your to dos
- Grocery lists
- Anything that can free up space in your mind
7. Be Happy Now
One of the most powerful quotes I have ever heard is, ‘when you’re happy for a particular reason, you are still in misery-because that reason can be taken from you tomorrow.’
We have to be happy and have a good life now if we ever want to get where we want to go. It is so easy to get caught up in our to dos, goals, life happenings, and feel we aren’t getting there quick enough. But we need to learn to stop chasing happiness. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out the next thing that will make us happy, but not nearly enough time focusing on enjoying the life we already have – and the blessings of the present.
Last Thing: Simplify to Love Your Life
Life is always going to throw curve balls and we are going to have setbacks, eat the cake, miss our alarms, yell at our kids, lose our patience. Instead of focusing on what we aren’t doing or accomplishing, we can start focusing on the longevity and sustainability of what we are living for. What is that to you? Happiness? Presence? Leaving a legacy?
Once you know, cut the fluff and things that make life complicated, mama. Between meals and homeschool, and chores, and work…we don’t have time for that, am I right?
I’d love to know in the comments what you’ll start implementing to bring more happiness and less stress to your life.