“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”
Well Osho got it right but have we as mothers? I doubt!!
Motherhood is one big responsibility and the constant attention demanded by a child leaves little time for the mother to care for her own self. Of course the rewards of this tiring never ending role are a plenty.
My mother once told me, how she stayed in a joint family and was assigned the work for cooking for all the members. Her day would start at 5 a.m and end at 12. In between when she would come in the room to feed me or rest for a while, the innocent smile of a 5month old me would cheer her up and fade her mental fatigue.
Cut to my present mommie days, there is considerably reduced house work owing to the nuclear family setup. However, the struggles for most women today have doubled and there is constant juggling between personal and professional life. Does our personal space feature self-care as much as it takes in to account the likes and dislikes of the other family members?
I hear a feeble yes there!
Blame it on our conditioning or the biological wiring, women tend to associate “care” as a holistic term. A former colleague once told me she was not fond of cooking but when she realized her kids rejected basic home food, she enrolled herself for cooking classes and from then on offered variety on the daily platter. According to her, the scenes on the dining table changed into one happy picture. To her the satisfaction of a well fed family was more rewarding than doing something for herself.
During my school days I would often visit a friend’s place. I would see her mother reading a book while enjoying the winter sun as she prepared herself for the arrival of a new baby. Years later when I conceived, I made sure I read that book titled-“mother & babycare” . I maintained a mental checklist of what I was passing on to the child growing inside me. I ate well and incorporated physical exercise in my daily routine. I rested well and stressed less.
Two months after the birth of my dear daughter, I realized a drastic fall in my attitude towards my own well-being. The initial days of motherhood were overwhelming, once my in-laws left, my daughter demanded my attention all day long and of-course the never ending night feeding sessions. It was only after the burn out that my husband and I decided to look for support.
I was once speaking to an experienced mother and she suggested I look out for an additional help before I delivered the baby. My question to her was, “If she does all that then what will I do?”. Her instant reply was “Whatsapp”. We laughed it out then but I realized later how right she was because I was mostly pre occupied with the baby.
As a mother it is important to keep ourselves first. A happy mother can take good care of her kids and family. As a mother with a little experience and understanding, I have some tips that can go a long way to keep us sane:
- Grooming: When my daughter was a month old, on the day of our wedding anniversary, my anxiety was at an all-time high. I feared leaving my little one even while she slept well. After the push from my mother I finally dressed up and made efforts to look good for the day. It was a very fulfilling feeling. For me how I felt inside reflected on my face. Take time to groom yourself. Look good, feel good.
- Evening walks: When the weather cleared up and sun did come out, I decided to take my daughter out of the room. I towed her pram into the campus lawn and believe me I felt different. Take time out for natural outings. All the poetry around fresh air, flowers and lush green trees is definitely not over-hyped. Nature has the power to heal your senses magically.
- Food: So, panjiri , gud laddoos, dry fruit powders, milk and so on are on your table during the initial months of nursing. They become an old story as years progress. Why though? Take charge of your healthy eating habits. One fruit a day, soaked almonds are easy food hacks to follow.
- Me Time: My neighbor who has high school going kids was telling me the other day, how she has stopped caring about her likes and dislikes because her kids keep her busy. In a day take out time for yourself. Meditate or drink your favorite hot chocolate in that me-time. I personally took to writing to feel good.
- Get connected: Parenting is a 24*7 job. It is important to talk it out to fellow mommies to avoid feeling alone. Go meet your girl gang, talk to your friends and family often. Tough days are a phase, they pass, don’t lose yourself in this journey.
Our babies are most definitely the center of our universe. We as mothers strive to give the best of everything, we want them to grow up independent and content. This is in so many ways dependent on how we put ourselves in front of them. Set yourselves as role models for a healthy lifestyle they would copy guilt free.
As a fellow mommie says, “Monkey see, monkey do”
Take care momma, you are doing a fabulous job.