Posts in Motherhood
Keeping your mom game Strong
How to keep your Mom Game Strong.png

I killed it in the mom department yesterday. I literally sat in the bath typing this out on my phone because that’s how great of a day it was – it ended with actually having time for a bath.

My house was clean, my kids were happy, and there may have been a couple of toddler meltdowns, but I handled them like a champ. I got down to my tot’s level, I looked him in his eyes, and I empathized with his emotions. I told him I knew how hard it was to not get his way, and that I understood he was sad.

I tried to get him to do some deep breathing, but he refused, because #toddlers. But after that he recovered. I went to work, and kissed my infant good-bye with a smile on my face, and there were no tears from either of us.

I did work that I love, and I returned home to a happy baby. I even managed to have milk pumped and waiting in the fridge for grandma to feed her while I was away. #winning

I got home and I made a nice healthy dinner, did bath time, and got everyone to bed on time. I felt like a freakin rockstar! My mama rockstar status reigned so supreme, that I had time at the end of the night to unwind and take a bath myself.

By this point you may be wondering why I’m telling you this. And if you didn’t maintain your rockstar mama status today, you may even want to quit reading and/or punch me in the throat for gloating. Both of which I totally get, but I promise you there is a point to tooting my horn publicly, so stay with me ;)

I’m telling you this because this is NOT a typical day for me, and it really lead me to do some detective work into what caused such a freakish chain of events to occur in one single day.

Most days don’t end with me feeling like gloating. Most days end in exhaustion, and me falling asleep while nursing my baby, wishing that she’d hurry up so I can actually get into bed comfortably.

But on this rockstar mama day, as I sat in the bath and contemplated the difference between the oh-so-tired days, and this feeling of energy, it became clear to me what the difference was, and that’s what I want to share with you, mama.

The difference was my mindset. It started with mindfulness, and being intentional about my day. It took me all of 10 minutes to set myself up for success when I woke up in the morning.

I started my day with a 5-minute journaling exercise. The app is literally called, “The 5-Minute Journal.” I took the time to write out what I was thankful for, and what I planned to do in order to make the day great. I also typed out a few positive affirmations, and I carried all of this goodness with me throughout my day and sprinkled it around like pixy dust, and you know what? It worked!

By starting my day with intention, and being mindful throughout the day of those intentions I controlled my own mindset, and it made for some fantastic results.

On this very fine day, I journaled that I would be patient, be kind, and smile at strangers and those that I came into contact with.

I’m aware that this might sound cheesy, but I’m also aware of how easy it is to lose your shit as a mom. I’m aware of how easy it is to fall into comparison mode with all the moms you know on social media, and I’m aware of how easy it is to tell yourself what a crappy job you’re doing.

The good news is that it only takes a mindset shift, and that can happen at any moment you choose throughout your day, mama.

So while not all days end up being as fantastic as this one, when those days get challenging, I stop myself and remind myself of what my intention was at the beginning of the day, and I regroup, and restart.

I forgive myself for yelling back at my toddler, and I tell myself that things don’t have to be better tomorrow, they can in fact be better in the next hour.

On the really draining and not-so-good days, I don’t set any intentions, I don’t practice being mindful, and I don’t give myself grace. Those are the toughest days, and taking time to compare the two has created a new morning routine for me, one that almost always includes gratitude and intention.

What is one thing you do that makes a big difference in your day as a mom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and you never know - your comment could just be the answer that another mama has been searching for!

Here’s to sharing the love, and all the tips and tricks, as we get through these longest shortest of days as moms.

If you need help shifting your mindset, being more intentional and mindful, you are not alone! In fact I have a group of some of the most amazing mamas who gather and work on lessening their anxiety, and those bad days. You can learn more about my group here

 
keeping your mom game.png
 
Thank you for the label. My story of Postpartum Anxiety and OCD
 
postpartum anxiety and OCD
 

We all expect that bringing a newborn into the world will be life changing. We spend months preparing for this little human to join us in our home, and in our family, and most people anticipate overwhelming feelings of love and joy, and a connection that can’t even be described using the words that we have in our human language.

We also anticipate sleepless nights, because that’s what everyone tells us as first-time parents. We think we’ll sleep when the baby sleeps, and that life will go on as it did before, except that we’ll just do it all with our little baby in tow. At least that’s what I thought.

I thought that I’d have a delivery like the one we saw in our birthing class, and that sure, it would be painful, but I’d ask them to pump that epidural as soon as it was allowed, and I’d be walking out of the hospital a few days later with my son, ready to take on the world and provide all the love I’d ever dreamed of to this tiny human that my husband and I created.

Those are the things that I thought would happen, however a majority of my birthing experience and the first year with my baby was nothing like my anticipations, and I suffered.  Mostly in silence. For far, far too long, but now I’m ready to tell my story in hopes that other mamas out there do not have to suffer in the way that I did, for as long as I did.

My water broke while I was getting ready to go on a dinner date with my husband. I talked him into taking me to Thai even though it was his least favorite. I had a craving like no other! I walked into the living room and expressed disgust for my fat thighs, face, and disdain I had for the summer heat using several 4-letter words, and then scooted off to the bathroom where after I had peed for the 10th time in that hour, I stood up, and felt a trickle continue down my leg. Oh shit!

I told my husband as I stood in the shower leaking, that I thought something was happening, but that Thai food was still 100% necessary. He of course looked at me and told me I was crazy and then went into panic mode, getting all of our stuff together to head to the hospital. I begged him to at least order me some Thai food that I could eat it in the car because I knew that this labor thing would take forever. He denied my request, saying it would take too long, and we grabbed fast food on the way to the hospital.

Once I was there I was hooked up to several machines, and they started me on a Pitocin. It was about 8pm, and I rode the waves of contractions all night long while my husband sat next to me, and tried to stay awake.

At 6am, I was still only dilated to a 4, and I begged for an epidural, but was told I had to wait until I progressed further. Finally an hour later I was given the epidural, except it didn’t work. I could still wiggle my toes, and feel my legs. So I was given another dose, but the same thing resulted. I was given a third dose, and was told it was enough for 3 people – whatever man, I thought I might die without it.

At 10am, I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. I pushed and pushed, and an hour later, my epidural wore off, and I felt excruciating pain in my back and entire left side. Back labor? Wtf is that?  

The nurse told me to stop pushing, and I was given another epidural, and as I waited for it to kick in, I dozed off. When I woke up I gave myself a pep talk that would put Tony Robbins to shame – I was getting this baby out, and I had everything it took to push with confidence, and strength.

A nurse that I didn’t recognize walked in to check on me and I told her that I was ready to start pushing again, and I could feel the contractions getting stronger. She told me that my nurse was on break and that I’d have to wait until she got back, it might be another 30 minutes. W.T.F.!? I was ready, I had the eye of the tiger, and I wanted this baby out!

She wouldn’t budge, and left the room, and I wanted to cry – or maybe I did, I have no idea anymore. But as time passed and I watched the clock, I pushed a little anyway, and I felt what I knew would inevitably happen – my epidural started wearing off, and that fiery pain radiated once again through my back and side.

When my nurse returned, I started pushing again, but the pain was overwhelming, and I was told the baby’s head was stuck on my pelvis. After another hour, and throwing up all over my hair, I couldn’t take it anymore, he wasn’t coming out. The nurse told me to stop, and that I could have another epidural and try again, or I could have a cesarean. I opted for the latter while gasping for air and trying not to scream my response through the pain.

As they prepared me for surgery and gave me more drugs, I laid there feeling defeated. I couldn’t do what I was supposed to instinctually have the ability to do. My family came in, and I burst into tears when I saw my dad. “I couldn’t do it,” I sobbed. He just smiled, and touched my head, and told me it would be ok. 

They whisked me off to surgery, and strapped my arms to the table like Jesus on the cross. I was paralyzed from the chest down, and shaking uncontrollably. They said, they were ready to start, and I almost had a panic attack, where the hell was my husband!? They gave him a gown, and never told him where to go. Someone went to get him finally, and when he arrived I just stared at him like a deer in headlights.

At 3:33pm, they pulled my son from my womb, and showed him to me for a second. Literally, one second, before he was taken to be cleaned up while I lay there, paralyzed and unable to move my arms. My husband had a beautiful moment with our son, as they met for the first time.

After what felt like a lifetime, my baby was finally wrapped in a blanket and placed near my head, and I cried and cried. Looking back, I realize that those tears were not because I was so overjoyed to meet my baby, but because I was so relieved that my labor and delivery were over.

What happened next felt like a blur that continued for next 8 months. He was placed on my chest, and I attempted to breastfeed. I had no clue what I was doing despite having taken a breastfeeding class only weeks before. I knew this skin-to-skin thing was so important, as was breastfeeding. But I was told by one nurse that my nipples were too small, and he wanted them to be bigger in order to really breastfeed. Umm, what? They grew to the size of silver dollars, and had turned the color of Hershey’s kisses during pregnancy, how the hell could he miss them?

On our second night in the hospital, all hell broke loose as my son cried. All. Night. Long. I picked him up and rocked him, and fed him, and rocked him some more, and at 8am he finally fell asleep. In the afternoon when we all woke again, I was holding and soothing him, and a nurse came in. She told me that I shouldn’t get him used to being rocked to sleep, so I immediately placed him back in the clear, sterile bassinet where he remained unless I was feeding or changing him.

We went home from the hospital, and I felt like I’d been through war. I placed my son in his mamaRoo when I wasn’t feeding or changing him, because Lord knows I didn’t need a spoiled baby. I mean I was supposed to get back to life, right? The one I had before I was sliced in half and welcomed this baby into it. The one where I used to travel, entertain friends, and run a business. The one where I just kept going, and took him along for the ride.

I don’t remember a whole lot of the newborn phase other than the feeling of constantly being overwhelmed. I had a horrible time trying to breastfeed. I never produced enough milk, and would supplement using a tiny tube attached to formula. I’d pump in between breastfeeding to try and get my body to produce more milk. I visited that lactation consultant, and drank weird smelling teas, oatmeal, and anything I could get my hands on that had fenugreek in it. I smelled like IHOP all the time, because fenugreek makes your sweat and pores smell like maple syrup.

None of it worked, and I cried. I cried a lot. I cried when the baby cried, and I cried because I felt like my body was failing me, and I again wasn’t able to do the things that I was supposed to do as a mother.

I cried because I was sleep deprived, and overwhelmed with feeding and pumping every 2-3 hours. I cried because I saw my friends and cousins with their newborns, making it look easy, and not having any trouble breastfeeding.

I cried because anytime I told anybody about how much I felt like I was drowning in this whole breastfeeding and taking care of a newborn thing, they asked me if I had tried x, y, or z? And after I tried what they suggested and it didn’t work, I cried some more.

After 3 months I had enough, and I’m pretty sure my husband did too, and through my tears I decided one morning at 3am that I couldn’t do it anymore, and I stopped breastfeeding. I had such a hard time telling anyone that I had switched to formula, and every time I did I had to fight back tears and make it seem like it was totally my choice.

It did make life easier for a short time. My husband was able to feed the baby a bottle late at night while I slept, and soon after that our son started sleeping through the night. When that happened I felt like I had survived, and things would get easy.

That feeling of survival was short lived. That was when my overwhelming anxiety and OCD began. I returned to work, and after two months I began dreading it with every fiber in my being. I said it was because I missed my son, but really, it was because of the horrifying thoughts I had begun experiencing.

When I’d get into my car and drive him over to my aunt’s house before work, my palms sweated profusely, and I had an intense fear that I would get into a car accident that would kill my baby. I couldn’t relax, and I checked my mirror every single time I came to a stop to be sure he was still breathing in his car seat.

When I drove in the car alone after dropping him off, the intense thoughts and fears didn’t stop. I’d get behind a big-rig and have visions of my car slamming into the back of the truck, and its contents shattering through my windshield. The thoughts were so vivid, I could almost feel what it would be like. I never had a true panic attack, but I was on the verge anytime I got into the car.

Although driving seemed to spark most of my intense anxiety and vivid thoughts, I had others as well. When I carried my son into the kitchen, I’d have visions that I would suddenly trip and fall onto a knife, and hurt him, or that I’d find him in his crib one day, blue and dead from SIDs.

None of the thoughts I had were because I felt like hurting him. The thoughts were so graphic and detailed and they scared the shit out of me, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get them to stop. I thought I was going crazy, and I felt like I was a prisoner of my own mind.

But how could I tell anyone? I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist, and my job is to help others, I wasn’t supposed to be the one who lost my shit. Soon after the thoughts began, I started having difficulty sleeping. My son was an amazing sleeper, and he never woke during the night and he took two very long naps at the same times each day. Even when he was asleep, I couldn’t relax, and I’d lie awake at night feeling tense with my scary thoughts flooding my mind. I felt dread about getting into the car the following day, and it would keep me up all night long.

After months of this, I was able to let go of my full-time agency job, and work solely in my private practice. I thought that the anxiety would lessen since I’d no longer need childcare, and I could spend more time with my son, and more time doing what I loved.

But nothing changed. I finally told my husband that I was going to see my doctor about getting something to help me sleep. Along the way I had told him about my intense fears and anxiety, and he told me he also had more anxiety than ever before, and that he also had some scary thoughts about our baby getting hurt or dying. I knew mine were more intense than his, and that they often made me feel paralyzed.

When I finally went to see my doctor, I told her about my difficulty sleeping and feelings of anxiety, and I’ll never forget her response. She said, “Alicia, you have your own practice, you don’t even need childcare, your husband is supportive and you only work a few days a week, you have it so good! But if you insist, I’ll write you a prescription.”

It had taken months for me to make that appointment. I felt ashamed that I needed to ask for help, and take meds to help me with my anxiety, but it was so overwhelming, that I finally felt like I had no other choice. My doctor’s well-meaning comments only made me feel worse, and like I really might be going crazy.

I started taking the meds, and finally started to feel some relief, as I was able to sleep through the night. My anxiety lessened, but I still had the scary thoughts. One day, I was driving to work and I was listening to a podcast that my colleague had started about Maternal Mental Health.

In one of the first episodes she told her story about postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. I hung on her every word, they sounded like my own - if I were to ever say out loud what I had been experiencing for the last several months. I pulled my car over, and I sobbed.

Someone had finally put words to my story, and I wasn’t just going crazy! I immediately emailed her and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for putting the podcast out there, and I let her know how much I appreciated just hearing that someone else had gone through what I was going through. She gave me some referrals for therapists that specialized in Maternal Mental Health. I immediately called my husband to let him know that I wasn’t just bat shit crazy, and I’m sure I sounded much too excited to have discovered that I had been suffering from postpartum anxiety and OCD.        

At that point I had been a therapist for almost 10 years. I had extensive training, but no one had ever in all my years of training talked about any other perinatal mood disorder, aside from postpartum depression. In fact, immediately after I earned my Master’s Degree, I started working for a women’s shelter and I would give presentations for a parenting group about postpartum depression, and in none of the research that I did to prepare for those presentations did I come across anything about postpartum anxiety or OCD.

I started learning more about perinatal mood disorders and mindfulness, and started implementing what I learned in my everyday life. I also started seeing a therapist. Through my work with her, we uncovered that in addition to the new life transition and intense hormonal shifts that had taken place for me after the birth of my son, his actual birth was pretty traumatic.

Before that I had never associated his birth with the word “trauma.” Together my therapist and I uncovered that during my labor and delivery I was so out of control of my body and what was going on, that it was traumatizing and extremely anxiety provoking for me. It’s the reason that I’ve included so many details about it in this story, in addition to the fact that it was one of the last things I remember vividly before my life turned into a haze, as I struggled through the first year of my son’s life.

After a year and a half, I felt like the haze was lifted. I felt like my old self again, but with a life that looked completely different. I finally had energy, and my mind was clear, and my anxiety lessened. My scary, vivid thoughts are called “intrusive thoughts,” and they come along with postpartum OCD. They almost completely diminished after taking meds, practicing mindfulness, and working with my therapist.

As much as I’d love to wrap this up with a bow, and tell you that I’ve lived happily ever after since, I have to be honest – there is some guilt that comes along with having had difficulty bonding with my son in those early months of his life. I feel a twinge of it when I look back at pictures during that time and know that I was just posing for the camera, faking a smile on my face, knowing that inside I was suffering silently, and felt completely disconnected.

I’m not sure when that connection clicked for me. I know I’ve always loved him, but with the clarity in my mind, the decreased anxiety, and having shook my intrusive thoughts, I’ve fallen head over heels for my little boy and feel a love that’s so intense and overwhelming that it sometimes brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. It's the feeling I thought I'd have all along. 

As I prepare for the birth of my second baby, I am thankful for my experience - as crazy as that might sound. I’ve since done tons of reading, and gotten training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and I run a group for anxious mamas.

I’m thankful that I found a name for my experience. As much as I never want to be labeled, that label helped me to find healing. I know more about what to expect this time around, and I have a solid plan in place in case my postpartum anxiety and OCD come back.

I know my life won’t look exactly the same as it does now, and that it won’t be as easy as just taking my kids with me wherever I go, but I do know that I can find enjoyment and healing, no matter where this journey takes me. My husband knows what to look for and how to support me, I have a psychiatrist and therapist I trust that I can call, and I’ll be eating plenty of Thai food in the days before my next cesarean birth.

 

If you’d like more information about my Mindful Mums group, or need support through your pre or postpartum journey, please visit www.ranchocounseling.com/mamas for more info. For more information about pertinal mood and anxiety disorders, please visit www.postpartum.net

Mindfulness for Moms
 
 

Mindfulness and meditation have become buzzwords lately. With the popularity of yoga and other Eastern-influenced practices that are becoming more mainstream, this skill is another valuable one to have in your arsenal as a parent.

Raising little ones is tough. I often feel like my head is going in a million different directions, and it’s not easy to run a business and a household at the same time. Little people have a way of reminding us that we can’t do everything all the time. That dissonance (the difference between your thoughts and actions) can cause some major anxiety, but mindfulness can help in so many ways.

What is mindfulness?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Mindfulness is bringing your attention to what’s happening in the present moment. This includes your internal experience as well as your external experience.

So why is this so helpful?

We have a way of going through life on autopilot. We can often be doing things without even recognizing what we are doing, and if you have an anxious mind it’s easy to be parenting and going through the motions but missing out on what’s really happening.

Have you ever been giving your baby a bath while simultaneously going through the list of things you need to get done after they go to bed?

The little moments that can be so precious are not savored because we simply aren’t present in them. I’m not saying you need to be present for every single moment of bath time, every day of the week – I’m currently writing this post while my 2-year old is splashing around in the tub, but a little bit goes a long way. 

I often think of a woman’s brain like a web browser with 100 tabs open at the top, and we toggle back and forth through each of those tabs at any given moment. It’s often difficult to stop and it can take over and create feelings of overwhelm because it can feel like it’s never ending.

Creating a new reality takes practice, and mindfulness is a practice much like yoga. The more you do it, the stronger that muscle will get – kind of like working any other muscle out at the gym.

Practicing Mindfulness

I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only mama who has experienced overwhelm and anxiety, and so I created the Mindful Mums Group where I teach mindfulness. Moms share their experiences and have a special place where they truly find that they are not alone. They gain the support they need to be open and honest about their struggles and their wins.

There is a ton of ways to practice mindfulness, but the easiest is to just pick a designated activity to start with. I like to do it while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and I choose a time when my kids are asleep or out of the house.

From start to finish, challenge yourself to focus only on the task at hand and engage and pay attention to each of your senses.

While you are brewing your cup of coffee or tea, take the time to smell it as it seeps. While you’re pouring it into your cup, notice the aroma. Notice what the cup feels like in your hands, and take notice of the warmth.

As you take a sip, do it slowly, and notice what it feels like when it first enters your mouth, as it sits on your tongue, and as it goes down your throat and into your stomach.

Drink the entire cup slowly, engaging your senses each time you take a sip. This entire exercise may take 15 minutes. But when was the last time you truly enjoyed a cup of coffee? Mine usually sits on the table and gets cold by time I get to it.

You can do this with anything you’d like, a glass of juice or water, a piece of fruit, or toast.

Once you’ve done this exercise you can translate it to any other activity in your life, including those moments with your little ones that you know you should be more present for. While giving a bath, close those tabs in your brain’s browser and engage your senses. What does the water feel like? What do the bubbles look and smell like? What do your kiddos giggles sound like? Engage in play, give some extra kisses after the bath, sing a song, and be present.

It’s not always easy and I’ve had my fair share of rushed baths full of tears and tantrums, but when I go into the process with the mindset that I want to be present, things seem to turn out so much better.

Often times the stress comes in when we feel overwhelmed with the to-do list in our minds, and feel as though what we are presently doing is just one more thing on that list, which makes it difficult to enjoy.

Mindfulness is a practice. It takes time to implement any kind of change, and support goes a long way. If you’re interested in learning more about Mindful Mums, click HERE. We currently have a few spots open for our upcoming 4-week session, which begins February 10, 2017. 

10 Ways for Mamas to Recharge
 
 

Whether you’ve had a long day with the kiddos, a trying day at work, or pretty simple and easy day, self care for mom seems to get put on the backburner. I hear things like, “There’s not enough time,” or “How can I prioritize myself above my kids?”

The best metaphor I can use here is pouring from an empty cup.

If we have nothing, we’ve got nothing to give.

I explained a little more in-depth about the necessary superpower of asking for help in my last post, so if you haven’t checked it out go and do yourself a huge favor ;)

I’ll admit that mommy guilt can creep up on me like a storm, and running a business can take me away from spending as much time as I think I’m “supposed to” with my kids. After a long day, I want to get in bed with the baby and run my hands over his angel soft little cheeks, and shower him with kisses. I can let that guilt turn me into a fairy Godmother, that grants all the wishes I possibly can in the hour I see them before they go off to bed, and when the sun rises the following day that guilt can trick me into thinking I have to give like I’ve never given before.

I tell myself things like, “I’m going to be present, we are only eating organic, and I’m not going to look at my phone once for the next 24 hours because I was gone all day yesterday, and I really need to give, give, give of myself to this little being." I seriously sound like my favorite #momtruths mamas, Cat & Nat in this hilarious video.

That video is so hilarious because it’s just so true!    

I get to about noon, and all that presence wears me out. My business and my people are so rewarding and fun, but even a day at Disneyland takes a toll and you eventually wish for some quarters for that machine that gives the crumby foot massage. That foot massage is what gives you the pep back in your step and pushes you toward that last ride and then to the car.

It’s not fair to think that we can be present at ALL times. In order to do all the things, mamas need to time to themselves, they need that foot massage to get over the hump, and they need to fill their cup so they can give to their people.

Here are 10 things you can do to recharge your batteries that I think are so much better than that crumby foot massage machine:

1.     Meditate.

In the last several months I’ve become obsessed with my Headspace app. You might think of meditation as some strange thing that only monks do, but it’s truly like a little cat nap for your brain and I highly recommend it. Mama brains are like a website browser that has 1,000 tabs open at all times, and it can be seriously overwhelming to have all the tasks and to-dos floating around in there. Take 10 minutes out of your day and refocus your mind. You’ll come back to your day feeling a little lighter and a little more refreshed.  

2.     Journal.

Capture all of the things that you are grateful for, and the fantastic moments of the day that you don’t want to forget. I love The 5-minute Journal, and it comes in paper form or as an app. When we focus our minds on gratitude, it helps to melt away stress and anxiety and bring us back to what’s really important.

3.     Give yourself permission to use naptime as your time.

Instead of catching up on chores, do something for yourself. Call a friend and catch up, watch that show you've been meaning to get to, even if it's only for 30 minutes and the rest of the time you actually catch up on chores - they're always going to be there. A happy, present mama is worth so much more than a load of laundry. 

4.     Take a bath. 

That sudsy goodness isn’t just for your little ones! After a long day, a nice dip in the tub with the door closed and locked, and no tiny hands rummaging through bathroom cabinets can do wonders for your mind and your body. If you don’t have a bathtub, take a nice long, hot shower. Listen to some music, and indulge in some nice aromatherapy with a sweet-smelling bath salt or body wash.

5.     Hit the gym.

If you can't get to the gym, try something like Stroller Strides, or create your own workout at home. There are so many solutions to the problem of not having childcare, so hit up Google for some exercises with kiddos and babies. Exercise will give you more energy and boost your endorphin levels helping you feel less anxiety and more self-confidence.

6.     Create a space just for you in your home.

For me this is my office. It’s where I go to write, and think, and meditate. Truthfully, it isn’t even all mine, because I share it with my hubby who also works out of there, but that piece of space is just for me. Having a small corner somewhere in your home or yard that’s decorated just for you where you can read, do yoga, or just pass by and look at will remind you that there is more to you than just being mama. Create a little space that’s inviting that will remind you to take a couple minutes for yourself each day.

7.     Join a moms group.

I know not all moms see the value in this, and it can be scary to put yourself out there and meet a group of strangers, but knowing that you’re not alone in your journey as a mama is so important. If you don’t feel up to meeting new people, and already have a group of friends that also have kids, arrange to meet up on an ongoing basis – once a week for a park date or activity. The emphasis here is on connection and the kids will love it too.

8.     Plan a MNO, and make it a recurring event in your calendar. 

Having a kid-free event with your pals on the calendar can help you survive a hellish week of teething, tantrums, and carpool. Plan something fun and give yourself permission to let daddy or the babysitter be in charge for an evening so you can enjoy yourself and do something that makes you happy.

9.     Get a massage or spa treatment. 

Do it without guilt. Carrying around little ones doesn’t just take a toll on your brain, but also on your body. If you can’t realistically plan a full day to indulge at a spa, try booking a 30-minute massage and sneaking out to indulge a little. While you might initially feel a little guilty for this indulgence, focus on the way you feel when you return home to your little people, and keep that in mind. Filling your cup is what’s important here.

10. Plan a retreat weekend. 

This might sound like a big leap here, and as I shared in my last post, I didn’t get to this one for a while. I took a retreat for a long weekend with a fantastic group of Lady Bosses, and it was fantastic! It took some planning and preparation to leave for 3 days, but I came back refreshed, and rejuvenated. Not having to cook or clean up after people, and enjoying full meals without interruption can sometimes be what we need to wind us back up!

So there you have it – I’ve given you 10 ways to recharge and fill your own cup. As you may have noticed, I started small. If taking time for yourself seems selfish, start small and work your way up to doing things that take a little more time and planning, or create your own list and pick and choose things that make you feel like your best self. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, and could use some help, I’m so happy to support my fellow mamas out there, don’t hesitate – pick up the phone and call me (909)226-6124.