This past weekend some of our dearest friends came to visit, including a couple who moved down to Southern California just before Eloise was born. With no kids yet themselves, they had plenty of questions about new parenthood and somehow I found myself describing how important my coconut-milk shampoo has become to me. Sounds absurd, I know.
However, when your life revolves around someone who is almost six months old, every little moment on your own takes on new meaning. Where before I could care less about how my shampoo smelled, now taking a shower without worrying about whether she is crying is a luxury and washing my hair is a sensory experience. Suddenly, the littlest things feel like pampering, including the smell of my shampoo and the feel of hot water.
Coincidentally, another friend featured a post about self-care on her blog today with the invitation to write about pampering in exchange for a sweepstakes entry. This got me thinking about how self-care has transformed to include the smallest acts in these early months of motherhood. Now, a cup of fragrant tea is a moment I have to carve out for myself when there is no need to have my sweet girl in my arms. Likewise, sitting here and typing on my blog is another expression of self-care that felt like normal, everyday life before Eloise arrived.
Maybe that’s part of the beauty of becoming a parent. Where before I would get home from work and lament having only five or so hours to myself, now I am lucky to get a half hour that is entirely my own and often that half hour is filled with activities I used to take for granted as basic to my survival, like eating and personal hygiene. Accordingly, I try to treat myself with foods I look forward to eating and self-care products I enjoy using, like a scrubby face wash or a water bottle with a cool design.
In other words, being a new mom has given me a deeper appreciation for the littlest things in life, the very same things I never used to give a second thought. Of course, I try to also take care of myself in bigger ways, like arranging for family to watch Eloise while I go to yoga classes and asking for massage gift certificates for my birthday. It is amazing how just a couple massage sessions with our doula have reminded me to be aware of my body again. I also recently bought myself an essential oil diffuser after realizing how much scent can affect my mood.
Motherhood is so much about giving that sometimes we forget to give to ourselves. The weeks that have gone by where I have not been intentional about making time for myself have been the hardest. However, when I remember to take care of me too, staying at home with my girl feels like the best decision I have ever made and I am a much better, more present mother for it.
How do you take care of yourself? I’d love to hear– I know I could still use a few more ideas. And, you should also head over to Ashley’s blog and check out her sweepstakes, I made sure to enter by writing this post!