The December before my son was born, I wrote a long list of New Year’s resolutions that included finishing my novel, getting my house organized, and learning Spanish in my free time
Needless to say I don’t habla español or have a particularly organized house, but I do have a better idea of how to keep a newborn alive — and keep myself sane. So this year, I’m coming up with some very doable New Year’s resolutions for new moms that I wish I’d actually thought of.
Live and learn, friends.
1. Eat sitting down once in a while
This is one we can all work on, right? Eat at an actual table; not standing at a counter, preparing someone else’s food, and ideally not with any other small humans attached to/or eating from your body. I was the queen of one-handed snacks I could chow down on while breastfeeding, and while it was convenient, it became a too-frequent habit.
Sitting down to enjoy an actual meal (possibly with utensils and a napkin) for a few minutes should not feel like an indulgence, new moms. No one was ever martyred for their standing-while-eating abilities.
2. Commit to showering, say, 3 times a week
No, using the perineum spray bottle does not count as showering (although I still recommend it). If you feel like it’s been days since your last shower, I bet you can find those 5 minutes if you really really commit to it.
Feeling ambitious? Shave your legs up to your knees once in a while. It feels good.
3. Leave the house in clothes without spit-up stains
My son had a sixth sense for knowing when I was about to leave the house looking like an adult and was always sure to turn me into a human dishrag. Sploosh!
So stop it with the scarves or the button-up cardigans or the secret tricks we all use to hide those baby stains before we step out of the door. We’re only fooling ourselves. Put on something new and fresh for the outside world and save the stained stuff for feeding time. Wearing clean clothes when you leave the house really does make you feel pretty awesome, and you’ll notice the difference immediately.
Also, friends and coworkers will stop worrying about you so much.
4. Commit to having conversations that have no references whatsoever to your baby.
Hey, as writers and frequent social media users, we all know that shop talk with your fellow new parent brigade who share those trenches can be essential. But don’t lose yourself in it all! Talk about something else you’re passionate about — books, cooking, ice hockey, The Bachelor…whatever. Rediscovering those lost loves can help tap into much needed energy.
By the way, this goes double for your friends who don’t have kids or have older kids. They’ll smile and nod and look at your unedited roll of 6000 digital baby photos politely — and they might even tolerate a comment about the latest diaper explosion. But honestly, they’d rather talk about something else. Anything else.
Try it. I know you can do it!
5. Accept help. Just once, until you get better at it.
I guarantee you have someone — a friend, a neighbor, your mother-in-law, your partner or spouse — who’s offered to help and you’ve turned it down. Stop that immediately.
This is arguably the toughest life transition you may ever go through. So while we can’t all get down with the typical self-care tips (like, sorry if we can’t get out to “the spa” every Sunday, magazine editors), at least take care of yourself in the form of accepting whatever help is offered.
There are no trophies for “Most Laundry Done by a Single Person” or “New Mom Who Carried the Baby and Six Bags of Groceries All At Once” (though maybe there should be). So say yes to someone holding the baby! Say yes to “I’ll do the nighttime feedings tonight, honey.” Say yes to a couple hours of babysitting during naptime so you can get your roots done.
And definitely say yes to someone taking the baby for a stroll around the neighborhood long enough for you to veg out in front of some Netflix show you won’t even remember the next day. Me-time doesn’t all have to be about productivity.
Maybe you could even use that time to eat while sitting down.
Top image: Valeria Zoncoll via Unsplash