I wrote this post two months ago. But like a lot of things I’ve been doing lately, I procrastinated positing it. Not sure why…I guess I thought I’d have more to add later. And I do. I’m going to keep the original intro though coz it had a nice ring to it 😉 so bear with me.
Next Friday will mark 5 months since I became a mom for the second time, 5 years after doing it the first time.
I’ll be honest with you I was TERRIFIED to leave the hospital. I wasn’t sure I could do it again especially after so long and was feeling very overwhelmed. I think I even had a bit of cry about it. I reached out to my village of moms-a small and sacred group of friends I’ve had since high school who I’ve managed to stay very close to despite all living on different continents-who gave me a much needed pep talk and support. They reminded me I wasn’t crazy or inadequate for feeling the way I was and it calmed my anxiety a tonne.
My first time around motherhood I was totally immersed in all things baby- and don’t get me wrong, I had to be, to ‘learn’ how this mothering thing goes. But I realized I cannot be the same this time around because that baby is now a hyper, talkative, attention seeking soon to be 6 year old that needs me to play musical statues, sing French songs, watch Matilda, Trolls, Shrek and Hidden Figures on a loop all while having had only 4 hours of sleep. Hello naps, hello coffee!
I’m way past the 3 month mark and I don’t feel so foggy anymore. I’ve paid very close attention to what I need to parent well and that self care needs to be paramount. Therefore, I have taken steps to focus on what I need to do to take care of myself spiritually and creatively. I feel confident and the thing I’m most aware of is that I am present or at least I am aware that I need to be.
I also didn’t want to feel disconnected from the world while also limiting my time on social media especially when my kids are awake and need me to pay attention. I can always rely on my kid to bark “put down your phone! focus!” when I forget what time it is.
So my self care this second time around includes:
*NAPS: because #napssavelives
*Reading: I read a chapter or two of a book before bed
*Breathing: I try to take several deep breaths throughout the day (especially when my kid is testing my patience and also when I’m watching The Handmaid’s Tale-that show is bananas on my blood pressure!)
*Meditating: I downloaded the Headspace app and though I’ve fallen off, I try to do it at least twice a week.
*Walking: I drop off my kid at school in the morning and take my time walking home, appreciating the weather and everything around me.
*Gratitude: remembering to say thank you even and especially to my hubs and the kid.
*Praying: every night and every morning.
*Affirmations: every morning and throughout the day when I need it.
*Podcasting: By far my favourite thing about mat leave has been listening to @Luvvie’s #RantsandRandomness and her new collaboration with Yvonne Orji #JesusandJollof. Laughter is good for the soul people. Don’t sleep on these two.
Other ones I’m enjoying are: Myleik’s podcast MyTaughtYou. I also follow Myleik on IG and when I need a word she delivers. Another podcast I enjoy is Nana Aba Duncan’s Media Girlfriends.
All of the above have made it much ‘smoother’ second time around and it also helps that baby #2 is calm and allows me to do things I wasn’t able to the first time, around: like shopping without darting in and out of stores, sitting down at a restaurant and actually eating my food without interruption, and writing this post coz he’s asleep. I should be sleeping shouldn’t I? Oh well, I’ll be up in a few hours so might as well stay up right? 😉
But to be totally honest, self care can be hard. Obviously life isn’t a bed of roses so it’s not smooth sailing everyday just coz I’ve napped for forty minutes. As part of my self care last month, I did something I’ve never done before. I (randomly) bought some plants when I decided to join ‘Let Go’. I fell instantly in love and had to have them. So I bought them and promised to love them and not let them die. A week later my hubs was closing the window and didn’t see them on the other side and they all came tumbling down. I.WAS.CRUSHED. For hours I left them soil-less gasping for air and comfort while I slowly tried not to fall apart. Two hours later, after breakfast and a session of Headspace, I gathered up the soil and what was left of them and repotted them in the pots that were lucky enough to be plastic.
I felt like this was kind of a metaphor for life. Things will fall apart (no pun intended), but if we allow ourselves to feel it, sit in it, then get up and try to move through it whether by putting it back together or finding a whole new solution, we can keep going. Keep watering ourselves.
So I’m off to water myself and my little obsessions.