How I Mastered Self-Care By Un-Mastering Motherhood
Alena C., The Lip Bar Brand Manager, wears shade "Hot Mama."
In December of 2014, I became a mother.
EVERYTHING changed. My skin, my hair, my shoe size, my hormones, my ability to fit comfortably into my coupe. And that was just pregnancy.
The elasticity and the feeling in my lower abdomen was non existent, sleep was nonexistent, the size of my areolas — who even knew they could expand and change colors like this! The ability to check email, properly plan out my day — leave the house without pumping or nursing every few hours, forget about it!
I'm not too cool to say that motherhood laughed at me (and all my plans) in the face! Now three kids later, when other first-time moms ask me my best piece of advice, I tell them:
- The sooner you embrace it, the better it will be.
- Do it YOUR way.
Everything that I shared above, I complained about every single day. Especially breast-feeding. I just could not for the life of me understand how — or why — I had suddenly become a cow to this cute little face and why this precious little face needed so much milk. I once read a mom blog that stated, "you will be nursing 95% of your day in the first several weeks and anything out of that consider a blessing, accept it and move on." Something about that article struck a nerve, and it changed everything for me; it instantly shifted my perspective about my new role.
Instead of increasing my anxiety and complaining about how easy life used to be, I suddenly started embracing motherhood. Nothing about my new normal had changed, I was just finally ready to accept this newer version of myself. The only problem was I didn't read that blog until half-way through my second pregnancy! Which meant I spent over a year of my life in a personal battle between my old-self, my new-self and my real-self. I spent an enormous amount of time trying to keep up with all of the things I enjoyed pre-baby. Then, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to "do motherhood right" like all the moms in the books, blogs and social media. Whew, exhausting.
It took me three whole babies to figure out that just when you think you have it figured out and you've "mastered" this motherhood thing, they switch it up on you. Which is why I often describe my journey as "UnMastering Motherhood." It's one where I embrace the journey that's unique to me and my family, and it's the one where I learn what works for me. It's the one where I can chat with other moms for advice, listen to a ton of podcasts and even read pages of the latest scientific research and still ultimately decide that my way is good enough and that Alena The Mom, me, is more than enough.
The best self-care any mother can give herself is permission to simply embrace her own journey confidently.