To the new mom who can’t find time for herself

No matter how organized you perceive yourself to be, time will slip from your grasp once you welcome your little bundle. And mind you, this setup goes beyond the 4th trimester.

As a first-time mom, I said I was ready to switch to zombie mode with lack of sleep. What I didn’t understand was that becoming a mother also requires you to sacrifice “me time”.

I shared my life with my husband when we got married and it was fine. But then my husband is an adult who can eat by himself, can sleep on his own, and doesn’t cry for attention.

I remember being smad (sad and mad) about how I couldn’t do the things I normally do. There was even a day when it was almost sunset when I got the chance to sit down and rest because of the chores I had to do for our home and for our baby. Okay okay, of course, I sat down while I breastfed Tikoy. It’s just that breastfeeding isn’t the same as resting.

Today my son turns seven months and I’m doing better. Here are pieces of advice I can give to those bleary-eyed new moms wondering will they ever reach the bottom of the laundry pile.

1. Accept the change

Accept that your time isn’t just yours to spend and that you can’t do everything you want instantly. Accept that there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t extend it. That your day would probably not go as you plan. It might feel like you are swimming against the current or as if you lost in a race. But when you start to accept that it is okay to take things only one at a time, you’ll stop being hard on yourself. Your life won’t be the way it used to be and it is for the better.

2. Appreciate

It might be hard for you to consider washing the dishes for the nth time an accomplishment — but it is. Appreciate what you manage to finish every day. Also, who knew you can make babies laugh? Aren’t you amazed by how quickly you understand your baby’s cues? Your little one is healthy and happy because you nourish him. Give yourself a pat on the back! Celebrate your involvement in shaping the life of this awesome human being.

3. Prioritize

Household chores and mommy duties are there by default. That leaves you very little time for other things, especially if you are working. So from your endless list of projects to tackle, decide on what you really need to fulfill. If you don’t need it, do not do it. Take it off your mind for now. I remember unsubscribing to daily newsletters because I couldn’t finish reading them, and it accumulates every day, making me feel loaded with more tasks to conquer.

4. Take a break

Sometime after Tikoy turned 3 months, I had to visit the dermatologist because my eczema was flaring up again. I prepared his milk and left him with his Dad and Lola. It was raining as I sat at peace inside the cold, almost empty MRT train. I was outside the house for five hours and it was refreshing! Having alone time cleared my thoughts and helped my haywire mind to rest. Just because you have to take care of the newest addition in your family doesn’t mean you neglect your body. It has done wonderful feats after all.

5. Welcome help/Share the load

I find it customary and funny that moms like to take charge and “run” the house. But at the same time, moms yearn for help and are glad to have another set of hands. Remember it is acceptable to ask for help. But if you’re not getting it (ahem husbands), demand. Lucky you if your husband has initiative. If there is none, bare your fangs (I’m serious, not that I need to do this).

Before you know it, they won’t cry when you leave to wash the dishes. They’ll be sitting and playing on their own and you’ll get a whiff of their independence. Right now, your baby depends on you. He must be ticking off developmental milestones and so are you for watching close by and giving encouragement. Indulge in his squeals of delight as he discovers the world. Sleep-deprived you know that the nights are long but the years are short.

Take it easy, you will find the time. Maybe not now, maybe not later. Maybe you’re eager for your little one to fall asleep early at night so you can at least spend time on social media. But then maybe you’re too sleepy and exhausted to do that so you just doze off as well.

You must have taken multi-tasking at home to the next level. For sure you are also learning from your baby. Don’t think you are wasting time not doing your thing. Your time is precious and so are the people you’re spending it with.

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