I had a baby earlier this year, and I'll admit it: I'm kind of a mess right now. I'm not sleeping enough, I'm not eating enough, and I'm certainly not getting any "me" time. But honestly, that's OK. Maybe I look like a mess, but my new baby is my top priority right now, and I feel just fine with that. I really don't mind letting myself go postpartum, and honestly, if you're like me and you just had a baby, you probably should, too.
I had 3 kids before my last baby, so I knew what to expect this time around. I knew my sleep would be cut short and that I would only occasionally get to shower. I knew that most of my days would be spent cleaning, cooking, and holding my baby, especially now that my little one is teething and his gums are bothering him.
I also knew that I wouldn't have any time for myself, so I had to prioritize accordingly. I started baby-wearing around the house, just so I could fill up the dishwasher without my son crying to be held. I also started planning my days in advance so I could get things done, which means I don't have time for the gym or yoga class. But for now, I'm OK with that.
Before I had my baby, I had a great deal of time to myself. My other children are much older, so they usually don't need me to do that much for them. Yes, I had to cook them dinner, get them to and from school, and help them with their homework, but aside from that I had ample time for self-care. I tried out different hairstyles, had my nails done, and planned my outfits in advance. I went shopping for clothes and went to yoga class. Recently, however, I've started wearing my hair in a topknot and exclusively wearing yoga pants, even though I'm not going to yoga. (And no, my nails are not done.)
Our culture tries to make women think that after we give birth, we're supposed to immediately go back to the way we looked before pregnancy. But nine times out of 10, that's just not going to happen.
Being a mom takes a lot out of you, and there are times when I'm extremely stressed out. But now that I'm a little older than I was when I had my first child, I feel like I'm better equipped to handle it. I'm more patient. I'm more aware of how to manage my time so I can get daily tasks done. I know that when my son falls asleep, I should rush around the house to get as much done as possible, and I also know approximately when he'll wake up, so I can make time to do the most important things, like eating or getting a shower in, first.
I also know from experience that things will get easier as my son gets older. Once I no longer need to change his diaper, give him his bottle, and hold him every minute, I'll have much more time to worry more about me.
It's not that I don't care about fitness or self-care. I'm just not that focused on "getting my body back." Yes, I still have about 10 pounds to lose before I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I'm not letting it bother me. I don't weigh myself every day like I used to. The scale is in the bathroom, tucked away behind the door, so if I don't see it, I'm not thinking about it. There are so many other things to worry about.
My body isn't in the best shape right now. But it looks the way it does because it brought my four incredible children into this world.
Our culture tries to make women think that after we give birth, we're supposed to immediately go back to the way we looked before pregnancy. But nine times out of 10, that's just not going to happen. While magazine headlines praise celebrities' awesome '"post-baby bodies," I don't have the help of a trainer or a nanny to watch my newborn while I'm working out at the gym. I don't need to look amazing on a red carpet, and I most certainly don't have to worry about paparazzi following me and taking unflattering pictures. I have the luxury of working from home, which means that if I want to walk around with a greasy topknot all day, I can do that without being judged for it.
My body isn't in the best shape right now. But it looks the way it does because it brought my four incredible children into this world. My body reflects sacrifice and love. So while I might be putting off self-care, I'm concentrating on my baby and my work. When I have somewhere important to go or something important to do, I'll worry about scheduling a manicure or a hair appointment. But for now, you can find me in my yoga pants.