You! Remember you? The you before you were Mom? Be kind to yourself. Make time for yourself.
When my sons were babies, I often found motherhood to be all-consuming. I loved being with my sons so much that I didn't want to ever be away from them. I let a lot of hobbies slip away.
I found a solution that worked for me. One day a month, I hired a teen babysitter to come to my home and watch my sons for a few hours while I scrapbooked — my most cherished hobby. I paid her $20 for two hours, which felt like money well spent. What's your sanity worth?
The babysitter would take my boys to the playroom or outside to play, and I could scrapbook and watch Hallmark movies and not feel guilty!
Here's what our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — do to make time for themselves.
"You can't live 24/7 for your kids," says Heather Orman-Lubell, M.D., a mom of two sons and a pediatrician in private practice at Yardley Pediatrics of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Pennsylvania. "That's not good for anyone. You have to get past the guilt of taking time away. I'm a runner, and I tell my husband that running is a lot cheaper than therapy. My family knows that I need to run to stay sane. They've been known to say, 'Mom's cranky; she needs to go run.'"
"I never understood why people said that they were so busy with a newborn that they couldn't take a shower — until I had a newborn," says Rachel Rohde, M.D., a mom of a daughter and a son, an associate professor at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and a partner in Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons in Southfield, Michigan. "I always made time to eat and to take a shower, even if it meant putting my daughter in her bouncy seat and taking her into the kitchen or bathroom with me. I also make sure to have my 'alone time' to decompress after our daughter went to bed."
"My husband and I are very good at reading each other and knowing when we need a break," says Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, M.D., a mom of two daughters and a pediatric gastroenterologist in Staten Island, New York. Simon is also the founder and CEO of Dr. Simon's Remedy, a line of natural products for babies. "He'll say, 'Why don't you go to the gym? I'll watch the kids.' Or he'll encourage me to meet a friend for lunch, and I do the same for him. We try to do as many things together as a family as we can, but we know that we need time away, too. It's important to give your partner that time to recharge."
"I used to feel bad taking time for myself, but now I realize it's an important part of maintaining a healthy family environment," says Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., an internal medicine specialist in Anniston, Alabama, and the author of "Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity." "As they say, 'If Mama's not happy, no one's happy.' To recharge my batteries, I spend time each day doing something I love to do. I enjoy writing, so in the evenings after I put my sons to bed, I make time to write. Writing is an outlet for me to express myself; it helps me work through thoughts and emotions. I think it's great for mothers to preserve a creative outlet during the early parenting years. It's very easy to forget your own needs as you spend so much time focusing on the needs of your child. Whether it's music, painting, poetry, writing, reading or any number of creative options, having a way to express your individuality helps to remind you of your own needs and the importance of self-care."
Dr. Rallie's Tips
"Playtime shouldn't just be for babies. New moms still need to have fun to reduce stress levels and to maintain their physical and emotional health. The first step is for moms to define what counts as play, because it's different for everyone. It might be enjoying a game of tennis or losing yourself in a brand-new video game.
"When my babies were little, my personal playtime involved reading a few chapters of a good book or going for a run — sans jogging stroller. Once the baby is born, playing becomes less spontaneous, so moms need to plan for it. — Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay