Mums & Tots: How to pick yourself up after having a baby

Mums & Tots 800x400“Ah I remember those days” she said. 

I looked up blankly at the lady standing staring at me in the queue as I waited for my coffee. Grabbing a rare 5 minutes before I had to make the dash to the school, I’d taken myself into the nearest cafe and ordered the largest coffee they had to offer. 

“The days are long but the years are short” she whispered as she nodded her head at my shoulder. I looked down and realised that I had dried up dribble in a big patch, like a bird had delightfully dropped one from above. Great. 

I looked myself in the mirror behind the counter and noticed, between the various bits and bobs on the shelf, my scruffy hair and weary face. How had I even come out the house looking like this?

It was at that point that I realised I was a mess. I mean, for a stranger to come over and let you know in a round-about way that you won’t look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards forever, that it is bad.

I decided right then and there that I was going to make more time for myself. I was going to pick up all of the little pieces of myself and put myself back together again. 

Where do you even start?

There doesn’t seem to be a handbook for this. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to tell you how on earth you find yourself again. Trust me, I looked. There are plenty of books letting you know that it is normal, that motherhood is hard, but nothing to tell you how in the hell you can dig yourself out of the trench!

After a lot of reading and late-night searches online, I made myself a plan. A plan to find my way back to being me again. Not the pre-kids me, but a brand new ‘I am a mum and I am also awesome‘ me. 

5 steps to finding yourself again

It isn’t easy making time for yourself. You have to grab the chances when you can but you also have to learn to make the time. Ask for support from friends and family, even for an hour, so you can do something just for you. 

Here are 5 things you can do to help pick yourself back up again:

– Put on makeup every day. I’m telling you, this was a game changer for me. Just by putting on a little BB cream and some lippy, it made me feel like I could conquer the world. 

– Dress to impress – yourself! I have a video all about this and it is something that has made my confidence soar. If you make an effort with your outfit each day you will look and feel great. 

– Exercise. Now let me tell you, I have always hated exercise. So this is coming from a place of understanding for anyone who recoils at the mere mention of getting active. But let me also tell you that starting aerobics has been the best thing I have ever done. So many happy hormones!

– Write a journal – specifically a gratitude journal. By making a note of all of the great things in your life and things that make you smile each day, you will increase your overall happiness.

– Talk, talk, talk. It was only when I opened up to a friend that I realised how low I felt and how much I needed support. Motherhood changes us all and it is so very overwhelming. So chat to friends – chances are they are feeling just like you. 

I am sure that there are still days when I leave the house with a big dribble patch on my shoulder but if I should catch myself in a mirror now, I would see a  happier mum smiling back at me. Life is still hectic, my eye bags are still there, but I make the time to brush my hair, put on a nice outfit and surround myself with mums who just get it. 

Motherhood is tough but you are tougher. You can do it, you just need some lippy and a whole lot of coffee. 

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About Katy WhatKatySaid

Katy is a busy mum of 3 and blogs over at What Katy Said, sharing tips to help other mums get more organised and make more time for themselves. Starting out as a way to help others, her award nominated blog has now become her full time career and she is regularly listed as one of the top 10 baby bloggers in the UK. Connect with her over on Twitter @WhatKatySaidUK.

15 Comments

  1. 22 June 2018 / 20:41

    I find this a bit tough to read tbh. As a new mum twice over where both my babies were plagued with allergies and screamed non stop from approx 24 hours old, this is crap information. For some women out there, it is MUCH harder than you could ever have imagined, and if only wearing makeup and power dressing could have helped! Disappointing Britmums

    • 25 June 2018 / 17:51

      Dear Emma

      Oh dear it sounds like you’ve had a very challenging time as a new and second-time Mum. Our heart goes out to you. Of course not every tactic works for every parent. We all need to find what works for our individual situation. We do think Katy’s suggestions are valuable and these strategies definitely worked for us. Really the most important is number 5: for all of us to talk about and share our experiences of motherhood and know we are not alone, no matter what we’re going through. You’ve reminded us of that!

      X

      • 25 June 2018 / 22:55

        Thanks for your reply, PND leaves so many mothers unable to even talk. Blogging back then helped me and perhaps that could have been on this list? As for talking… In no way could I have told anyone how I was actually feeling… suicidal at my lowest point. Perhaps I should have done, certainly all these years on I’m happy to share that now to raise awareness of just how bad it can be for mums left holding the screaming baby that can’t sleep for pain… Light hearted articles like this just remind me of how I should have been able to have coped. Should have been able to have pulled myself out of the hole. Only thing that did that was time. I finally liked being a mum when they turned 6 and 3. By 7 and 4 I had it sussed. Now they are heading for 10 and 7 and I absolutely love my girls to bits and motherhood is the best thing I have ever accomplished. It’s sad looking back!
        I raised my point for all the women out there that need a lifeline not a lipstick. Thank you.

    • 25 June 2018 / 18:07

      Hi Emma. I’m really sorry that my post didn’t resonate with you. I actually have 2 allergy babies myself, Lily who has now grown out of hers at 4 years old and Wills who is still very much on his allergy journey. So I completely get where you are coming from on this in terms of needing more support than just popping on some lippy.
      Where I was coming from with this was 2 years down the line, as a mum to 3 kids under 6 years old and someone who has completely lost her way. For 6 years I have been someone who clears up mess, ferries kids on the school run and puts everyone else first. So putting on some lippy truly did help me to realise that it was about time I put myself first.
      I hope your children are ok, if you ever want to chat allergies then email me on [email protected] and I’ll be happy to lend an ear xx

      • 25 June 2018 / 23:00

        Hi Katy, just saw your tweet so have left reply above. No hard feelings, just couldn’t get to grips with the light hearted approach. Thank you for your reply.

  2. 25 June 2018 / 18:40

    I love this post – and you are so right. I don’t have babies (and never had) but I did have 2 adopted little ones at 3 and 5 and it was HARD. Beyond hard in fact. I was suddenly Mummy to 2 preschoolers having gone from having none to 2 overnight. I barely managed to get them out of the door in the morning and felt as though I was drowning in being a mum. Until a wonderful parent told me to do some self-care first! She said I couldn’t be the best mum possible to the kids if I didn’t look after myself. So I made sure I met with a friend once a week to talk about anything and nothing, and made sure I had a long pampering session once a week in the bathroom once the kids were in bed. It was still incredibly hard but I felt so much more like me again!

    • 25 June 2018 / 18:55

      I definitely need to have a pamper session more often! Feeling more like yourself just helps you to deal with things that little bit better doesn’t it? xxx

    • 25 June 2018 / 19:36

      Self-care is such a great way to put it. Thanks, Cherry.

  3. 25 June 2018 / 18:43

    I definitely agree with the journaling. I find this so helpful at the end of a hard day, more so if my OH has been part of the problem.

    Your other points are also great ideas (although I still haven’t found the love for exercise).

    Parenting isn’t easy, I know I’ve been one for almost 21 years and my youngest two are currently being assess for additional needs. But if there is one thing that I have found in that time, it’s that you need to do something for yourself every day. This could be as simple as sticking on some lippy or, if time permits, having a soak in the bath. On really bad days I have been know to take my cuppa to the toilet so I could drink it while it was still hot.

    • 25 June 2018 / 19:33

      The bathroom is definitely a place to go for a quiet 5 minutes, isn’t it? And honestly – I never thought I would love exercise but I am now addicted! x

  4. 25 June 2018 / 18:48

    Great article, and one I found quite interesting to read. I’m mum of 3 aged 20, 18, 8 and my last in particular we found out much later on, was intolerant of dairy. It was horrific for him and of course for the whole house. Sometimes, the early days are super hard to get through, but when you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I agree that adding some of your suggestions into the mix can help you feel more human and better about yourself, even if your lippy is a bit wonky!

    • 25 June 2018 / 19:35

      That is it, isn’it? In the beginning, there is just no room for thinking about much else. In fact, it is only 6 years in that I even realised how much I needed my own space. xxx

  5. 25 June 2018 / 19:04

    This is so true. Even second time round I’m so guilty of not making time for myself. My youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year age 2. I think I was just starting to come out of the black hole of sleep deprivation and then the grief of this set in. Looking after myself seemed so not important! But even now I know that I am a better mum if I do the above. I feel more in control. I feel better about myself if I have made an effort even though hard, to shower if possible, put makeup on and not throw on the same baggy jeans. I’m working on the exercise part! I hate it but I feel so much better from it so that’s the next on the list!

    • 25 June 2018 / 19:36

      Oh I am so sorry you had to go through this. But you are right, you will be in a better frame of mind to support everyone else if you are at your best. And yep, definitely get on the exercise train – does wonders for those happy hormones! x

  6. 25 June 2018 / 19:48

    I survived the baby stage in a mix of utter exhaustion and elation. For me it’s almost tougher now the kids are older and I’m supposed to be everything to everyone and a business woman as ‘the kids don’t need you so much now they’re bigger’. Truth is they need me just as much if not more in some ways and finding time for self care is a challenge. Putting on one thing that makes me feel good really does help, both now and the back in the days of little ones. Exercise is tough for me thanks to a back injury but even a gentle walk does wonders. Thanks for the reminder.