Well, I’m a little bit more than halfway through my pregnancy with our little girl! With only fifteen weeks to go, I’ve really started taking a look at some of my own personal habits. What do I already do that will serve me well once she arrives? What do I not do so well that I need to get better at in order to be the best mom I can be? After a lot of soul-searching and much trial and error, here are the top 5 habits I think every mom can work to establish before her baby comes!
- Putting Down Your Phone:
I know, I knowwww. This is so hard! We live in a world where so much of our work and entertainment are on our phones that it’s difficult to imagine forgetting about them for awhile, but it’s so important that we do. The turning point for me was when I imagined what my daughter would draw as a toddler if she was asked to draw a picture of me. I realized that she would probably draw a stick figure holding a cell phone. I don’t want her to think that I cannot be with her without my phone, or that a phone is essential for every second of life. Lately, I’ve really been working on keeping my phone away or in another room the majority of the day, and honestly, I don’t miss it!
- Designating Quality Time With Your Partner:
This is something that Daniel and I have really had to work at throughout our relationship. Pre-pandemic, we were both busy with work and social engagements that it was easy to get caught up in brief “hi & byes” at the beginning and end of each day. Before we knew it, we were like two ships passing in the night. Although our relationship didn’t feel strained, we definitely weren’t as connected as we’d been before. So we started setting up a designated date night each week to make sure that we had at least a solid hour or two of quality time together. Then, the pandemic happened and date nights have been difficult to maintain since we are literally together in the house all day every day.
Our solution? Every night for 10-15 minutes when we climb into bed to read, we talk. Like, really talk–not just about how our day went, but about the things that are bothering us or things that we are struggling with. The time is short, but it’s so valuable. Although it’s not the same as a full-on date night, it’s more manageable for us and will continue to be once the baby gets here. I think it’s really important that you and your partner have a chance each day to just talk to each other as partners and individual people–not as parents.
- Setting Boundaries and Sticking To Them:
This is something that I really struggle with because I’m a people-pleaser by nature. But since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve definitely been more anxious about everything post-baby. I worry about having grandparents come visit and whether or not I’ll be wanting to have a house full of people. I worry about letting people hold the baby because of Coronavirus. I worry about everyone putting in their two cents regarding my parenting decisions.
All of my worrying is put to an end once I accept and understand that it’s okay for me to set boundaries with people in order to do what I think is best for my baby and myself. While people’s feelings might be hurt or while they might not understand, it’s not the end of the world. At the end of the day, it’s what I’m most comfortable with that matters. If you also find yourself saying “yes” to everyone despite the fact that it puts your stomach in knots, start practicing using the word, “no.” Soon you’ll realize that it’s not a dirty little word, and your mental health will thank you for it.
- Asking For And Accepting Help:
I’m very much a “do it yourself” kind of girl. I like things done a certain way, and I prefer to be the one to do them. However, this has gotten me into trouble many times because I burn the candle at both ends and spread myself too thin.
Pregnancy has really forced me to practice asking for help. At first, I was so hindered by morning sickness that I had to accept being stuck in bed and having my husband take care of me. Now, my belly is round and the aches and pains of pregnancy have fully set in, so Daniel has had to start doing more around the house. He now does the dishes at night after dinner, and while I hate the fact that he leaves them out on the counter overnight to dry, I’m grateful that I can sit down and relax for a few minutes.
Motherhood cannot be a one woman show. There’s a reason that the saying, “it takes a village” exists. Find your village, and lean on them.
- Taking 5-10 Minutes For Yourself Each Day:
Even with having more down-time during pregnancy, I still need to make a conscious effort to practice self-care each day. I know that once the baby is here, “me time” will be harder to maintain. Keeping that in mind, I’ve started really embracing my nighttime hygiene routine. I bought a few higher-quality skin-care items than my usual $4 face wash at CVS, and I really enjoy savoring the 5-10 minutes that it takes to wash my face and brush my teeth. I put on my cozy robe, pop some essential oil in my diffuser, play some soft music, and imagine being pampered in a spa while I get ready for bed. Is it as good as the real thing? Perhaps not, but for me, those 5-10 minutes are sacred. They are quiet, peaceful, and all mine. If you don’t already have a self-care routine that’s sustainable, I encourage you to start one!