Day 13: Wellness Challenge

I was speaking with a friend of mine who follows my blog and reads all my post (if only I had about a thousand more friends, I would be rolling in followers). In the midst of our conversation, she casually asked; “So, what did you work out today?” I told her that because of my busy schedule that day, I hadn’t worked out. I had done my stretches and then went on with my day of running around with a 6-month-old in tow. She let out a long sigh and frowned. “That sucks. Looks like it’s back to day one of your fitness challenge.”

My brows furrowed. What was she talking about? What fitness challenge? It was then that she brought up my blog post almost two weeks ago where I basically announced I was going to ‘Carpe Diem’ my life.

That blog was not about the start of a fitness challenge, but more of a wellbeing challenge.

I did not merely want to be fit. I wasn’t signing a contract with myself that stated I would work out around the clock, become extremely fit and all that goes along with it. I want to be healthy, yes, but that is more than just fitness. When I told her it was a Wellbeing Challenge, not a fitness one, she looked at me completely baffled.

What does it mean?

It means that I have stopped putting off things I can control until tomorrow.

There was a lot I was shrugging off, telling myself I would get done tomorrow. Errands, goals, even just basic hygiene. Gross, right? Well… when you are a parent, especially to one of a child under the age of three, some things, especially when they are things for yourself, get put on the back burner. Sometimes they get forgotten altogether. This was one of the biggest and most important things I wanted to change. It is absolutely okay for me to do things for myself, putting myself first in small instances before being a mom or being a wife.

I am brushing my teeth, I am showering daily, I am stretching in the mornings and getting in a workout if my schedule allows it, I am making meals for myself and actually sitting down to eat them while they are still warm. These are things I can easily control, things that work towards my overall health both mentally and physically, and they have been things I have been neglecting since becoming a mom.

Keeping a Journal.

This was something I did a lot when I was younger. I had fallen in love with my cursive writing when I was about ten and thought to myself that I was going to write down absolutely everything I could, all the time. Poems, skits, short stories, every detail of my life written down and kept.

I haven’t kept a journal in almost ten years, but I remember how refreshing it was. To write all your feelings down on a page, to list your goals and your wildest dreams, bringing them to life in some small way, even if just at that moment, they were only words on a page.

There is a lot we keep to ourselves. As we become adults, we grow and adapt. One of the things we learn is that we can’t just say whatever we want all the time. There are repercussions attached to our words, consequences that may not be worth the weight that is temporarily lifted from your shoulders.

One of the things I wanted to start with my Wellbeing Challenge, was journaling again. It is so great to just pour your heart out onto a page. No judgements, no fear. I have to say, anyone that is feeling overwhelmed or unhappy, start journaling. Sometimes when you just let your words flow, you write down things you may not even know you were thinking in the first place.

More meals, just for me.

This may almost seem silly, but when my husband goes to work there are days I forget to do more than snack. I am playing with my daughter, we are going for walks, I am constantly on for her that somehow I forget that I need to eat too. And actually, eat.

I was getting into the bad habit of ‘Man, I am hungry. Maybe I will just snack on these crackers.’ and not actually making a full meal for myself. Aside from the obvious hunger, this was really bad for my energy levels and that affected everything throughout the day. My mood, my procrastination, my whole schedule was determined by my lack of energy would all have been helped by better meals.

Water.

Water, water, and more water.

It honestly helps with so much. Have a slight headache, drink more water. Feeling overly tired, drink more water. Not hungry, drink some water.

I got into the bad habit of having a coffee as soon as I woke up (decaf :(), that coffee would often be cold before I could finish off the half pot I had brewed so I would just reheat and drink that through the day. Which means there were literally days when I would go without a glass of water. It sounds crazy, but it’s how a lot of us are living. We drink coffee, teas, juices, and all the while we are forgetting that we should still be having water on top of all this other stuff.

I start my mornings off with two tall glasses of water before my stretches, and a third when I am through.

Blog out negative people, and their negative energy.

A lot of people live their lives with a social circle that may have a few bad eggs in it. They’ve lived in their circle for so long, that they shrug off the anxiety and judgement that goes along with being a part of it because they tell themselves that is just the way it is. They don’t want to make changes, they don’t want to be honest with themselves and say that maybe this person isn’t the kind of person I want in my life.

If it isn’t your personal social circle of friends, it could be family, or it could be people that have come into your life riding on the back of your partner. When you welcome a new person into your life and dive into a new relationship, sometimes you are so wrapped up in that person and how they are changing your life that you don’t stop and ask yourself if the people that walked through the door with him are adding anything positive to your life, or whether or not they may be harming you.

A lot of the mommies in my group talk about how their In-Laws add so much stress to their lives, how they belittle their abilities as parents, and spouses and how so much anxiety is built up with each visit and conversation. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine. I was lucky enough to marry into a great family, but I know that isn’t everyone’s story.

I am going to say something completely crazy here; you are not obligated to have a relationship with your in-laws if they don’t treat you well. WHOA! Insert explosion sounds here.

Mind blown!

Your mental health and wellbeing are more important than keeping face with people who could care less about your opinion or worth. It’s up to your partner to step in and be the barrier you need from them if they treat you poorly. They should put their foot down, and lay down the law. However, that isn’t always something everyone is capable of, and if they aren’t setting strict rules for how their family treats you, then you have every right to back away and tell him that you refuse to interact with people who treat you that way.

I may not have had to do this with my In-Laws but I have done it with other people. Even those who may not necessarily be abusive, but there are other types of taxing relationships that aren’t good for you. Like people who depend on you too much but don’t offer any type or comfort to you when you are distressed, or people who cheer on procrastination and act more like speed bumps or road bumps in your life.

You can dictate who gets to be in your life, and you should.

Asking for more help.

Being a new mom and parent is hard, and for some reason, it seems like a lot of people are afraid to admit that it is hard. They don’t want to talk about the struggle, they just want to highlight the good times and hide behind the fact that it’s a blessing. Well, things can be more than one thing.

Being a mom can be hard as hell, and it can also be a blessing. You can be a dishevelled mess on the brink of a mental breakdown and still acknowledge that your baby is glorious and everything you ever wanted.

Asking for help is healthy, and everyone should do it more in every aspect of their life.

Whether it is parenting, whether it is at work, or just improving yourself.

Ask for help if you need it.

Another important thing is accepting help when you may not have asked for it. There are so many proud people out there afraid to have someone help prop them up when they are falling? Why?

We all need help, and we shouldn’t be shamed out of asking for it.

Getting more sleep. 

This has to be the hardest thing thus far.

I co-sleep with my daughter. We share a Queen sized bed which a lot of people would think is plenty of room. However, those people must not have ever slept with an infant before because let me tell you, it is not.

More often than not, I wake up with hands tangled in my hair, feet smooshed against my face, the daunting stare of a little girl who is pooping and wants eye contact while she does it. I sleep on the edge of the bed while she is sprawled out, babbling in her sleep, inching somehow closer and closer to me.

Since my daughter has betrayed me and said ‘Da-Da’ first, she calls out for him in the mornings. He comes and gets her and they spend the morning together while I get an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep.

It’s glorious.

Outside of that, I have learned to nap. I will set her in her swing or playpen, or even her crib to play at times during the day when I am extremely exhausted and could benefit for half an hour of shut-eye.

Sleep is so important and a lot of parents learn to function without it, but over time it weighs on you and can affect your mood, your energy level, your thought process, and even your emotions. Sure, we can all function on coffee with a high level of illogical rage, but should we?

Having tough conversations.

So many people hold in a lot of their thoughts. They think more about other people’s feelings than they do their own, which most of the time is okay.
Sometimes we do it way too often. We are afraid to have the difficult conversations because we know it will be awkward and we will feel naked and bare.

Have those conversations.

It’s so important to unload, to not have this fictitious relationship with people because you never say what you are thinking and never tell them when you disagree.

It’s liberating to be your true self with someone, within reason. Don’t be spiteful and mean, just be honest.

I am sure there are other little things on my list of self-care that I am forgetting, but I have drafted this blog entry a half a dozen times, constantly being interrupted by my tiny dictator, so there is a lot that is getting forgotten, I am sure.

Challenge yourself to care more about your wellbeing, and do things that are specific to you. Not everyone neglects themselves in the same way.

Getting To Know Our Bodies

When I was pregnant, my mind couldn’t stop going back to health class. It astounded me all the things they left out. It was like our bodies were these secrets meant to be kept, which unfortunately means that so many of us are completely left in the dark.

Perhaps it was my Catholic School’s policy of abstinence is the best and only true form of birth control, but if I am being honest, not too many of the teachers really pushed this, and they were more than willing to answer any questions that may have popped up about sex and everything that goes along with it. The curriculum left a lot in the shadows.

It wasn’t until I went on mommy blogs and forums that I realized that I wasn’t the only one. There were remarks like “Your first period after giving birth will be heavier because all that blood has been stored up.” As though there is a dam in there that has remained closed, all the blood you are supposed to be shedding pooling up behind it, waiting to be released. Other things like “I thought all women could breastfeed, regardless of whether they’ve had a baby.” And “I don’t understand why women can’t just hold in their periods until they have to go to the bathroom.” Really shines a light on how our education has failed us in letting us fully understand our bodies.

There is so much about myself that has me baffled, parts of my own reproductive system that I had no clue about and still wouldn’t know if I hadn’t gotten pregnant.

Even after giving birth, if I hadn’t had a nurse who told me everything and a sister who was also a nurse there would be a lot of questions floating around in my head with no answers.

So many different things impact what can be considered normal for us. Our birth control, our hormones from breastfeeding, all of these things will make a difference to what is normal and what will become our normal after we give birth and become parents.

A lot of women think that bleeding that happens after you give birth is a regular period, and that is why they are confused at how much more they may bleed compared to what was normal for them before. It is something specific to giving birth and it is called Lochia which is the shedding of everything inside your uterus that has been used to nurture and grow your baby. It is going to be heavier, but it isn’t a regular period and it doesn’t mean that your periods following will be heavier from then on.

Our bodies stretch and rip and break, but they heal and bounce back.

It opened my eyes to the kind of parent I want to be. I want to be open and honest with my daughter when the time comes. I want to be the kind of house where she can ask us about sex and her body and not feel shame or embarrassed. I want her to understand herself, inside and out. There are too many women and men out there who are embarrassed to go to the doctors when something is wrong with their reproductive organs. So many people afraid to ask questions.

Although I have never been a shy person, I never had that openness with my mother. We would joke when I got into my teens, but I couldn’t imagine asking her a second related question, or just about my body in general.

To this day, there are parts of my own vagina I wouldn’t be able to label if you asked me. I am 28 years old. It seems like I should know anything and everything about my body at this point. The fact that I don’t, is really sad and confusing.

We can push for our schools to teach our children, but there will always be parents uncomfortable. Parents who think that knowledge about sex goes hand in hand with participating in sex. Parents who will always be uncomfortable with their children learning to be free with their bodies.

That’s fine. Everyone has their own hang ups.

However, if you are not one of these people, and even if you are, I can’t stress the importance of teaching your children about their bodies. Teach them about the bodies of the opposite sex. Sure, your son may never have to have a baby or a child, but someone they love may one day, and knowing what they are going through knowing how their body shapes and changes in this time will better help them understand, and be stronger shoulders to lean on.

Our bodies are these amazing things, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. We should know all there is to know about them, things that some people think are icky shouldn’t seem that way, it should be the norm because we should be talking about them as though they aren’t taboo.

I am more confident in my body after having my daughter, after seeing all that it is capable of. My body is amazing, capable of amazing things. Sure, it’s scarred, it’s worn, it’s sore more often than not, I have cellulite, and there are parts of my skin that are more flabby than tone and tight, but it’s mine. And it’s given me the most amazing gift!

All of our insecurities are there because we are told they should be, because we see what the world thinks bodies should look like and we don’t fit the mould. Beauty standards aren’t standard beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes and I feel like knowing all we can about our bodies can help build confidence in our bodies and ourselves.

Get to know your body, so you can teach your children to know theirs.

Surviving A Sick Baby

My daughter has been sick. She has been congested, has had thick mucus, and a runny nose, and it’s been affecting her sleep, her mood, and my sanity.

At 3 months, she is still so small. And congested babies are scary. They breathe almost solely through their mouths at that age, so having a stuffed nose is more than just a little frustrating for them. It impacts their sleep and their eating, two things that are so important at that age.

Last night, I barely slept a wink. I had my daughter nestled up beside me in bed. My arm under her head to prop her up while she slept and so I could monitor her breathing through the night. She didn’t have a fever, but she was sweating a lot, tossing and turning, and her little moan while she slept broke my heart.

Despite wiping at her face while she slept, her chin, cheeks, and under her nose were caked in dried saliva and mucus when we got up this morning.

Having a sick baby can be so hard to get through, especially if you are a first time mom.

The first thing I would recommend doing is adding a humidifier into the bedroom at night. Since sleeping is going to be difficult for your baby, the humidifier can help take some of the dryness out of the air, and can assist in loosening some of that built up muscles and phlegm while your baby sleeps.

A soothing baby balm can add some comfort before bedtime. Paediatricians have recommended against using a vapo-rub like Vick’s on baby’s because a study was done that showed the cooling effects of the menthol could cause a baby’s already thin airways to narrow, making it harder for your baby to breathe. That being said, there are other unmedicated balms that can be used in replacement. They are mor for comfort. Massaging any lotion on your baby’s chest and feet before bed can help relax them and soothe them to sleep, but the added scents of lavender, eucalyptus, aloe, and other ingredients add to the calming effects.

There is a baby version of Vick’s that is non medicated, and other brands if you wander down the baby aisle of the pharmacy or drugstore.

If you are breastfeeding, try and do it more often. Your antibodies will help baby fight off whatever sickness they are battling, the more they get, the better it is for them and hopefully, the faster they will recover.

Vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding you should be giving your baby his or her vitamin D drops daily. If your baby is formula fed, talk to your doctor about introducing these when baby is sick to help them along.

Warm baths. A warm bath can help loosen some of the build up in their nose and their chest. It’s important to keep the bathroom warm, and where ever your baby may be until he or she gets dressed. Also, try and keep their chest below the water. A cold chest may add to their congestion. I usually keep her bath cloth on her chest during her bath, making sure to re-wet it with warmer water every couple of minutes. These days, I climb into the tub with her that way I can fill the tub more, keep her more submerged, and use my own body heat to warm her in those moments she is not submerged in the water.

Keeping their nose clear. Whether you use the thing I have, which is that ball that you stick in their nose and squeeze to get rid of their build up, or something more sophisticated like the Nose Frida, it’s important to clean out their nose often. Imagine how many times you blow your nose when you have a cold, now imagine you aren’t able to blow it. That’s how your baby feels. Help them out, it will definitely help with their comfort level.

The other thing I do is keep my loved one bundled up. When you are sick you like to be in your PJs with a nice throw on your legs, maybe drinking a hot cup of tea. All of this things point to you wanting to be kept warm. Baby is no different. Put on a nice thick onesie, make sure their feet are covered in socks or slippers, and get them cozy with a nice blanket when they are lying down or even cuddled with you.

Don’t worry, this will pass.

If you are really worried, Baby gets a fever of over 38 degrees, gets over lethargic, or struggles to breathe without relief, bring your baby into the doctors or a hospital. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Remember to follow us on Instagram to get daily photos of my super cute daughter!

@pretending2parent

Being Sick With A Baby

It was the night before Christmas, I was sitting on the living room floor doing some last minute wrapping when a wave of dizziness hit me. Furrowing my brow, I shook my head, drank a glass of water and shook it off. Then the saliva in my mouth thinned, my jawline started to quake and I got to my feet, running full speed to the bathroom just in time to sink my face into the porcelain.

After emptying the contents of my stomach into the toilet, I got up with a few thoughts in my head. My first thought was more of a worry. I wondered if the IUD was doing it’s job, if something had possibly gone wrong and if I were pregnant, only a short three months after giving birth to my daughter.

The memory of her delivery was still fresh in my mind, my body still wasn’t completely back to normal, and I was no way ready to partake in this journey again.

My second thought was that maybe the chicken I had put in my Chicken Alfredo pasta was past it’s prime and this was my body’s way of letting me know.

My third thought was about breastfeeding. I had been told by my doctor that I could pretty much breastfeed through almost any illness. However, certain medications can affect your breastmilk supply. So a lot of the time you will have to just soldier on through certain sicknesses, if you plan on breastfeeding while sick. I am not one to take medication for a cold, but stomach related things I usually try and take something.

Diarrhea and vomiting are two things I try and put a stop to as quickly as I can, and these were two very aggressive symptoms I was experiencing.

Although digestive aids such as Tums are safe during both pregnancy and nursing, medicines like Pepto Bismol aren’t recommended for nursing moms. This meant that I was going to try and power through with lots of water, some ginger ale, a bucket and high hopes.

My symptoms started at 8:45ish in the evening. I was running to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes. After vomiting for the 6th time, I started to get the chills. Cladding my thickest robe and fuzziest socks, I slowly made my way to bed. Between waking to get to the bathroom, chills, and hot flashes, I got maybe about an hour of sleep that night. Luckily, my daughter slept right through the night.

My hope was that I would wake up, stomach and bowels empty and feel more like myself.

The soft coos of my daughter roused me at around 9am. I summoned the small amount of strength I had to get over to her, but my arms were shaking. I didn’t trust myself to even attempt to pick her up. I woke my husband, told him he was on Daddy Duty, ran to the bathroom before climbing back in bed.

This was not the Christmas I had been expecting.

I spent most of the day sleeping, running to the bathroom, and breastfeeding. I had a FaceTime call with my family, my husband had gone over to bring their gifts and bring home some food.

Being as sick as I was, I definitely have some tips for you mommies with a young baby going through it.

This is one of the times when breastfeeding really came in handy. It was so much easier to just lay her in bed beside me, sleep while she ate and have my husband take her when she was done. Although, if your baby is formula fed, it would eliminate baby’s contact with you all together, allowing you to get some rest… so either feeding method provides benefits.

Breastfeeding your baby through your sickness would be giving your baby the antibodies it needs to fight off the sickness you are currently battling, and lessens the chances of them catching it in the first place.

Feed your baby until they are full so they are more likely to nap.

Drink lots of liquids. Ginger Ale can help soothe an upset stomach, water is best, and Gatorade and Powerade are good if you can’t keep anything down.

Throw out a lifeline. This is the most important thing you can do if you have a sickness you need to sleep off.

If your partner is not available to help you for the day, reach out to someone else who can. Having someone around to keep baby busy and entertained between feedings and naps will help you get all the rest you need.

Outside of those things, I would suggest making sure any medications you take don’t have an impact on your milk supply in any way if you are feeding, try and limit face to face contact with your baby (my daughter loves kisses and chewing on my face, so this was something I had to keep her from doing).

Hang in there, we may be superheroes, but we are not super human and we get sick sometimes. It will pass!

3 Month Postpartum Recovery

For anyone who hasn’t been following me from the very start, or perhaps missed my delivery post, on September 21st, 2018 I vaginally gave birth to a 7.9 lb baby girl. My delivery required vacuum assistance which resulted in a 3rd degree perineal tear which required more stitches than the doctor or nurse was willing to count. The perineal is the skin between the vagina and the anus (men also have this).

A third degree tear means the tear went down into the muscle and also went from vagina to anus. Yay me!

For this area to heal well and not get infected, I suggest a sitz bath three times a day, and after every bowel movement. I can’t tell you how many times I was sitting in a sitz bath with a crying baby on my lap, struggling to breastfeed those first few weeks. I kept these baths up for around two months.

This was the main thing that needed healing postpartum for me. Everything else was something I barely thought about. The area was also tender because of hemmroids which was equally unpleasant.

Three months later, I went to the doctors for a follow up to having my IUD inserted. I also wanted to know if then increased discharge was due to my continuing lochia (the longest period you will have in your life, ladies) or due to the IUD insertion.

For any other first time moms out there, the lochia discharge towards the end may confuse you. There will be no traces of blood but you will have an egg white type of discharge that may seem like glue to you in some ways, and it may be clear or it may be cloudy. One thing for sure, there will be enough if it that it makes you question whether or not it’s normal. Yes, it is, and can last up to 5 months depending on your body.

During my appointment, I asked her about how my stitches were healing. My perineal area has been tender, and at times depending on my physical activities, it feels like then area is tearing and there would be some pale pink on the tissue when I went to the bathroom. She told me that there was tearing close to my vaginal entrance because the tissue there was too thin to repair itself. This is typical when you are breastfeeding because your estrogen levels will be low.

Insert another sarcastic yay here.

Three months postpartum and I am still tender in that area and now I am using a estrogen cream there to ensure the skin thickens and I can feel a little more like myself down there.

Ladies, giving birth is a lot. It is going to wear on you and it will be a while before you feel like yourself again below then belt. My suggestion is to do everything with care and don’t rush anything. You’ll heal in your own time.

2 Month Check Up

Two months have flown by, which means it was another day of dragging my tired butt out of bed at the crack of dawn (which is a near impossible task when you have been living your life with no schedule, and your city is dark and dreary in it’s pre-winter stage), get my Sunshine out of bed and make our way to the doctor’s. 

Now, I think it’s important to note that my daughter is NOT a morning person. She is a night owl, typically impossible to get down to sleep until around midnight, last night of course she stayed kicking until 1:21am when she finally drifted off to sleep. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, as I myself am a bit of a night owl and her late bedtime would mean she would sleep in until around noon, which is great for mama. This morning however, I had to get her up at 8:00am, which meant her fussiness was at an all time high. 

I got her dressed, and bundled because the winter air is sharp, and set her in her car seat. 

I will skip over the immense headache of having only two elevators in our sixteen floor building which means morning is high traffic time and I had to carry my Bugaboo stroller down four flights of stairs to the garage with Sunshine in tow. Which caused my coffee to spill all inside my diaper bag as it rattled about. 

Le sigh. 

Any way. On to the appointment. My daughter has been overall healthy. She had a little bit of a cold or something about a week ago, but aside from that and a few issues with her skin (rashes, dry skin patches, little cherry marks) she has been as clean as a whistle. They weighed, measured her height and her head circumference, and then it was time for her vaccines. 

Now, I am not going to join the whole vaccine debate. I truly believe that it is up to every individual parent to research the pros and cons of vaccinations, and make an educated decision. You should try and get as much information as you possibly can yourself. Don’t depend on other people to give you the information you need because everyone is biased by their own opinion. 

Whether you are for them or against them honestly doesn’t matter to me. You could write me a ten page essay on why you are against them and it wouldn’t sway me one bit. I did my own research, applied what I had learned to our lives and made me decision based on that. My daughter got her vaccinations today. 

I actually am not writing this post to debate whether you should or shouldn’t get them. That decision is completely up to the parents. I am writing this post to talk about my reaction to my daughter getting her vaccinations. 

I knew she was going to cry. I went in fully prepared for her to cry at the pricks of the needles, however I wasn’t prepared for the type of cry. Honestly, it was a cry I hadn’t heard before and it completely broke my heart. Here I was, a new mom holding my two month old daughter, getting all teary eyed as she wailed.

Your bond with your baby is so strong and so special. Seeing them in any kind of discomfort or pain really pulls at your heart strings in a way that you can’t even imagine. 

With the other children in my life, when they cry or whine, I could categorize it as whether or not it was for pain or attention and react accordingly. As much as I loved those children, it never really dug into my heart. I was concerned, apathetic, but never affected by their crying as I am with my daughter. 

I went into this appointment thinking that I could react the same way I always had. I would purse my lips, let out a little ‘aw’ and carry on. Boy, was I wrong. I would have taken those shots for her myself if I could. 

Anyway, she is sporting two adorable bandages on her thighs, and sleeping comfortably in her swing now. I feel like I need a nap from the emotional rollercoaster getting her shots seems to have put me through. 

At the end of the day, her health and her happiness is all that matters to me! 

On a side note, I brought the wrong brand of diapers with me to the doctors and a blowout of course occurred. Hopefully her poop doesn’t stain because that will be the first and the last time she gets to wear that outfit. 

Winter Weather Blues

New parents have a lot on their plates. When you have made the decision to stay home with your new little one for the first year or so, a lot of people think that is a blessing. You get to stay in your PJs, you get to binge-watch your favourite shows, you get to avoid the bad weather if you have your baby right before the winter. 

I will admit, those are big pluses. 

On the other hand, when your partner is back at work, or you are doing it alone, staying at home with your baby can be isolating. With the temperature dropping outside, the sky remaining that bleak grey, and they fear of your little one contracting something during the flu season, you are more likely to stay inside. 

It’s easy to fall into a routine of nothingness. You wake up, spend most of your day in the same clothes, feeding your baby, entertaining her and changing her. The small naps she takes you tell yourself you will use to get things done, but chances are you use that time to catch up on some of the rest you went without the night before. 

Days of the week start to all blend together, and without people coming in and out for visits, they don’t really matter. 

It’s really hard to get motivated. I am trying to add working out at home to my daily routine to at least do a little something for myself, but it is hard not to fall into winter weather blues. 

My husband is at work typically all day. He has an unusual work schedule so I typically see him for an hour or so in the mornings and then not until after 11:00pm. That means that most of my day is spent with my beautiful daughter and our fur baby, but neither provide me with the stimulating conversation I crave. 

With us being a one vehicle family, spur of the moment outings are off the table because my husband typically takes the car to work unless I tell him I would like it for the day, which usually, I have no plans. 

So what can you do? 

Besides texting out constant SOS messages to anyone who will answer, I think it’s important, even in bad weather (so long as there isn’t a blizzard taking place outside) to go out and get some fresh air each day. For me, it’s easy because I have to go out to walk my dog anyway. I have to kick myself in the butt lately to actually go for long walks as opposed to just taking him out to do his business and retreating back into the warmth of our apartment. 

We have the Bugaboo stroller which has the large bicycle tires on the back to make it easy to get out in any weather. If you live somewhere with all four seasons, like me here in Canada, I would definitely invest in a stroller with big, capable tires. 

It’s also important to make plans to incorporate different people in your days each week. Seeing the same three faces, although you love your little family, every day can leave you feeling like a bit of a hermit. I try and see my mother, sister, brothers and nephew at least once a week. Usually we do Sunday dinners, but I also try and get together with my sister when I can. 

Do something every day just for you. 

Don’t set big unattainable goals that will depress you when you don’t complete them. Keep them simple. Maybe something as simple as getting up, putting make-up on and getting dressed every day. The routine can make you feel like your old self. 

I have been going without make-up since I started staying home from work in August. Without that routine I had before working in the morning, it is really hard to get myself going. I used to get up, make a cup a coffee (decaf unfortunately) bring that into the bathroom with me while I put make-up on and did my hair for work. Then I would get dressed and be ready to start my day. 

Now, as a new mom, that routine is almost impossible to stick to. Your baby wants your love and attention, so spending thirty-minutes in the bathroom by yourself is a no-go. 

I’ve changed this routine a little bit to include her. Now, I put some music on and put my daughter in her carrier on my chest. I have her with me in the bathroom as I dance around, wash my face, brush my hair… just make myself look a little less like a sleepless cave-woman and more like myself. I find the music keeps my daughter in a good mood while I do things like pluck my unruly eyebrows or moisturize. 

When I leave the bathroom, I feel more refreshed and less like I am a zombie just stumbling through the day. 

Despite my lack of appetite in the morning, I still get myself a bowl of cereal and eat it while I breastfeed. It’s like I am not eating alone and makes me feel great. 

Normally after breakfast my daughter will doze for a bit. This is the perfect time to put her in her swing while I do a 7 minute workout using my 7 minute women’s workout app on my phone. (I love this app!) 

Lately I have been using it just to guide me through stretches and easier workouts. Nothing overly taxing as I can’t necessarily wind down afterwards depending on my daughter’s mood. 

Reading this you may be thinking that none of this will work for you. That’s fine, we are all different. The point is, because the weather restricts what you can do outside of your house, it’s important to make your home comforting to you. A place that doesn’t feel like a binding prison but like it’s full of opportunities for you throughout the day. 

Maybe it’s reading a book. Maybe it’s taking time to do some journalling. Find what makes you feel good and do it every day to help you keep your winter weather blues at bay. 

Your mental health is as important as your physical health, especially as a new parent!