Adjusting to life as a new mom while balancing school, a job or business can be difficult. It’s easy to forget to prioritize your own needs.
When you forget to take care of yourself, it’s hard to give your best to the people you love and the things that matter to you.
After 6 weeks of being a new mom, Zimkhitha Mathunjwa shares her personal tips on how to prioritize your mental and physical health as a career mom.
1. Beyond the ‘bounce back’: take time for yourself
As a new mom, your postpartum recovery is about more than your body. Along with physical changes, you also deal with mental challenges like negotiating your identity. Your life is more than work and motherhood.
Simple things like taking a lunch break away from your desk, getting my hair and nails done, drinking tea and curling up with a book, help remind you of your own identity outside work and parenthood.
2. Lean on your support system: it takes a village
A big kudos to any parent who has ever had to do it with no support.
If you’re lucky enough to have people around to assist you, accept the help. Without husbae and my family’s active involvement in our tiny human’s development, I would not be as snatched with edges intact as I am right now.
Use some of your time away to hang out with grown-ups. Focus on nurturing your most meaningful relationships. If you feel a little bit guilty – it’s normal. On my first date night away from the baby, I constantly checked in with my mother-in-law. I eventually allowed myself to relax and enjoy the time out. So can you!
3. Filter out the noise: set boundaries
As a new career mom, you become privy to a lot of well-meaning advice that might not be right for you.
You must be discerning and accept only the advice you deem resourceful. Filter out the noise by setting clear boundaries.
4. Learn to trust yourself
To every mother, biologically or otherwise – you are doing great. Trust the process and most importantly, trust YOURSELF!
Ungazilibali is an isiXhosa (South African) word meaning ‘do not forget yourself’. It’s the word I think about when I’m faced with self-doubt and anxiety in balancing work and parenting. When those moments come, it’s important to have one go-to thought that reminds you of why you are a badass!
I think of my mother, grandmother (RIP) and mother-in-law, my role models. Remembering that I come from a line of strong women helps me re-center myself. They did a stellar job, and so can I.
Life as a new career mom is not a walk in the park, but if you can take time for yourself, lean on the support of people who love you, set boundaries and learn to trust yourself, you’ll be physically and mentally okay.
When all else fails, ungazilibali. Don’t forget (or lose) yourself on this journey!
Are you mentally exhausted? Get Peace Hyde’s free tips for fighting against the odds here.