My name is Alex, and this year I’ll be celebrating my first Mother’s Day with my 10-month-old son, Reed! Prior to being a mom, I dedicated my professional life to working with children and young people. While I always loved teaching, I knew part of my career was grooming me to be a mom. I couldn’t wait! With grad school coming to an end, my husband and I decided it was time to try for a baby.
Little did I know that I would have to wait four more years to meet my son. Like many couples, we faced infertility. We went through what felt like endless tests and weighed the pros and cons of treatments. It was the hardest time of my life, but it made us stronger. In our case, it was nothing more than stress that hindered our chances of getting pregnant. I learned a very important lesson through that journey - I learned the value of self-care.
Taking moments for myself lowered my stress level, and when we finally found out we were pregnant I continued my self-care regimen, in order to be able to give my growing baby my best self. I still stick to that rule to this day! If the journey to motherhood and caring for this wiggly and wonderful little human has taught me anything, it is this: providing yourself with love and care allows you to pour even more love and care into your children— love begets love.
BELLABEAT: How has your life changed?
I believe just about every aspect of my life has changed since having my son. My body has changed. My job has changed. (I’m a stay at home mom.) My most important relationships have changed — seeing my husband as a father, and understanding my own mother on a new level makes me love them even more!
My mindset, however, has only partially changed. Every instinct in my mind tells me to care for this little person with every fiber of my being, but I know that taking care of myself allows me to take better care of my baby, so I still practice a self-care mantra. I’ve never been very good at self-care, so it’s always a conscious decision and a big part of my mindset. My daily life completely revolves around my son. My job is to tend to his needs every minute of every day... well, except nap times. And you better believe I challenge myself to put down the chores and make nap time — “me” time!
BELLABEAT: How do you find balance?
I find balance in taking care of myself and taking care of my son in two ways. First, I make a conscious effort for my son to experience and witness my self-care. I love to work out and take care of my body and I’m part of a wonderful group of moms who dedicate time to work out together! The kids get to play and watch, while their moms work out together to get stronger.
I also enjoy keeping a tidy house and I’m trying my best to get better at cooking. I do all these things in front of my son. I want him to see the calm cleaning brings me, and the effort I put into the food we all eat. Also, making sure I expose him to these things means the chores and cooking are not things I get done during nap time! Nap time is “me” time. Once baby is asleep, I’m meditating, doing my nails, putting on a guilty-pleasure TV show, or anything else that falls into a “just-for-me” category.
BELLABEAT: What advice would you give?
If there is one thing I’ve learned from being a mom, and trying to become a mom, that I have to emphasize — it’s that taking care of yourself makes you a better powerhouse of motherhood. You simply cannot pour all the love and care you have to give in to your child if you can’t pour some into yourself. Love begets love, so give yourself a little! You definitely deserve it, and I bet your kids will love to see you take care of their favorite person!