Vanessa Lachey recently admitted to having the "baby blues" after giving birth to her son, Camden John. In a blog post, she details how she felt "lost, unloved, alone, and at [her] wits' end" shortly after becoming a mom. Lachey found herself crying one day for no reason at all, and not knowing what to do, she got in her car and left.
After driving around a bit, Vanessa went to a Starbucks. And when she came home, she showered, got dressed, and immediately felt better. It was the first time she had done anything for herself since giving birth, and it's a perfect example of just how badly women need some time alone after becoming mothers. It isn't selfish; it doesn't make you a bad mom; it's important. Having a baby is hard and stressful. Taking a little time here and there for yourself is crucial -- and, actually, it's a lot less difficult than it seems.
Here are 10 small ways new moms can carve out some much-needed time for themselves.
1. Be the one who does the grocery run. In the past, grocery shopping may not have seemed like a luxurious thing, but 45 minutes by yourself can be incredibly rejuvenating -- even if it's at Trader Joe's. (You probably won't want to do this until the bleeding has stopped, though, which varies from woman to woman.)
2. Take a walk. Doesn't get much easier than this. Grab your iPod, and take a few laps around the block. (This one was a big one for me at around week three!)
3. Get a pedicure. You'll likely realize just how tired you are when sitting in that massage chair, but the calm you'll feel will be like no other. This is the perfect thing to do about a month in, after you sort of have the hang of things.
4. Separate if you're out together. If your partner, baby, and you all decide to go to the mall, go off on your own for a half hour.
5. Get a chair massage. If taking an entire hour isn't something you want to do shortly after becoming a mom (and you don't want to spend a million dollars), get a 15-minute chair massage at a nail salon. I recommend waiting until you have the hang of nursing for this one, as leaning down on sore, cracked nipples is pretty much the opposite of zen.
6. If you're nursing, start pumping. Nobody likes pumping. Nobody. But it definitely has its benefits. Once you're a month-and-a-half in or so, try pumping a little milk, so you can leave for an hour and not feel panicked that your little one is going to go hungry.
7. Take a drive. Like Vanessa did, you don't need an actual destination. Sometimes it's nice to just drive around blasting music for a little while. (You may wind up at a Starbucks, too!)
8. Just be alone. This is something you can do right off the bat. Find a quiet place in your home or yard and just be. Don't think about your baby, or wonder how you're doing as a mom, just sit with your thoughts for a while. You'll feel "lighter" after clearing your head of all thoughts for a bit.
9. Cook dinner. Again, not the most glamorous thing -- and don't try to bust out the duck confit here -- but being the person who prepares dinner can actually be somewhat relaxing. Put on a little music, and keep it simple while your partner bonds with baby.
10. Exercise. You obviously need to wait to get the okay for this (which usually isn't until around month two), but nothing -- seriously, nothing -- feels as good as kick-ass sweat session.
What things did you do for yourself after becoming a mom?
Image via terren in Virginia/Flickr