Self Care When You’ve got a Baby to Contend With.

June 13, 2013

The little Man. Just cold chillin'.

The little Man. Just cold chillin’.

I am reporting to you not as a veteran, but directly from the trenches.

The new mom thing. I get it now. I had heard of tales of weeks-unwashed hair, of spit-up all over completely filthy clothes, of ratty hair and perpetual morning breath. Of never having a moment to yourself (I am writing this frantically as baby Z naps beside me…at any moment he will wake and wail for some milk, as he is stirring now. Must. Type. Faster!), of eating standing up while discussing the consistency and colour of your offspring’s poop.

We’re nearing the three month marker (already!), and although I definitely would be lying if I said I had this whole thing figured out (definitely don’t), I do have a few pointers that have helped me stay sane, and lately even feel pretty good. I think these tricks would work well during any time of upheaval or major life change, you know, like birthing a brand new human into the world (my mind still has not wrapped around that fact yet.)

1. Brush your teeth. Like, every day.

Yeah, sounds obvious now, but so easy to forget when you have no schedule, nobody to be fresh for (baby doesn’t care), no set bedtime or wake time (mostly because you’re not actually sleeping) and no energy to pick up the toothbrush, let alone jam it into your mouth. Forget that. Do it anyhow. Do it while you’re in the shower (more on that later), do it while you’re peeing. Just get it done, by any means necessary. Not only is taking care of your teeth, gums and tongue important any ol’ day, you really don’t need an emergency visit to the dentist right now, do you? Try to brush up twice a day to feel amazing, but even once a day is much better than not at all. You’ll be amazed by what a difference this can make to your overall mood if it’s already 4pm and you’re still in a state of zombie-ness. It’s back to basics people. Brush your teeth.

On that note, ever try oil pulling? That’s my next adventure. Keener that I am, I’m going for extra-credits!

2. Cut your hair.

I just did this several weeks ago, and boy does it feel amazing! During pregnancy, your hair grows a ton. I was pregnant throughout the Worst Winter Ever, and therefore my locks became impressively dry and brittle, making the bottom three inches into straw. Even though Meadowfoam helped a lot, there’s only so much you can do for/to your hair before it needs a snippering. Snip (or should I say ziiizzzz, as we used the clipper and a creaclip)! Problem solved. I look less ratty, more polished and refreshed. Normally my hair is long-long, but now I’m going for a “lob” kinda look (that’s long-bob if you didn’t know). I don’t even reaaallly need to brush it, as I wear it quite messy wavy but…

3. Brush your hair sometimes.

Just once is a while, pass a comb through it. If you’ve got nesty hair like I do, you can’t ignore that sometimes, you’ve got one big dreadlock in the back, and that ain’t cool. No, I don’t care if the ’90s are coming back and you’ve got the whole grunge thing down, no mono-lock! Easiest thing to do is multi-task while in the shower (yes, we’re getting to that) is to use a wide-tooth comb with your conditioner. Does the trick for me, and I can still air-dry it into it’s messy splendor.

4. You’re in pain, don’t ignore it.

This is way more important than basic grooming. It should be number one but I’m not big on chronology. Having a baby fucking hurts. I don’t care how spiritual and amazing it is, it bloody hurts. Effing bloody hurts. I didn’t know that it would hurt SO bad, and I swear I was taken off guard by the whole recovery thing. Do not ignore the fact that you’re sore from head to toe, and especially in some key areas right in the middle. Sit on frozen peas, take advil and tylenol (check the recommended doses for breastfeeding…it’s like 400mg every 4 hours or something, I can’t remember now…google that shit.) Yes, you’re baby is the cutest thing you’ve ever set your eyes on and they smell, somehow, like baked goods`, but guess what? Your vagina is the size of a softball and your nipples are bleeding, and OMG WHY DO YOUR THIGHS HURT SOOOOO MUCH? Because a human was made, then squeezed out of your body. Damn you’re amazing! Now, take a warm bath and take care of yourself!

Do you remember the Love Ritual? This is when you need to bust that shit out. Make love to yourself and pop some Advil and you’ll be a better new-mom for it. Just trust me here.

5. Take THE Shower.

Not “a shower”, ’cause that’s what you did pre-baby. “A shower” is purely utilitarian. Rinsing off your body after a quick lather and toweling off. Forget that. You’re done with that, at least for now. When you get the opportunity to get into THE shower, you seize that motherfucking opportunity like your life depends on it.

Take THE shower. Make it a THING, like a mini-vacation. Pack supplies, get a sitter, make a whole do of it. Really do all the things when you’re in THE shower; exfoliating, shaving, deep-condition. Make sure you slap on your Detox Clay mask about 10 minutes before hopping in so that you’ve got your detox working for you. You know, not counting the pre-shower mask time when you can breastfeed the babe so he’s nice and happy while you have mommy-time, your THE shower will only take about 15 minutes and will make a huge difference to your day. I know, you might not be able to get this done every day, but even having THE shower once a week (with regular a showers dispersed every other day or so), you will feel so much better.

See how easy this all is? Really. It’s basic grooming, but the thing is that you’ve got to allow yourself to DO these things. It’s amazing how hard it can be to prioritize your own self-care in these early months of mom-ness, but you’re doing everyone a HUGE favour.

Especially with the tooth-brushing.





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