An Open Letter to Myself, 6 Months Postpartum: 10 Things To Do Every Day

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Dearest Beth,

Hey, there.  How’s things?  I like your haircut, it’s a nice change for spring.  Could be a bit shorter, but, you know.  And can I say, I’m super glad you’ve gone back to blonde.  It takes away from the deathly dark circles around your eyes.

What, I can’t say that?  But…I’m you.  Sooo…..

Anyway.

Can you believe Bubs is 6 months old already??  Where did that time go?   Like sands through the hourglass, amiright?!

It’s crazy to think about, but half a year ago you went into labour and shot out a baby in three hours flat.

Well.  Done.  Ouch!  But, well done.

Six months.  Gone, like a puff of smoke.  You breathed in, then out, and now, here we are.

Let’s just talk a bit about Bubs for a second, before getting into the real reason I’m writing you this letter (dum, dum duuuuummm….).

Li’l Bubs.  Li’l dimply, chubby Bubs.  His joyfulness is contagious.  He enchants anyone who glances his way.  He squeaks and smiles his squinty smile at strangers, but don’t be fooled:  the boy knows how to crrrrrrrry.  Especially when you’re out of the room for longer than he can blink.  Or sneeze.  Or fart (he does a lot of that).  He sits up without support, is thisclose to rolling over, and will only go to sleep on his belly, which scared the CRAP out of you those first few nights you left him that way (now, that’s to say he sleeps on his belly when he sleeps.  Which, let’s be honest, isn’t a lot.  And is  a whole other monologue onto itself.  Sigh.)  His favourite toy is any spoon he can reach, and his favourite activity is observing intently as he carefully drops it to the floor.  He loves watching his sister RUN, and squeals with delight when she dances.  His little mullet is growing by the day, such a random and hilarious thing… you better not cut it.  EVER.  He is a joy and a delight, and he completes your family in the most perfect way.

You have two beautiful, healthy children and a hottie of a husband who, for some reason, loves the living shit out of you.  You have a new house and a bunch of fun projects in the works, spring is finally springing – everything is coming up ROSES for you.

You are an incredibly fortunate woman.

Which now brings me to that real reason I’m writing you this letter:

It’s time to get.  Your shit.  Together.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh.  But let me explain.

Yes, you are currently a SAHM with two little kids.  And yes, your main priority day-to-day is keeping your littles alive and helping your family thrive.  But GIRL, all that “looking after other people” nonsense doesn’t mean you get to completely ignore the fact that YOU ARE A PERSON, TOO and let yourself fall apart and turn into that bowl full of mush that, let’s be honest, every kid in the world says “yuck” to in Goodnight Moon.

So, I’ve compiled a list:  Ten Things you must do every day to achieve “Regular Person Like Everybody Else” status, which will in turn help you get back to being YOU.

These are not huge tasks; I’m not asking you to paint the Sistine Chapel.  But after so long of not doing them (read: the last 6 months), these basic things may seem tedious and time consuming and every day you will no doubt think, “meh, this one’s no biggie.  I can skip it today.”

But listen, I am 100% sure that after a few weeks it’ll all come back to you, and not only will you begin to feel like a Regular Person Like Everybody Else again, but – most importantly – you will feel like YOU.  The YOU before babies and diapers and worrying about healthy meals and snacks and mountains of laundry that pile on top of themselves.  Before scraped knees and teething and sleep training and daily battles between your toddler and the hairbrush.  Before sharing became an issue, and tiny talons and scratched up faces, and food sensitivities and transitioning from your bed to their crib to their bed.  Before sweatpants became the uniform and braless-ness an acceptable state in which to be…. before all that – and oh, so much more – you were YOU.

But guess what?  You still are.  And these Ten Things are gonna get you back there.

Trust me.  I’m you.  Soooo, I know.

And now, I present to you:

Ten Things You Have To Do Every Day, Without Fail:

    • Brush your teeth, TWO times.  Bee is starting to brush hers regularly, so set a good example.  Not a smelly, gross coffee-breathed one.  Maybe you don’t have an obvious chunk of spinach between your front teeth, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something more sinister lurking between your molars.
    • Put on deodorant (down, boys).  This literally takes 2 seconds.  Just because you may spend a few days not coming into close contact with anyone other than Bubs – and when you do you’re wearing a huge winter coat and layer upon layer of “clothes” (see above re: sweat pants & braless-ness) – doesn’t mean it’s okay to skip this crucial hygienic step.
    • Shower.  Okay, you can make this one every other day.  And hair washing only needs to be done twice a week, so you can use your judgement whilst showering to decide if that day is the day… and by “use your judgement” I mean determining if there’s enough time before Bubs wakes up screaming bloody murder for your boob.
    • Wash your face.  Remember a while back when you talked to the ladies at the Freeze Clinic about how you wanted to start washing your face again, every day?  Remember that??  And remember how you did it for a while and it felt sooooooo good but then you let the ball drop and stopped because you got pregnant and lazy?!  Yeah.  Let’s pick that back up again, shall we?  Those pores aren’t closing themselves.
    • Reach out to a friend.  Your friends are awesome.  You are incredibly lucky to have such amazing people who actually want to hear from you and be around you, and who offer support and words of wisdom in times of need.  So you need to be better at maintaining those relationships.  It doesn’t have to be an hour-long phone call or a hand-written letter (though, those are really nice) – just a little text or email can do great things.  Plus, it’ll be nice to engage with someone other than a 6-month old.  And to have someone answer you back!  With actual WORDS!!  Can you IMAGINE?!
    • Write.  Even if it’s on the notepad on the fridge, it’s time to get those squeaky wheels turning.  You love to write.  It challenges you and makes you happy.  So do it.
    • Take 5 deep breaths.  Preferably first thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day begins.  Centre yourself so you don’t fall off the edge when Bee is screaming in your face that she doesn’t want to wear a shirt to school.
    • Attempt a 30 minute workout.  The walk to and from daycare doesn’t count.  Get your heart rate up.  If you can’t squeeze in one of your 21 Day Fix videos (which, dude, you can) then throw Bubs in the stroller and tackle some of the hills in your new ‘hood while running errands.
    • Look your husband in the eyes and tell him you love him.  Because you absolutely do, and he deserves to hear it.
    • Be kind to yourself.  Probably the most important step.  You are doing the best you can, Mama.  Sure, most days aren’t perfect, and you can feel like you’re failing an awful lot of the time.  But listen to me:  you’re not failing.  And despite the daily challenges of raising a head-strong toddler with the imagination of Peter Jackson, a sleep-deprived baby who clings to you day and night, and keeping your insanely gorgeous husband in love with you, despite ALL THAT: you’re doing alright.

Trust me.  I know.  I’m you.

Okay, good talk.  Let’s do it more often.  Until next time, take care.

Sincerely,
Beth

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Myself, 6 Months Postpartum: 10 Things To Do Every Day

    Anneliese said:
    March 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    you can do it Mama!

      mamabethbarnes responded:
      March 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks, lady!! And don’t forget these tips for when you’re a mama 😉

    Meagan said:
    March 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Wow, almost three years on and I’m *still* not achieving all of these on a daily basis! But this was a good reminder, thanks for writing it…and letting me know I’m not the only one 🙂

      mamabethbarnes responded:
      March 20, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Oh, Meagan. Yes, the hardest one for me is the deodorant. I just… I don’t know what it is! But for some reason every day I think, “who caaaaaares.” Or worse, it doesn’t even cross my mind! Ei, yei, yei. One thing I’m learning from writing this is that most, if not all of us mamas are guilty of some personal slippage! I’m glad to remind you, and hope that you maybe put down your own list!

    Tara said:
    March 19, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Omg I needed this so much today!!!!

      mamabethbarnes responded:
      March 20, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      I’m happy to help, Tara 😉 Do you have a list??

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