This post is sponsored by Tomorrow Sleep.
Remember back before you had kids? Back when you had all the free time in the world, but you thought you were SO. BUSY?
Done laughing yet? I’ll wait.
There’s nothing like having a baby to make you realize just how footloose and fancy free you were pre-kids. Sure, you may have had a lot going on, but being 100% responsible for another person’s life has a way of making you re-prioritize your own.
Four Things That Get Put on the Back Burner After Having Kids
(and How to Change That)
Suddenly all the things you used to take for granted become luxuries. Things like:
When you see a mom with her hair in a hat or messy ponytail, you can be assured that she did not shower that day. Maybe she’s working on Day 3 or 4 without a shower. Maybe even Day 6 or 7 if she’s a real master.
Personal hygiene as a whole drops down the list of ‘Important Things I Do Every Day’ after you have kids. They’re always needing something or fighting with each other or getting into things they shouldn’t and it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to take care of things like washing four days of grease out of your hair or changing the shirt with spit-up stains and yesterday’s dinner caked on it.
How to Change It: Consider showering at night instead of in the morning. If your spouse is home, you’ll have someone to watch the kids, and if you’re solo, the kids will (hopefully) be asleep. Even if daily showers are a pipe dream, dry shampoo and baby wipes can be surprisingly refreshing 😉
2. Time to Yourself
Before kids you truly didn’t realize how much of this you had. Yes, you worked and volunteered and hung out with friends, but if you needed time alone, it was easy to find.
Even when you didn’t realize you were having alone time, you were getting it! Like when you went to the bathroom and no one followed you in and asked uncomfortable questions about your plumbing. Or when you sat down at night to watch a show and you didn’t get interrupted 18 times by someone needing water, then to pee, then to have you check for bad guys, then because their belly hurt, then to ask the meaning of life.
How to Change It: Lock the bathroom door. Seriously. Sure, they’ll pound on it and stick their little fingers under the crack, but you’ll still be alone. Sort of.
Talk to your significant other about scheduling a weekly or monthly ‘night off.’ If you don’t have a significant other, talk to another parent about swapping babysitting services. You watch her kids for a few hours one day and she watches yours for a few hours another day.
Sleep is the holy grail of parenting. Even people who don’t have babies yet know that they’ll become sleep deprived once they do, but you don’t really get it until you’re in the thick of it. Until you’ve been woken up eight, ten, twelve times a night. Until performing routine tasks during the day becomes a comedy of errors.
How to Change It: The ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ advice is okay, but often unrealistic. I would suggest going to bed when the kids go to bed though.
Also, make the most of the little sleep you are getting by making your bed the best place on earth. That means cozy sheets and blankets, nice pillows, and a good quality mattress. After 11 years my husband and I finally got rid of our crappy mattress and got a Tomorrow Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress and we’ve slept better in the past month than we have in the past few years. You can get $150 off any $500 purchase from now until December 31st, 2017 by using code HONESTLY150. (Check out my review here.)
4. Healthy Habits
After my husband and I got married, but before we had kids, I was pretty healthy. I packed nutritious lunches to take to work with me. I had a gym membership. I made healthy dinners. Once I got pregnant with our first, I took it up a notch by adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet, taking vitamins, and (I was crazy) giving up coffee.
Then I had one, then two, then three kids, and now the only time I see the inside of a gym is when my kids have a game and I’m sitting on the bleachers. I still eat fruits and veggies, but they’re usually whatever the kids have left behind after breakfast. And I’m lucky if I remember to put on deodorant every day, let alone take a daily multivitamin.
How to Change It: Small changes add up. Park a little farther away from the store entrance to get some extra walking in. Run up the stairs two at a time. Swap one sugary drink each day for a water (add some lemon to give it flavor).
Having kids definitely requires that we put ourselves lower on the list of priorities, and that’s okay. In fact, I think it’s a good thing to learn to be less self-centered.
At the same time, some of those basic needs I mentioned above can’t and shouldn’t be put off forever. Try some of the tips I suggested, and know that as your kids get older, they’ll become a lot easier to accomplish. In fact, one day you’ll wake up at 9 am, the kids will have gotten themselves breakfast, and you’ll smile a well-rested smile as you realize this parenting thing is pretty sweet.