As women, we have been conditioned to over-work and chronically under-rest, which is fuelling a silent pandemic of burnt out, unhappy mums. But that’s all about to change. Vikki Louise shares 3 ways to rest as a mum.
By Vikki Louise
I’m a new mum myself, as well as a recovering 80 hour-a-week hustler, who runs a successful business, often from the comfort of my own bed – yes you read that right.
I have learnt how to leverage the power of rest, and I want to teach you how to love rest too. Especially how to rest as a mum.
We evolved to be natural nurturers and givers. This natural design can become amplified when we become a mum, especially in our modern world, which encourages us to think that there’s more value in giving to others than to ourselves.
Yet through increased education and awareness, we are learning that we no longer need to ‘prove’ or ‘push’ to fight for our value. Slowly, we are acknowledging that overgiving and excessive doing is not only unhealthy, but it is stealing our ability to be present, happy and nourished mums.
“The act of laying down with your baby on your chest can either be restful, or it can be the complete opposite if you are laying there telling yourself that you should be doing the laundry, or sending that email, or cooking that meal.”
While rest is defined as the act of ceasing work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength. It doesn’t necessarily involve endless bubble baths, afternoon naps or lying horizontally on your sofa completing an entire series of Netflix!
Let’s dive in.
WHAT IS REST?
So often we think of it simply as sleep. Which for new mamas and mums whose kids still aren’t sleeping through the night, that isn’t going to cut it.
Rest is: not resisting the moment we are in.
This means that the act of laying down with your baby on your chest can either be restful. Or it can be the complete opposite if you are laying there telling yourself that you should be doing the laundry, or sending that email, or cooking that meal.
Learning how to have a more restful brain is possible. The more presence we create in the moment, the more regulated our nervous system becomes. It can be as simple as saying things like “this is temporary”, “everything is ok” and “this is what I’m meant to be doing right now”.
The more calm we are, the more calm our baby is.
Learning how to say ‘no’ is also possible. While you might be pressured to host everyone and be available for people to ‘pop over’ anytime to meet your new addition to the family. It is also ok not to be social if you feel so inclined.
1. CREATE YOUR OWN RULES
There will always be plenty of people telling us a million different ways of how we should be doing things. One of the first things I didn’t do was keep the same schedule I had before the baby arrived.
For example, I let my podcast episodes not get recorded for 3 months. And this was against everything I was told. Yet my audience never dropped and my podcast remained in the top 1% of shows during those 3 months.
Learning to be mindful of the noise out there, especially as mums, especially as working mums, requires us to trust ourselves to do things in a way that we haven’t done before.
We are the ones with more socio-economic power. Women are the growing part of the workforce. And with this and the change we are creating in the world, comes the realisation that we can create our own rules and way of doing things.
You’ll be surprised about what you can put down during this time.
You’ll be surprised by what the key needle movers are.
Let yourself discover a new way of moving in harmony with your work. With your family life. And the needs of your newborn in these early days, weeks and months.
2. QUIT TRACKING – IT CREATES ANXIETY
The data tracking industry is set to reach $47 Billion in the coming 15-20 years.
While we have been told, and have likely experienced the value of measuring our progress in the past, tracking in this unpredictable period of your life is going to contribute to higher stress levels. Especially when things don’t go to plan.
As a new mum, you want to experience every moment with your little one. However, when you are trying to keep track of things – feeding times, sleeping when the baby sleeps or getting 8 hours of sleep a night – your brain will be so busy that you will miss those precious moments happening right in front of you.
Learn to sink into your natural rhythm and the rhythm that your baby is in. It is safe for you to quit tracking and simply be.
3. ASK FOR ALL THE HELP
One thing I really craved as a new mum was community. And I realise that not everyone has this either. We truly do benefit from a village around us and it truly is more than ok to ask for help. The other side of this is our willingness to receive it when it arrives.
I remember asking for help breastfeeding while in the hospital. Saying yes to a woman in the airport who offered to help me while travelling without my husband. And asking a friend if she could cook me a meal.
Learning not to be afraid to ask for help is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our little ones.