Sometimes we get so caught up in coping with life that we start sweating the small stuff. We asked Dr Nalini Taneja, a motivational speaker, consultant
and author of All That Matters – Reflections on a Life Lived Well, to offer easy tips on making the working mommy life work for you…
So, you just had a baby. Welcome to the real world. Your life is about to change forever. Life is a constant whirlwind of activity for all of us but more so for women who have full-time careers and children to take care of. You are probably completely hassled as you are busy feeding the baby, having sleepless nights, trying to catch up on your daily chores and, of course, the usual cooking, cleaning and taking care of the house. Suddenly, 24 hours seem less… really less. Handling all this and eventually getting back to work is not going to be easy, but it’s certainly something you can manage, using some helpful techniques.
First and foremost, realise you have just experienced one of the greatest miracles on earth – you have become a part of the creation process. You just delivered a healthy baby. Secondly have gratitude for the fact that everything went off smoothly. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the present moment – of being a mum. Now, it is understood that you have much more to do now but if you organise your self a bit, it will not be that difficult.
Each one of us has the same 1,440 minutes in a day, the same 3,600 in an hour and this has not changed – as we know – for many centuries. You have to remember that time is a limited commodity and it is totally up to you how you utilise it. Take control of it as only you can; someone else will not come and do it for you. Here are some ways you can streamline your life and find a semblance of sanity among your newfound duties.
In the early days…TAKE SHORT NAPS
With the arrival of the newborn, your sleeping routine is bound to change drastically, especially for the first couple of months. Newborn babies tend to keep awake at night and sleep during the day. For you, it is important to take rest as and when you can. The bad news is that you may not be able to sleep for eight hours at a stretch. The good news is you can rejuvenate yourself with short 10-minute naps.
ASK FOR HELP
Sit with your spouse and let him know that you need more help around the house. Communicate in clear terms the support you require from him. Train your house help well. If you have friends or family members who can help with picking up the dry cleaning or baby sit so that you can run some errands, ask them for help.
CREATE ‘ME TIME’ FOR YOURSELF
You are a new mum. Another new mum tried a technique that helped her a lot. No matter what, she would take half an hour every day for herself. She called it her ‘ME TIME’. She set an alarm on her mobile and she created a ritual around it. The minute the alarm rang, she would sit silently where she was and just meditate or focus on her breathing followed by doing what she loved most. In her case, it was reading or practising her singing voice. Do whatever speaks to you or works for you. It could be cooking, gardening, just sitting and relaxing or writing. You could get a manicure, make a nice salad for yourself, or treat yourself to a nice facial.
As you start getting back to work…
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN AMAZING MORNING
Set out your clothes and your baby’s clothes the night before. Create a routine that before sleeping at night you will keep in one place the nappies, clothes, sweaters – basically, whatever that your baby needs during the course of the day – at one place. The clothes, shoes and accessories that you will wear also need to be kept at one place. Another important thing to start your day on the right note is to have a good breakfast. A study by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that children and adults who eat breakfast perform better on tests, have better focus and concentration and they are able to think faster and make faster decisions. Options for a healthy breakfast include a handful of nuts, fruits, cereal and milk, vegetable poha, idli (rated by the World Health Organisation as one of the best meals one can have), two egg whites scrambled or in an omelette, a whole-grain bread sandwich, oats, a glass of milk.
OVER THE WEEKEND
Make your to-do lists, ask help from your partner to finish weekly grocery shopping, and organise the kitchen. When you cook a meal cook one portion extra and deep-freeze it. Keep boiled potatoes in the fridge so you can create easy meals quickly during the week. Make sure you use the pressure cooker more.
BE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
Try as much as you can to focus on the present. Breathe deeply. It means leaving your office work at the work place. Learn to relax and let go. There will be times your house won’t be spotless and that is fine. Start a gratitude journal where you record all the things that you are thanful for. Take out five minutes a day to focus on nature, whether it is listening to the sound of the wind or observing the colour of a new leaf, the sunrise or the sunset. Take care of the moments. As children’s author Maria Edgeworth is quoted as saying, “If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
Do it in short spurts. Do not think you have to exercise at a stretch for 30 minutes or more. Whether you walk for 30 minutes at a stretch or do 10 minutes of it three times a day, it works out to be the same. Dance to your favourite song or do surya namaskar (sun salutation), do 10-20 jumping jacks and lunges. The point is to do some sort of exercise. A few things that you should not do are to watch TV endlessly, read newspapers compulsively that will only remind you of corruption, scandals and world problems, or worry about unnecessary things. They will not change because you decided to worry about them.
TAKE BABY STEPS
Remember it is your life, and all you need to do is enjoy it. Relax and take a deep breath and enjoy the moments of this new adventure called motherhood. You owe it to yourself. M&B