Getting up every couple of hours to feed your newborn sucks. It turns you into a crying-face zombie who can barely crack an eyelid before downing an entire pot of coffee (decaf, if you’re nursing).
And even after you get all braggy about your kid sleeping through the entire night, you’ll be sideswiped by a phase of teething that makes your precious fuss during ungodly hours. Or, your baby will catch a cold for the first time and have no idea that you have to breathe through your mouth when your nostrils are stuffed (umm, shouldn’t this come naturally?). And then there are the growth spurts where your child needs so many night feedings.
While functioning on minimal sleep is a survival skill every new mom learns, feeling good (shoot, even decent) is another story. When you’re so over feeling less-than, try these stupid-easy tricks to re-energize yourself enough to finally change out of those spit-up covered yoga pants and maybe even meet up with a friend:
#1: Girl, Wash Your Hair
It’s no joke – showering and shaving your legs, let alone blow-drying your hair when your mini-me has you on-call 24/7 can seem impossible. But nothing in the world makes you feel brand-new like a hot shower. So, here’s how you get it done: Do it when your kiddo is safely asleep for the night or your partner is around to take over. That way, you can take as long as you like and not have to stress about your baby waking up in 15 minutes (that’s not a real nap!) or throwing a gangster fit after two seconds in the bouncy seat. If the real thing just isn’t going to happen because…colic and such, at least spray dry shampoo on to soak up the greasies.
#2: Fake It Until You Don’t Have to Anymore
The tell-tell sign you’ve been up all night are those obnoxiously dark circles under your eyes. Seriously, they’re like half-moons. The good news: You’re a lady, and it’s perfectly acceptable to slather a layer of ultra-thick concealer on those bad boys. If you still look haunted, put on a bright top – preferably pink – to give your face some healthy color. (Blush works, too.)
#3: Look Like You Made an Effort
I’m not talking about dropped-a-wad-at-Nordstrom level effort, but a step above the crusty nursing tank and greasy ponytail (see trick #1 above) that you’ve been wearing for how many days? Jeans and a cute nursing top would do. And while you’re at it, throw on a headband or some boho bobby pins. Or, cover up like a celeb at an airport with a baseball cap or beanie, big hoops and even bigger sunglasses and you might just get mistaken for Jessica Simpson. Might.
#4: Cat Nap Like Crazy
Listen: It’s not even worth trying to fight nodding off when your eyelids refuse to stay open or your head keeps doing that annoying slumping-down-then-jerking-up thing. You. Are. Exhausted. There’s a reason that wise, wise moms tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. If you follow this advice, you’ll feel 57% better than the rest of us who don’t listen when we should.
#5: Pause the Baby Talk
Admit it, you need grown-up conversation. Talking in your silly-precious baby voice all day gets old after a while. And, getting out of the house can really make you feel human again. Bundle up your little one and go shopping (old ladies will fawn all over your newborn), visit with friends, or join a mom’s group like MOPS or the Moms Club. (For a list of ways to connect other moms, check out this article on how to find your tribe.)
If your baby is older, going to a gym that has childcare services is an excellent way to do something for yourself, see other adults and get out of the house. Or, head to the library for their free programs for tots and toddlers. You’ll meet other moms there while doing a fun activity with your child. Even commiserating with other moms online can help you feel connected. Check out the communities on BabyCenter or Mamapedia.
Look, it’s impossible to feel 100% yourself when you’ve only had a couple of hours of sleep. But pulling yourself together a bit, getting out of the house and talking to other moms can be a huge mood booster. And a happy mom is a 100% better prepared to face whatever parenting challenges come her way.