(Note: Kaitlyn enrolled in the Begin with the Children program in 2016. Her twins joined the family in 2021. In her blog, she shares her feelings about parenting each month as her twins grow up. These are her feelings for the twins’ month 3.)

Parents are people, too! Now that the immediate post-partum period is ending for me, I am eager to get back to feeling more like myself. While my infants and older children still need a lot of time and attention, it is important for me to have my needs met, too.

If you look around, it feels like most of the “self-care” type articles discuss big outings and a lot of money. But large shopping trips, manicures, spa days, and vacations aren’t really in my family’s budget. That’s okay, because there are other things that actually pay off much more in the long run for me (even if they aren’t quite as fun upfront).

KinderKronicle Month 3 features an article titled, “Taking Care of Yourself.” After reading this article, I compiled a list of things that make me feel like a functioning human again during my child’s first year. Maybe there is something on this list that can help you feel a little better too!

  • Run (okay… jog… slowly… or walk… the main idea here is to get a little sweaty doing some form of exercise!) I enjoy the couch to 5k program when I am trying to get back into shape. For the record, I do not enjoy running while I am in the process . . . it is the feeling of accomplishment afterward!
  • Wash my face—it may seem a little strange, but it works for me. I went to Walmart and bought some inexpensive face wash that probably isn’t even that great for my face. But washing my face in the shower after my “run” is one of life’s simple pleasures.
  • Get dressed and go get a treat or drink with a friend or family member. My first “outing” alone after giving birth was to go with a friend for one hour to a local Italian ice place… it felt nice to be out of the house and not worried about meeting the needs of anyone else for a minute.
  • Buy one or two new outfits that fit. I dislike spending money on “in-between” clothes… but experience has taught me that even if I do happen to immediately fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes, they don’t fit “right” for quite a while. I feel SO much better having one or two things in my closet that I like for going out.
  • Read—or some other pre-baby hobby you enjoy. While, for me, this often involves reading four pages of a book at night, and then needing to backtrack three pages the next because I can’t remember what I read, it is still important. The point is, reading is something I enjoyed before the babies were born and it makes me feel like myself when I have a book in my hand. Whatever you enjoyed doing before your child was born . . . do that. Even if it isn’t productive.

What types of everyday activities help you to feel human?
Do you have any tips for other new parents?
What has worked for you?