I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to make the new mum/working mum adjustment. I’ve been career focused since my mum packed me off for university (there may have been a few tears as she left me in my halls), so having a baby was always going to be a journey for me – who am I kidding? As far as I can tell, motherhood is always a journey, even for the mums who have known they wanted to be a mum since taking care of their dolls as a child.
From having a newborn (who needed me intensely) to a just-turned-one-year-old (who still needs me, but is perhaps more interested in eating cat litter, trying to climb down the stairs or working out how to undo the locks on the cleaning products cupboard), me-time has become pretty limited but oh-so-precious.
The things I value are definitely changing, but there are bits of the pre-mum me that I’d like to hold on to. Skincare is one: the 10 minutes at the end of the evening where I look after my skin is also when I just switch off and relax. Don’t get me started on my wardrobe which a) doesn’t fit and b) currently has something unidentifiable smeared down my much-loved white embroidery anglaise Vivienne Westwood.
So, how do I spa while having a busy one year old, working a very full job and project-managing the build of our new house (I forgot to mention that bit). My plans are to spa at home, not to save money but to squeeze in as much spa as I can in the small amount of time I have off. I want to pamper and indulge, giving myself those 10 minutes at the end of the day to just breathe.
I’d like to get a handle on my skincare routine. Pre-pregnancy I had genuinely oily skin, so I had to be careful with which products I used, or I end up with an oil slick t-zone and horrible breakouts (teenage years here I come...). During pregnancy my skin became dry and dehydrated. Now it’s a weird mix of them both. I’ve started free-handing my face masks with a dollop of hydrating here, some purification there -- I’m probably sending my skin into overdrive.
I’m normally a very focused person, so the fact that I have to do three or four things at once drives me slightly up the wall. I do headspace every night before bed, but I’d like to find some other techniques to help me calm and compartmentalise. It might also help me sleep (oh my god, why didn’t I mention sleep before?). During bad nights my little one wakes every hour and it normally takes me 30 to 40 minutes to be able to switch off enough to sleep. Talk about ever decreasing circles. I might take the ‘I will try anything if it promises more sleep’ challenge. Supplements? I’ll take them. Vibrating headsets? You betcha. Sleep concerts? Sign me up.
I’ve also decided that I’ll only do things that I really want or really matter. Downtime is such a limited commodity that I want to make sure I get the most out of it.
And if I can find a spa with a good crèche, I’ll let you know...
My intention for this month: I’d like to build a habit of listening to mental health/wellness podcasts in the car. My commute to work is about 80 minutes in total and it would be good to put that time to use.
New favourite book or podcast: The One You Feed - named after the Cherokee proverb about the mind being two warring wolves, the podcast has guests including Maria Popova and Carol Dweck.
My current go-to product: Medik8 Hydrate B5. The serum is rich in hyaluronic acid and is light on the skin. It layers really well under day and night moisturisers too.