Rest. We all know how important it is. Rejuvenating shut-eye can feel like a much-needed tropical vacation from that hectic, exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming #momlife that’s go-go-go from dawn ’til dusk.
Before I became a mama, many of my experienced mom-friends would tell me, “Get all the rest you can get now!” and I would just laugh it off with a… “I know, I know…” BUT, REALLY. If only I could have saved up those heavenly, peaceful hours for use at another time (a.k.a.—now).
In the thick of my son’s newborn stage, I was lucky to get three to four hours of non-consecutive sleep a night and for me, that just wasn’t going to cut it. I was used to setting an alarm to start my day but now, my baby was my alarm.
Sleep deprivation was just one of those things no person, book, or podcast could have prepared me for. It’s heavy. It’s foggy. And truly, the only way to get through it is to go through it.
I’d wake up pulling my eyelids open and chug cups of coffee just to get me going and feeling sane. The clock would read 9:00 am and I’d wonder how I had already been up for four hours and how would I ever get through the day feeling so depleted of energy and motivation. Can you relate? (Someone, anyone, please say you can!)
I’d look at my son and feel guilty, for all he wanted was my love and care. Of course, I would be there for him at every turn, but when—oh when—would I get some rest again?
“Nap when the baby naps.” Hah. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never been real good at following that recommended tip.
“Sit when the baby naps.”
“Fold when the baby naps.”
“Clean when the baby naps.”
“Breathe when the baby naps.”
I did those. Does that count?
What I needed was a mantra. I needed to rise from the heaviness of my covers with a few words that would kick me into high-gear with no turning back.
That’s when my friend and mentor messaged me, asking me how it was going. It’s like she knew.
“I’m exhausted,” I told her. “I feel like I’m constantly running on empty with my little one looking at me for more… more … MORE!”
“I know. I really know,” she replied, herself a mother to a young son too.
Then she added, “When I was in the stage you’re in now, I had a mantra I’d repeat to myself that helped immensely…. it was ‘I trust that my body is getting the rest it needs.'”
Those words hit me hard. Maybe I needed to own the tiredness, the bags under my eyes, the piles of laundry, and feelings of guilt—and give myself a little grace. I had to trust that I’d get through the day, and then the night, with all of the energy I had stored. That would be enough. Even if I was only getting a few hours of sleep, I’d repeat the mantra to myself as a reminder that I had what I needed to go on and power through the day.
Mantras, or words that you concentrate on while repeating in meditation, have always been guides for me as a yoga teacher. Taking a little bit of that mindfulness into my life as a new mother helped me make a much-needed mental shift.
I was no longer a prisoner in my house, my thoughts, or my routine. I had control again just by repeating a few simple, yet powerful words that a friend passed on.
The mind is one of our most powerful tools. Use it more. Go to it to guide you through and above overwhelming, sometimes lonely chapters in your life.
And when you’re laying like a pancake on your messy bed at the end of an oh-so-long day, just trust “your body is getting the rest it needs” and every “tomorrow” is a new day where you will crush it as your child’s mom—again, and again, and again.
I leave this “momtra” with you too.
“I trust that my body is getting the rest it needs.”
Fight on, mamas. Fight ON.
P.S. You should totally nap when the baby naps.