Reframing Self-Care as a New Parent

by Kelly Schneyer

Over the past four years since my son’s birth, constructing my life around becoming a mother who enjoys autonomy has become an ever-evolving dance. The first choreographed steps centered around adjusting my expectations on a daily basis.  Then I came to understand how to factor in my son’s temperament into how we go about our days.  As a whole, my experiences have taught me that with each inch he grows, I need to re-evaluate how I take care of myself.  As his needs evolve, so do mine.
Self-care can mean so many things. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to include everything.  By following three guidelines, you can set yourself up for success and enjoy motherhood more.

  1. Change one behavior at a time.  Every effort counts.
  2. Crowd out undesirable behavior by adding in better choices to reduce the not-so-desirable choices.
  3. No self loathing allowed.  Only self forgiveness and self acceptance.

No matter how old your child or how many you have, here are some simple ways you can integrate self-care into your life:
Hydrate before you caffeinate: Before you make a beeline to your nearest coffee shop, start your day by drinking 1-2 full glasses of water.  Dehydration can contribute to fatigue and hunger pains.  Also, for every cup of coffee you drink, try to drink one cup of water.  If you are a nursing mama, drinking water will help to improve the quality and supply of your milk.
Liven up with living foods: To get your green veggies, try drinking them! Here’s how:  parboil chard and cabbage in water, then strain. Put a couple of handfuls into a blender with a chopped apple (seeds & skin okay!), 1 juiced lemon, 1/3 cup honey, and 2-3 cups of water.  A big pitcher can be made anytime of the day. This smoothie makes a healthy snack and breakfast on the go.
Reach out when tapped out: Talking to other adults is really important when most of your waking hours are spent with a small child.  If you live with your partner, try giving each other five minutes of uninterrupted talk time each day.  Set a timer and feel yourself unwind!   If you are seeking out connections with other mamas, there are several groups on, at Zenana Spa, Milagros, various Swap and Play locations  (Woodlawn, for example) and more.
Tune out to tune in: Carve out time for yourself to tune into your heart’s desires.  This could come as a brisk ten minute walk, journalling a few days a week, taking a yoga class alone, etc.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to feel anchored to yourself again.  The key is to be consistent with your practice.

New Wellness classes coming up!
Ongoing New Parent Wellness Classes at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center starting Wednesday, September 21st, 12-2P. Healthy and filling snacks will be provided. For families of infants 0-6 months*.

The focus of this wellness counseling class will be about integrating health and balance into your life with your infant in tow. Nutritional needs of breastfeeding mothers and bottle-fed infants will be discussed, as well as looking ahead at first foods.

Topic examples include: Transitions (i.e.  returning to work), sustaining relationship health, nutrition, adjusting expectations, time management, self-care, and much more. Participants will fill out a survey to indicate which topics are important to them.  Guest speakers will be invited to share their expertise about the topic of the day.

First class is free. Additional classes are $18/family.

5 class punch card/$85

10 class card/$165

Cash, check, and credit cards are accepted.

*7-18 month old family wellness class held at Milagros on Thursdays 12-2, starting September 22.
This weekly class is perfect for families who could use support how to eat well, exercise and take care of themselves since the birth of their baby.

Kelly Schneyer is the owner of The Nutrimentalist, a holistic health coaching practice in NE Portland.  She loves helping families, mamas and children discover ways to live a healthy and happy life.  She draws on her experience as a doula, childbirth educator, business owner, wife and mother in addition to her own personal healing odyssey, to compassionately guide others through their journey toward increased health and joy by improving nutrition and making positive life changes. More information can be found at

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