Nature's Way

The Early Years of Motherhood

This post is sponsored by Nature’s Way®

Motherhood is messy and staggeringly beautiful. It is overflowing with great joy, laughter, tenderness, and immeasurable responsibility. As mothers, we strive to make our families the heart of our day-to-day lives, and we redefine what it means to be tired, to be busy, to multitask with grace and patience. We love with our whole hearts and do everything in our power to give and give selflessly.

Through it all, my daughters are the core of my universe. I want them to always see me as I am: a woman, a wife, a writer, a daughter, a friend, a hopeless romantic; a momma. We are, as parents, massively skilled jugglers, and it is not always easy to strike a balance. 

When I know that my family’s cups are full, I am able to make sure my cup is full as well. A massive part of this is making sure that my family’s health and physical wellbeing is at the forefront of our routines. 

Routines guide and shape our days while adding built-in safeguards. They can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Figuring out what works for you and your family right where you are now is one of the most important tools at your disposal when so much of your world may seem out of your control in the first months and years of motherhood. 

What has helped me the most so far in my motherhood journey, is the ability to step back and analyze what is in my power to change, adjust, or improve. There are, of course, challenges that simply must be faced head-on when your children are little, but there are also numerous solutions to some of the largest stressors.

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1.) Adequate Sleep. 

Sleep refuels and rejuvenates us in a way that is palpable from the moment we open our eyes. The sun streaming in to stir us from our slumber, a singing alarm, or the sweet early morning cries of our littles all hold such different weight when we are properly rested. 

We have to be able to rest in order to function at our highest capacities during the day. Making sure we schedule in the time to get the sleep we need is essential, especially in the space of early motherhood. 

This may seem difficult or unattainable when you are waking up many hours of the night, or have early morning risers. Start somewhere small, like getting the kids ready for bed 30-45 minutes earlier. When you are settled for the night, put down your phone and pick up a book, a crossword, or something tangible to tire your brain. Head to bed as early as you can for as many days a week as possible, and let your mind and body recharge for yourself and your family.

2.) Health Routines.

When there are many plates to be juggled and hats to be worn, having a simple health routine is often one of the most significant ways to create and maintain the balance of a day to day life with littles. Our weeks tend to look like pieces from several different puzzles all mismatched and trying to find their perfect placements amidst the chaos. To simplify it, motherhood is hectic, and if we can find some ways to alleviate that stress or simplify it, we should take them. 

There are two main pieces of my health routine that have decreased my stress and added an extra boost to my energy. The first piece is staying active (this is typically light physical activity) and the second is adding in supplements to support both my own and my family’s general  health.* 

In my own world, I have found that walking outside, breathing in fresh air, throwing on some music for a dance party, or trying an online workout class greatly improves my overall feeling and outlook on the day. I aim for 30-60 minutes of activity, and sometimes it helps to include my children as well. (My children love dance parties first thing in the morning.) 

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In addition, I take Rhodiola Energy from Nature’s WayⓇ, which is a supplement for adults that promotes mental stamina as well as physical endurance.* When taken in addition to a healthy and active lifestyle, this can have an impact on things like general stamina without so many peaks and valleys.* On days that are very mentally straining, adding this to my morning routine before breakfast has made such a difference for me. The ability to have mental and physical endurance is critical, and Rhodiola Energy truly helps me maintain that.*

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Keep Sambucus Gummies for Kids out of reach of children.

The other supplement is one that my children take, and that is the Sambucus Gummies for Kids, also from Nature’s Way. As a family of four, we are almost always on the go and there is no telling where we will be on any given day. The children have activities, play dates, and we travel to and from family frequently. Sambucus Kids Gummies are a blend of vitamin C, zinc, and black elderberry extract which is helpful in the daily support of their immune systems.* My daughters both love these because they are elderberry flavored, and it gives me such peace of mind that my children have an extra layer of immune support, especially during the winter months.*

3.) Mental Health Awareness

Your mental health is sacred. How can you be present, involved, or hold patience if you are pouring from a cup that has run completely dry? It is important to check in with yourself once a week and take a full and honest mental log of how you have been doing. Are you exhausted? Drained? Stressed? Are you joyful? Excited by a new day? See what you can do to thoroughly evaluate your headspace, adjusting or shifting what’s necessary within the next week to improve your mental health. When we create awareness of our own mental health, we start to challenge the “why” behind feeling those feelings.

One of the most important things I have done for myself in my adult life, is making the time to seek out and find a therapist that will listen and understand this current season and the roads I have traveled to get here. Seeing a professional who is without bias or judgement can help navigate both challenges and joys, and can create an even deeper, more intimate understanding of yourself.

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4.) Surrounding Yourself With Love

So often as adults, we live far away from family. This means that almost all of the parenting tasks are done by one of two parents, or only one parent. It can be isolating. When I first became a mom, we were living three hours from my family and did not know anyone in our town. It changed my life to lean into that vulnerability, and find friendship with other mommas. Creating lasting friendships with people that live in close proximity to us allows for help and support when needed, but also the opportunity to build memories and bonds with other people experiencing similar seasons of life. If you are lucky enough to live by people you love already, strengthen those existing connections.

It can feel intimidating to put yourself out there, but the support and bonds of friendship are priceless. Volunteer to host a playdate or see if there are local groups to join. Drive to see family or invite them over for a meal. Nothing has to be perfect. Human connection should alleviate stress; not add to it. Your home should be lived in, your kids should have toys out, your heart should be seen and valued by those you love and there is not one thing more valuable than our relationships.

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5.) Ask For Help

In the thick of long days, there are moments when everything feels overwhelming. That is when it becomes easy to tell ourselves that we are the only ones experiencing these emotions, and those thoughts can be isolating. Do not let the fear of people seeing your vulnerability keep you from asking for help. 

You do not have to have it all together, all the time. All parents,  regardless of circumstances, are human. And humans need help. We accomplish significantly more together. 

Despite what you may think, it is so critical that we learn to ask for help when we need it. It does not in any way mean you are weak or that you cannot handle the tough challenges of life. Do not let the fear of being vulnerable keep you from seeking out help from friends, family, and loved ones when you need it most.

In The End…

Most importantly, I want you to know that you are not alone. Even when the days feel heavy, you have so much love and support surrounding you. Sometimes you have to create it. Sometimes you just have to search for it a little bit harder. Sometimes there are small changes that can be made (like adding in helpful and organic supplements) and sometimes the changes need to be greater (like seeing a therapist or seeking help when needed.) 

Motherhood is the greatest gift. I hope you cherish it, hold it, treasure it. You can do hard things. You can do anything. (Even while juggling.) 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Alison Malee is an accomplished poet, author, and actress. Read her book Shifting Bone here.

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