Making time for self-care is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for new moms.
12 days after his scheduled arrival, baby boy Alexander Anselme Keith came into the world on the morning of Oct. 5.
His mother, Peggy, is one of my best friends in the world.
I met Peggy in our first year of university in Canada, where we’re from. We were nerdy and witty, obsessed with “The Simpsons,” boys with bleached hair, music trivia, and flavored vodka.
Over the last 20 years, we’ve grown up a lot. Our hair is better, our eyesight a little worse. There’s a lot less body glitter and a lot more coffee. Peggy got married. We’ve both established careers and traveled. While I’m not sure I’ll ever have kids, I knew from the day I met her that Peggy’s fierce devotion and powerful capacity for love would make her a wonderful mom.
And, of course, she absolutely is. Once baby Alex gets a little better at object permanence, I’m excited to take on my role as a goofy, nerdy aunt and teach him about Monty Python, Harry Potter, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
In the meantime, I have another important job as a best friend: helping his mom maintain her sanity and composure while she adapts to her new role. Even though we’re in the same city, I can’t be there with a wipe for every stuffed nose or soiled backside. I can, however, share with her some lovely little items that’ll make her busy life a little easier and her downtime a little more relaxing. Making time for self-care is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for new moms. After all, we can only fill up our children with love if we’re full, too!
In honor of my wonderful friend, here’s what I’m putting in her care package:
1. Specialty dark chocolate
The health benefits of fair-trade dark chocolate may be up for debate, but that it is a wonderful, delicious indulgence is not. Coupled with a wheel of local camembert, some crackers, and a mandarin orange, it’s a nice treat for mom on her own or to share with dad on an impromptu date night once the baby is off to bed.
2. Escapist reading material
The world can seem like a dismal, ridiculous place at times. But this baby — and all others born in 2016 — have the potential to grow up and change it. I picked up a Rolling Stone magazine featuring a beloved band and a book about our shared favorite nation (Canada!) for a glorious, positive distraction.
3. Tinted lip balm
Because looking and feeling put together isn’t something moms should have to give up.
4. Face wipes
These face wipes are great for busy mornings that start too early, or for those times when she just needs a quick refresh.
5. A silky moisturizer for (almost) baby-soft skin
When mom is snatching a few hours or minutes of sleep at a time — and trying to raise a quickly growing bundle of love — remembering to take care of herself isn’t always a priority. This AVEENO® Daily Moisturizer will keep her skin soft and moisturized all day.
6. Dry shampoo
In my opinion, dry shampoo is the greatest innovation of the 2000s. It foofs (yes, that’s the technical term) up flat, dirty hair in seconds, making the choice between “Mom gets to wash her hair for the first time in four days” and “Mom cleans spit-up off the couch before it dries” a lot less disappointing. (If you can’t find dry shampoo, sub in JOHNSON’S® baby powder — it can actually serve as a form of dry shampoo!)
7. A sleep mask for napping during the day
A two- or three-hour feeding schedule makes things like daytime and nighttime seem pretty arbitrary. For moms who prefer a little darkness when they sleep, this mask comes in pretty handy during tandem afternoon naps with a sleepy babe.
8. Fancy caffeine-free herbal tea
Because it smells and tastes like relaxation. Mmmmm.
9. Hot water bottle and fuzzy sleeve
Making a baby and giving birth is some of the hardest work a mom’s body will do. This hot water bottle will help sore muscles relax as her body heals. Added bonus: It looks like a giant wooly sock!
There’s a lot I still don’t know about life. One thing is for sure, though: Taking time to care — for ourselves and for those we love — is essential.
I’ve been friends with Peggy since we were dorky teenagers, and I know we’ll be friends when we’re older, grayer, and probably not wiser. Whenever we can be, we’re there for each other. When we can’t be, care packages are a great alternative!
By Upworthy contributor Heather Libby.