Even 5 minutes of self-care can make you a better mother

The founder of Mama Glow on 5 ways to find your best mama self. 

Even 5 minutes of self-care can make you a better mother

You know those goddess women? The ones that exude positivity and create calm everywhere they go?


Latham Thomas, founder of Mama Glow, is one of those women.

Mama Glow is a holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore their creative edge through well-being and self care. Living in New York alongside her son Fulano, and their turtle Climby, Latham is fiercely focused on creating fabulous, abundant pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences that refine and shape mothers into the best version of themselves.

We talked to Latham as part of Motherly's #Momboss series about the powerful and inspiring women changing our world.

She knows how motherhood changes women, and the struggle we find within our postpartum selves to find balance while retaining our sense of self.

To that end, she's sharing her 5 ways to find equilibrium in your post-baby life—

Latham Thomas: “Navigating new motherhood doesn't come easy, but remember, you're learning as you go. Parenting can make everything seem upside-down, but you can find your way to what I call “dynamic equilibrium," which is all about balance in motion.

It's not about trying to seek balance, because life is constantly in motion. Rather, it's about creating practices that help you become more in tune to your needs, your baby's needs, and the needs of your partner, while respecting the rhythmic cycles within."

1. Establish a glow time practice

As challenging as it may be to get a moment of free time, I'm asking you to take some glow time for yourself.

This is a sacred act of self care.

Even if it's five minutes to yourself in peace and quiet: take a shower or hot salt soak, get a foot rub, take a stroll outside for fresh air, practice some yogic breathing and tune inward, turn on some Beyoncé and dance, or read a good book.

Whatever is going to give you the needed respite you so need. This is just a way to charge your batteries, and make sure there is enough of your energy to go around.

2. Stop multi-tasking + try uni-tasking

It's easy to slip into your pre-baby check list mode and force yourself to adhere to ridiculously long to-do lists.

Rather than drive yourself nuts trying to complete a ton of tasks at once, try doing just one thing at a time from start to finish. Once complete you can move on to the next task. Remember, give yourself more time than you normally would to complete, so you don't feel unnecessary pressure.

Delegate tasks to people who can help you get things done and kick back and relax a bit, you just had a baby after all!

3. Take naps

I know everyone is telling you how you will never sleep again, but the key to rest in new motherhood is to adopt the practice of napping.

Kids do it for a reason. Sleep is therapeutic and necessary. If you aren't getting the best sleep set aside some time for naps. Even if you don't ultimately fall asleep, it's just a time to “power down" and zen out.

Also if you're really sleep deprived you can try leg drain, placing your legs up the wall while lying on your back, hanging out there for 20 minutes helps to reset the circadian rhythm and is equivalent to taking a two hour nap.

4. Move your body

Glow Motion- You are encoded with divine mojo, sacred Magic that is like fertilizer that enriches your spirit guiding you to becoming your very best self. Rise up and ask yourself, what do I need to thrive? At the seed level, what does it take to nourish you? Notice when you make excuses for playing small... Do not believe in your excuses. When we choose to allow fear to govern our choices we loose our authentic power. If you are spending time worrying or doubting yourself you are not available to what spirit has laid out for you. Set a path for yourself and chart you own course. Don't judge yourself against what you haven't yet accomplished. Sometimes your blessings are already waiting for you but can't cross the passageway because you have the door bolted shut! Open the doorway let love in, let light in. Embody strength and resilience. Are you a warrior? #yoga #mindfulness #motivation #inspiration #wellness #movement #fitness #yogini #strength #warrior #soulfulsaturday #hatchcollection #blackgirlmagic #fitspo
A photo posted by Latham Thomas (@glowmaven) on

After the baby's arrival, your body feels exhausted.

While you recover, there are small exercises that you can do to get things back in integration. But don't force any major exercise within the first six weeks of delivery. Take your time. There's no rush to get back “to normal."

Once you accept that time works differently when you have a newborn and learn to integrate your time with your new life, you can incorporate exercise into your day wherever it fits- but mornings are a good idea because it sets the tone for your day and helps to boost your mood. Yoga is excellent and helps to protect the joints, build surrounding muscles, and rehabilitate the core and pelvic floor. If you can make it out the house one time, to a yoga or pilates class, great! If the thought of putting on "real clothes" gives you anxiety, then try workouts online.

5. Define your sister circle and identify support systems

This is critical now.

It's important to build a strong network of cheerleaders so you don't feel you are alone. Nothing is sustainable without community, especially motherhood. Surround yourself with people who have the skills and resources to help support you. Make yourself at home with your sister circle. Ask questions of mothers around you, and gather resources.

Choose a mixed group of women, including seasoned mamas and single friends. Variety is key here for a few reasons.

First, veteran moms know exactly how to make themselves useful, are often efficient, and usually know their way around the kitchen, so meals will be taken care of. Your single girlfriends, on the other hand, can run errands, grocery shop, answer phones, help clean, and hold the baby to give you a few minutes to take a shower! Ask one of your closest friends to help coordinate a rotation of women—you don't want all your helpers at the house at the same time!

--

Make yourself a priority during this important time. It's so easy to put everyone in front of yourself, but if you've got no energy left, there's nothing to give. So nurture your new self mama, and watch a warrior awaken.

And if all that good wisdom wasn't enough, here's some more Motherly thoughts from Latham Thomas.

More Motherly wisdom from Latham—

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Latham Thomas: I ritualize my mornings so they run smoothly. I take my time, I move slowly.

I'm all about waking up with plenty of time before my son rises so I have time for myself to get organized and I can set the tone for my day.

This includes rolling out my mat for meditation and getting into some yoga and even taking a morning bath- which I love! I stay off email and if I get on social media, its to post something I have cued up so I can get off as soon as I post it. I make breakfast for my son and we walk to school together.

But the biggest tip for making mornings run smoothly starts the night before, with getting adequate rest and reading a good book, then getting to bed before 11pm so that I can have the most energy and be ready to meet the day. When I have the occasional late nights and oversleep, I blast music in the morning and dance around to get my blood flowing and get myself on task.

The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .

Packing a mobile pantry, or a pantry-on-the-go is one of my lifestyle tips that really helps me get through. I am one of those people who needs to eat small meals every few hours. Living in NYC and having a growing son, I learned to carry a mini-pantry for both of us.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

I have incredible intuition so I am very tapped into what is happening around me. I do believe that I deepened my empathy. I can walk into a room and sense that someone was crying in there and I am ready to nurture them as a result. Now with a 13-year-old son who is slowly moving through puberty and seeking a natural and healthy distance as he matures, I can tap into my wisdom when I sense he is having a challenge even if he doesn't tell me outright.

This quote inspires me. . .

"You can't knock a woman off a pedestal she built herself."

My friend Lisa Price, founder of Carol's Daughter posted this recently and I was so moved by it because each of us is building a queendom and when we realize that we stand tall on the foundation that we've built for ourselves, no one or nothing can hold us back.

We have to own our glow power. Rise up, look in the mirror and see what a marvel you truly are.

To me Motherly means…

To be motherly is to finesse in a nurturing way. To touch everyone and everything around you with grace. I know that my work is about nurturing women at whatever life stage they are in, helping them rise to the best iteration of themselves. I know that as a mother I am the crux of community so I am here to help nurture, grow and help heal people and that is the motherly gift.


Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

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    The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

    Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

    Conz Preti

    Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

    This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

    Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


    Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


    Belly oil

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    Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

    $58

    Belly mask

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    Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

    $42

    Nipple + lip ointment 

    HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

    Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

    $28

    Belly tattoos

    HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

    A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

    $18

    This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

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    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

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    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

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    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

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    Wooden doll stroller

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    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

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    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

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    Sensory play set

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    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $19.95

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

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    Foam pogo stick

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    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

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    Hopper ball

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    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

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    Pull-along ducks

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    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

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    Rocking chair seesaw

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    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

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    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

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    Meadow ring toss game

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    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

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    New line of Barbie dolls includes a COVID vaccine developer

    Six female scientists and global frontline workers are honored in Mattel's latest Barbie line.

    Mattel

    Barbie celebrates role models in a variety of different careers—over 200 to be exact—and their newest line is no exception. The continuation of the "Play it Forward" platform (that Mattel, Inc. uses to give back to communities in times of need) will now honor six real-life female scientists who have been integral during the pandemic, including a COVID vaccine developer.

    It was announced today that Barbie will donate $5 for each eligible Barbie doctor, nurse and paramedic doll sold at Target to the First Responders Children's Foundation (FRCF), a charity that benefits the children of first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.


    "Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened," said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel in a statement. "To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie's platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back. Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes."

    One of the one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls is created in the likeness of British vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert, who helped lead the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. How cool is that? And what an inspirational toy for kids!

    Gilbert told The Guardian she hopes the dolls inspire other young women around the world to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers (STEM).

    "I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into STEM careers and hope that children who see my Barbie will realize how vital careers in science are to help the world around us," she said. "My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist."

    The other five women recognized by Barbie and Mattel, Inc. are also role models amid the ongoing pandemic: Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, a U.S. healthcare worker and advocate for anti-Asian racism, ER nurse Amy O'Sullivan, Canadian doctor and anti-racism advocate Chicka Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian biomedical researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, and Australian doctor Kirby White, who helped develop protective gowns for healthcare professionals.

    Mattel's #ThankYouHeroes program was created in 2020 to honor those who have led the fight against COVID-19, as well as the everyday heroes who keep our communities up and running.

    Cheers to the new line of Barbie dolls, and may all the Barbie-lovers in our families find inspiration from these real-life heroes!

    News + Trending

    Car seat safety isn't a gray area: Why one mom's story is going viral

    She texted her husband to remind him to tighten the straps. Minutes later, he was in a car crash.

    This story was originally published on August 01, 2018

    For most parenting tasks, there's more than one way to get things done. This is important to remember if you're parenting with a partner who has a totally different laundry system than you do or packs the diaper bag in a way that makes no sense to you. It's not the end of the world if the onesies are hung instead of folded or if the bottles are in the wrong pocket. We have to give our partners room to do things their way, too.

    But when it comes to buckling our kids in their car seats, there really is only one way—the safe way—and one mama is thankful that she reminded her partner of that just in time.


    Rebecca Tafaro Boyer is a new mom and nurse at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. On her first day back at work after maternity leave she asked her husband to send her hourly updates on how her 3-month-old son, William, was doing on his first day without her.

    When her husband texted her a photo of William in his car seat, Tafaro Boyer knew she had to let her husband know that there's really only one way to buckle a baby in. "My nagging wife reply was to correct William's position in the car seat—the straps were too loose and the chest clip was way too low. And because I know my husband, I'm sure that he laughed at me and rolled his eyes before tightening the car seat and fixing the chest clip," she wrote in a now viral Facebook post about the experience.

    Just 15 minutes after her husband fixed the straps, he and little William were in a collision.

    According to Tafaro Boyer, an unlicensed, uninsured driver pulled into oncoming traffic attempting to make an illegal left turn, and although her husband slammed on the brakes at nearly 50 miles an hour, he just didn't have enough time to stop and hit the other car.

    "My precious little bundle of joy was so well restrained in his car seat, THAT HE DIDN'T EVEN WAKE UP. Even with the impact of the two cars, William only received a minor jolt - so insignificant that he was able to continue on with his nap," Tafaro Boyer wrote.

    Her husband was injured, but baby William was snug in his Britax B Safe 35 car seat. Had the straps been left as they were, it could have been a different story.

    "I am so thankful that my husband took the extra one minute that was necessary to put William in his car seat safely," she Tafaro Boyer explained. "I truly believe that the reason my family is at home sitting on the couch with a pair of crutches instead of down at the hospital is because of my annoying nagging mom voice."

    Fellow moms are all up in the comments of Tafaro Boyer's post tagging thier partners and leaving notes like, "This is why I nag."

    It's not nagging if it's a safety issue.

    Sometimes our partners (or our child's grandparents or babysitters) just don't know that something isn't safe. We've got to tell them when they're doing something we know could hurt our child. That's a text worth sending. The ones about the way your significant other folds the laundry wrong, those are the texts you might want to keep to yourself.

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