Mental reset: How I find the emotional energy to be present for my child

Yes, it’s possible to be introverted and social, mama! It’s all about doing what’s right for Y.O.U.  

Mental reset: How I find the emotional energy to be present for my child

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed the company of people. I love public speaking, meeting new people, and having meaningful conversations with random strangers at the park, a conference or even on an airplane.  I am not shy and—as long as I feel emotionally safe—I have no trouble expressing myself.

And yet, I dread large crowded spaces. I’d rather be in an empty train than a loud and crowded one. Please do not invite me to an indoor musical concert. Friday night dinners in a bustling downtown spot have never been my idea of an ideal weekend activity, and I’ve always preferred a restorative yoga class to wrap up my week. I’d rather go and spend a few days in a secluded cabin than a hustling, bustling resort.


But for a long time, I continued going to yet another networking event, another happy hour, or another loud birthday party—only to find myself incredibly drained and exhausted. But I kept at it because I wrongly believed that’s what I needed to do to fit in to this world.

And here’s the strangest irony—itwasn’t until I read Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, that I even realized just how much of an introvert I was, and even worse, I was judgmental of other introverts… *sigh*.

I always felt that people who were quieter and spoke less in group settings perhaps lacked confidence and somehow needed to be fixed. I feel so sad even as I type these words on how wrong, naïve, and arrogant I was.

Several times during reading, I found myself in tears. It has been one of the most transformational books I have read, as it helped me understand myself a little better and accept myself a little more. It has helped me to be kinder, more compassionate, and more respectful of other introverts in my life—of whom there are many!

However, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I realized how much I valued quiet time, soft music, one-on-one conversations, and simple walks with the stroller.

Being around a toddler who is constantly asking questions, buzzes around from one activity to the next, and has a million needs that need to be met each day means that my quiet self needs even more nurturing.

It is only through this self-care that I have the headspace and emotional energy to be present, loving, and accepting of my child.

Have I cracked the perfect code?  Not really. There are times I wish we couldall have five minutes of silence in our house. I have tried various techniques with my toddler but haven’t quite mastered it yet.

But, here are a few things that help me thrive as an introverted mother.

Genuinely accepting myself.

This is the foundation for me. I need to accept, love, and respect myself for who I am and not compare myself to the people who can spend a Saturday going from one social engagement to another and feel energized at the end of the day. Those parents are beautiful in their own way but I am not one of them. I need to make choices that honor who I am.

Prioritizing nature.

A photo posted by Nives Markelj (@nivessa) on

Ask me any day, and I would choose a few hours at a park over a crowded indoor museum. I have even done informational interviews and mentoring meetings on a Saturday morning at the park while my son plays in the sand. Family vacations typically mean cabins and tents or spending time at a national park.

Savoring long bed times.

My husband and I love bed time. It’s peaceful and we’re all together in our bed. We keep this long, rich, and full of hugs, cuddles, stories, singing, and quiet time. It’s something I look forward to every night and is my most precious time with my son.

Saying "no" to crowds.

I have learned to politely decline (most) invitations to loud, crowded parties and to express my love and gratitude in other ways. Sometimes, I try politely suggesting a one-on-one activity on a different weekend or sending a handmade birthday card.

Finding alone time.

A photo posted by Gaby (@mylittleyogi) on

Most importantly, I have learned to prioritize, schedule, and appreciate quiet time. Time alone in the car without turning on NPR. Solo walks around my house. Blocked calendars to work in silence at my office. It means waking up at 5am on a Saturday to write in silence or to enjoy a meditation class. It means connecting with myself so I can have a richer and more purposeful connection with the outside world.

Are you an introverted parent? What are some of your unique ways of nourishing yourself?

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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