You can’t pour from an empty cup: 5 small ways to center yourself

Get to know your authentic self—we know she’s worthy of love and compassion!

You can’t pour from an empty cup: 5 small ways to center yourself

The expectations put on us as women and as mothers as immense. Now, many new mothers experience a state of confusion, not knowing what this life change means for them.

You may ask yourself:

Who will I become in this new role?

What is important to me now?

And how can I be the mother I want to be, constrained by the expectations of others?

Authenticity is hard won, and it's a concept that is very important to define. It means being real: true to your innermost self. It means discovering what's important to you—and sticking by those principles and attributes.


Discovering authenticity requires clarity, and that's something that Paula Mallis, founder of WMN Space strives to create for women in all walks of life. Trained as a doula, with extensive training is spiritual psychology, she works to help women to heal their bodies and minds, while finding their way towards a life they feel is authentic.

Today, Paula shares five tips that helped her discover what she feels is an authentic life, for her. They are simple steps, and may indeed help you find the clarity you're searching for.

Pause for some meditation

Finding pause in your day can allow the to-do lists and expectations fall away, leaving space for coherent thought, acknowledgement of your emotional well-being and the creation of a sense of inner calm.

Paula: I can't say my meditation looks like me in lotus pose om-ing away. But what I can say is that I do believe in "pausing" throughout the day. Sometimes my meditation is in the school parking lot after dropping my daughter off as the mornings are busy to say the least. I take a moment to breathe and connect back to myself, my breath and which allows me to come back to center or neutral.

Schedule self-care

One cannot pour from an empty cup. Taking the time to replenshish your energy with a small, personal self-care ritual can act as a reminder that you count too. So much of motherhood is care-taking. Ensuring that we ourselves are also taken care of will allow us to better care for others.

Paula: I have a morning and evening skin care ritual. I use all non-toxic skin care products, applying a mask every day either morning or night, to help replenish my skin with organic, plant-based products.

Nourish yourself lovingly

Everything is affected by the foods we take into our bodies. From energy levels, to how our skin looks, to actual health—as in, avoiding diseases and illnesses—our nutritional intake can make or break our efforts to live and authentic life.

Paula: Every day I have a Moon Juice smoothie. For me this smoothie is like a daily coffee. I am totally addicted. The smoothie includes cacao, almond milk, banana, cinnamon, coconut butter, ashwagandha and blue adaptogen protein powder. YUM!

Remember what's important: family

This might seem like a no-brainer, but spending time with our kids and our partners without distractions (I'm talking to you, checking your Instagram again!), reminds us what's really important.

Paula: My intention each day when I pick up my daughter is to have as much of my work done, so I can fully be present with her. We are all guilty of texting and checking emails, multitasking as modern women and mothers trying to do it all. I know I am guilty of this but I try and be mindful of my time with Madeleine as she is growing up so fast and I just don't want to miss it over checking emails and social media for the 50,000th time that day.

Embrace a mantra for the day

Paula: I read inspired books to support my mantra or prayer for the day. My favorite go to book right now is "Change Me Prayers" by Tosha Silvera

Want more from Paula? We did too! We asked five extra questions that she was kind enough to answer.

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Paula: My mornings run smoothly when I get up earlier than my family and meditate instead of meditating in the sanctuary of my car.

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

Paula: Practicing self-care and self-love first. Forgiving myself for all judgments towards myself and others.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Paula: After giving birth to Madeleine I felt I was gifted superpowers. The birth was so transformative and gave me the strength that I can still reference back to in support the life opportunities that come my way.

This quote inspires me...

Paula: "Never take any wooden nickels." Grandmama Gibson (my grandmother)

To me "motherly" means...

Paula: Caring, loving, nurturing and knowing

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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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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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