NYC blogger and mama of 3 dishes on how she makes time for herself.
*We've partnered with Mustela to share how taking care of everyone else starts with taking care of yourself.
If you follow Dikla Goren Dekel on Instagram, you might wonder (like we do), how it is humanly possible to take care of three kids (including a newborn), hit all the coolest fashion events, blog and Instagram on the regular, and look so. darn. good. all. the. time. And yet, it's impossible not to love this brutally honest, earnest and inspiring NYC mama, who's constantly bearing all of her motherhood journey (sometimes literally!) for our benefit.
So how does this Israeli transplant do it all, and make it look so effortless? Maybe it's the community of moms she leans on for support, both locally and online. Or the satisfaction she gets from channeling her parenting adventures into Girl Plus Two. Or maybe it's her commitment to her own emotional and physical wellness, since she knows that taking care of herself will help her to take care of everyone else. Below, Dikla gives us a glimpse into her parenting journey and shares which postpartum rituals she swears by now that she's a mom of three.
What's it like to be a parent in NYC compared to back in Israel?
From my point of view, it is really challenging to be a parent here. The vibe here is "work work work," and I work a lot. I work right after the boys leave in the morning, and I work while I nurse the baby, and also right after they all go to sleep. And since the cold season here is pretty long, I feel like the kids need to be entertained more indoors...which means more classes and playdates, and less time to get work done!
I don't complain, since I love what I do. And once you have your third kid, you are already pro in handling everything (or at least you think you are!). I didn't have the need for a "real" maternity leave, but when I tell my friends back home that most women only get 6 weeks of maternity leave here, they are in shock -- in Israel, it's 6 months!
For me, being a parent here -- struggling, working, teaching without family around, and being there for my kids 24/7-- is almost like being a superhero, and every night before I go to sleep, I tell my husband how proud I am of what we have managed to do. I think every single mom in NYC has to feel the same.
Tell me a little about your mama community.
Out all my friends, I'm the only one that has "big" kids. Most of my friends are having newborns like my little baby, Romi, so for them, I'm the mama guru! Motherhood is totally a different experience when it's your third time around.
What about the community of moms you've met online through your blog and Instagram?
Thanks to the blog, I have had the chance to meet so many moms and to hear their stories. I'm also able to share my thoughts, to ask them questions and to give them my point of view on issues. I was struggling with nursing once, and after I wrote a post about it, I got so much love and advice on what to do. Moms I never met felt comfortable sharing their stories and showed so much love! My mama community on Instagram is beyond amazing and each one of the mamas I've "met" there feels so close to me -- we are real friends! We support each other, and that's the beauty of social media. I love it.
How has this postpartum experience been treating you, physically and emotionally?
The delivery was pretty smooth, so physically I felt pretty good right after I gave birth. The first month after I gave birth was pretty intense, though. We had our families here so it didn't feel like our real routine, the boys were adjusting to their new sister, and I was adjusting to nursing again and to sleep less than before (now I have 2 babies!) It took me a couple weeks to feel that I had control again.
Does it get easier the third time around?
Each baby brings its own thing... with my second it was much harder for me to adjust from having one to two kids, and this time I was struggling with nursing. This time around, though, I feel more secure, and it feels natural to me. But the hardest part is that you have less time to recharge.
What are some of the ways you take care of yourself as a new mom? What are your postpartum rituals?
1. Exercising. I loved being pregnant. I was glowing and I enjoyed every single second of it.... my belly was pretty small, so I never really felt heavy, but once the baby was out I couldn't wait to get back in shape and have my body back. So one of my favorite parts of the morning is when I put Romi in the stroller and we go for a walk. Recently, I signed up at the gym and started to do pilates.
2. Taking care of my skin. I started using lotion when I was 10 years old, and I haven't stopped using it since. During pregnancy I always kept my skin moisturized and now, post-partum I use Mustela Stretch Marks Recovery Serum. This serum is on my must-have list for new moms!I'm totally addicted to it because it is free from harsh ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol and is safe to use while nursing. This serum is packed with Avocado peptides, which nourish the skin and help to reinforce elasticity. Its's the only product I consistently use in the morning when I wake up and at night after I bathe, right before I go to sleep. I love the way it feels and smells, plus I don't have stretch marks on my belly or love handles!
3. Making time for “me-time." It's almost impossible during the daytime, but I'm trying to make time for myself right before the kids come home from school, or when they're napping, or after they go to sleep... even if it means that I go to sleep at 2am. At night when the house is quiet, after I finish working, I'll make a cup of coffee for myself. This time I'll drink it hot (I'd rather not count how many times I have to warm my coffee in the morning when the kids are getting ready for school!), and I'll sit on the sofa and relax or chat with my husband. Sometimes I'll take long bath, then take some time to moisturize my body. Or I'll treat myself to a facial or mask before bed.
4. Going on dates with my husband. I don't think that you have to give up on who you are just because you have kids, so I'm trying to do things I did before, even if I do it in smaller portions now. One of those things is going on a date with my husband! Once a week we go out and have a nice dinner, just the two of us, and once or twice a week, we'll have a date during the daytime while the kids are at school. Even if it's just for a coffee or breakfast, or a foot massage in Soho (my latest addiction!). We have time to catch up, to relax, to laugh, and to think clear. The one on one with him is super important for me -- I totally feel recharged when the kids are back home, and I think it does magic to your relationship.
Photography by Ben Abarbanel for Well Rounded NY.
*This post was sponsored by Mustela.