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Navigating life as a new mama: Part one

Written by Maddy Bento | Sunday, 21 August 2022

tips and advice

In this two-part series, Nutritionist and Endeavour graduate, Maddy Bento shares her wisdom on navigating life as a new mother. In her day job, Maddy helps to support women with their relationship to food, their hormones and mental health. Here are the first two pieces of advice she shares to all new mums…

When I first became a new mum, I was overwhelmed with the huge responsibility of raising my son but also wanting to do it “perfectly”. I was determined to research it all and do everything “right”! If only I knew how wrong I was going to be.

We get so wrapped up in the best pram, how much tummy time for baby, making sure our babies eat enough, sleep enough, have clean clothes, have a clean nappy and feel loved that we forget to look after ourselves. We forget that without us, this little person, one of the most important people in our world, can’t be cared for if we aren’t okay.

I see many beautiful mothers who are struggling but aren’t sure how to ask for help or aren’t ready to accept help. I used to be like that too. I think looking back now I was worried that if I asked for help people would think that I couldn’t do it or that I didn’t love my kids or that I wasn’t a good mum. I am here to hold your hand and say that you’re an incredible mum and it’s important to be kind to yourself. Remember, you’re learning as you go!

You’re not just learning to be a mum but you’re learning how to be YOU as a mum. My biggest piece of advice is to be kind to yourself. Always. When you start being unkind to yourself, ask yourself if you would say this to your friends, your family or your partner?

Here are my top tips for navigating life as a new mum.

#1 Ask for help… YESTERDAY!

How often do we put off getting help because we think we are fine and it’s not until we are really struggling that we ask for help? And by this point, we are screaming and needing LOTS of help! What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of outsourcing something? Is it the washing (that’s mine)? Is it getting someone to care for the kids so you can have some alone time? Is it a cleaner? Is it getting some meals ready-made?

Next… Is this thing realistic? I would love a live-in nanny/housekeeper/massage therapist but it’s also not realistic for me right now!

If it’s not realistic, what’s the next best thing? Maybe it’s getting a massage once a month, or getting some alone time each day or maybe it’s getting a cleaner once a fortnight or outsourcing that one job that you hate doing.

Now, book it. I’ll wait here. Book it right now!

Thanks for coming back. Before we move to the next step, what’s the next thing you need help with – and I mean specifically your health? When did you last see the doctor? Do you need some acupuncture? Or how about seeing a Nutritionist or Naturopath? If you need support with your health you can book it here at one of the Endeavour Wellness Clinics! It’s a great way to look after your health in a cost-effective way.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, please reach out to someone now. It’s important and you deserve to feel your best. If you need mental health support please see your doctor, consult a psychologist or counsellor,  call Life Line on 13 11 14 or call PANDA 1300 726 306 or go to the hospital.

#2 What are your values?

I like to refer to my values when I’m feeling overwhelmed. What do I value most? Family is one of my core values so when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I talk to someone in my family, I bake with my kids, I cuddle with my kids or I try and think of things I’m grateful for about my family.

Sometimes my little people are the reason for my overwhelming feelings, so in those moments I try and focus on compassion, another one of my core values. If I could do something right now to show myself or my kids compassion, what would it be? Sometimes it’s giving them space from me or giving me space from them, maybe it’s some water play (hot tip: if your kids are getting a bit temperamental, try water. Water play is a magic mood fixer). Maybe it’s choosing compassionate words or thinking compassionate thoughts for someone else.

What are your values? List three to five things in the notes of your phone, don’t worry no one else will see them and it isn’t in priority order because, let’s face it, our worlds are ever-changing.  Now think:

  • Why are these values important to you?
  • What is supportive of these values?
  • How can you add more of what’s important to you to your day?

Want the rest of Maddy’s tips for new mothers? Read part two here.

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Maddy Bento

Maddy Bento is a Nutritionist (BHSc Nut Med) who helps support women with their relationship to food, their hormones and their mental health. Using aspects from Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size in her clinic she aims to be inclusive, compassionate, empathetic, understanding and working with you to support your body in the best way you can.

Maddy is passionate about educating and empowering women about their health without dieting, restriction or damaging your relationship with your body or food. There is understanding and compassion for each stage you may be in of your life and Maddy aims to work with you and your health team in a collaborative environment to have the best outcomes for your health. If you would like to find out more about Maddy's work you can visit her website here or her Instagram here or Facebook page here.

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