(With Mollee Bauer, mama, Founder of Pregnancy.org) It happens to even the most unsuspecting- you have your first baby and seem unable to carry out the usual things you did so thoughtlessly before… “Shower? …what’s that?” “Get dressed? …don’t sweatpants count?” “Get out of the house? …I don’t even know where my keys are!”
Don’t worry you’re in good company. It’s normal. As Mollee Bauer shares with us, it’s also normal to continue neglecting ourselves as we move forward in mamahood- but it’s not good! Mollee is passionate about women taking care of themselves, because she’s seen how much happier families are with satisfied & rested mamas at the helm. Self-care doesn’t mean getting expensive professional massages every day (but wouldn’t that be nice). She gives fabulous & inexpensive tips for taking care of yourself and shares what this can look like. She even tells you a great place to start. It’s so do-able!
You’ll Also Learn:
- Why self-care isn’t self-ish.
- Tips for how to start taking care of yourself, without feeling guilty.
- Why it matters that you take care of yourself & accepting that you’ll never have “you time” is a bad idea.
- What Mollee did to take care of herself when her and what she still does it today!
Who is Mollee Bauer?
Mollee Bauer is the mama of a teenaged son and is the Founder and General Manager of Pregnancy.org. Mollee and her family live in the Sunshine State.
Watch the Interview (or download MP3)
What do you think? Share below.
Sarah Blight: Hi. This is Sarah Blight with Your Baby Booty Interviews where we chat with real people who have real experiences so that you can have real takeaways to apply to your journey as you become a mom. So today we’re chatting with Mollee Bauer. She’s the founder and general manager of Pregnancy.org and she’s the mama of a 15-year old boy. So watch out world. We’re about to drive [Laughter]. And she is very passionate about moms taking care of themselves. So we are going to chat today about that topic. Thank you so much, Mollee for taking your time out of your busy schedule. Why are you so passionate, Mollee about self-care and women taking care of themselves?
Mollee Bauer: Well, self-care I believe stems from, well actually, let me back up a bit. Not enough women participate in self-care because I believe that somehow we think that we are not allowed to, we don’t have the time to, that other people’s needs come first. And one of the things especially for new moms, new parents, like even new dads, it’s important to take care of one self because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re certainly not going to be able to take care the rest of your family. So your needs are very important. So over the last ten years, our mission at Pregnancy.org is to really empower women and their partners on their journey to parenthood and beyond because we feel that with arming them with tools and experts and information that they can make those important decisions for themselves and their family and get help along the way because it’s absolutely okay task for helping. Not enough of us do that.
So one of the delightful things, connections that I have is actually with the Real Mom Experts who do a lot of self-care challenges and we were one of their self-care champions actually that just ended last week. And I’ve learned a lot from Diane — Dr. Diane Sanford. She has been instrumental in my own implementation of self-care because I am just as guilty as probably about 80 to 85% of the women out there who do not practice Self-care. So for me, I’m passionate about it because I believe that women should take every opportunity they can to have the most uneventful and I mean that in a positive way, safe and enjoyable pregnancy because not all of them are, you know. It’s not — not everyone is going to have a blissful pregnancy. So anything that we can do to help make that process smoother is probably what we’re really passionate about.
Sarah Blight: I love that. So what do you say to the people who kind of say that self-care is selfish?
Mollee Bauer: I would say that they haven’t practice self-care because if they understood what our really truly means, it means even if it’s five minutes. Let’s say you have one of those super moms who book everything and schedule everything and their kids are zigzagging all over the place, even they need five to ten minutes a day just to sit down, to meditate, to take some time for themselves, have a cup of coffee, even just do something frivolous because that allows our bodies and our minds to have that important relaxation time. This couldn’t be even more important than in trying to conceive especially. So many women who are trying to conceive will often complain about that and I know people get really tired of hearing just relax, it happens but that actually is a really big part of it. So, you know, we have a lot of information in our Getting Pregnant section about that in particular.
Sarah Blight: Okay. What — so you’ve touched a little bit on why does it matter, why does it matter that women take care of themselves. Do you have any examples or specific stories over the years that you’ve been really advocating self-care that kind of stick out in your mind?
Mollee Bauer: Sure. There was one new mom in particular whose baby was having a lot of — well, sleep scheduling issues. So the baby would be up all night and then sleep all day.
Sarah Blight: Oh no.
Mollee Bauer: And so she was exhausted. She was trying to do breastfeeding of course, everything else. So with some of the tools information on our site that we’ve provided to is actually able to take some of that advice and actually implemented in to her own life and she was very grateful. She’s actually had subsequent children and still is with us, you know, several years later. So I’d like to think that we had a helping hand, you know.
Sarah Blight: So it sounds like she did it [Laughter] — her — her pregnancy brain allowed her to want to have more kids at some point. So it must have worked for her. [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: Well, that is the amazing thing about pregnancy. We can remember stubbing our toe but none of us seem to be able to remember having a kid. So and it’s the weirdest thing. I would look back on it and go, why can’t I remember this? But we just don’t. So…
Sarah Blight: And it’s weird but it’s funny. What do you say to first time moms who or maybe have just given birth and they’re sitting there thinking this sounds really great taking care of yourself but I haven’t showered in a week and I haven’t even put on real human clothing that I would be wanted to be seeing out in public for a week. How does — what is that look like for new moms? How can they kind of get over that hump of just being overwhelmed by taking care of this little person’s needs?
Mollee Bauer: Sure. They just have to believe that they are allowed to do that through the support of their husbands, their partners, their friends. If you’re a good friend say, “Hey, you know, you look really exhausted. You know, maybe come over for dinner.” You know, never to be afraid to ask for help. You know, no one is going to be perfect. No one is a perfect parent. We’re all going to make mistakes along the way. That’s just — it’s trial and error, that’s all it ever is. Life is a trial and error. So it’s really important that new moms understand that they have every right to say, “Hey, you know what? Can you help watch the baby so I can take a shower,” you know or whatever and else it is. You know, take advantage if you have in-laws or parents nearby. Say, “You know, we’d really love a date night. Would you mind watching the kid?” Now, so there’s lots of different solutions that you can do. You just — don’t be afraid to ask. It’s not going to be an imposition on someone. Honestly most people are so ooh and aah over newborns want to hold them anyway. So –
Sarah Blight: Baby — [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: So I don’t think it’s going to be that much of a burden for someone especially in-laws or parents.
Sarah Blight: Yes. They’ll be willing to hijack. They’re probably just waiting for you to take a shower for once. [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: Definitely, I mean I know in my own experience my mom was all the time, “Oh, oh I’ll hold the baby. I’ll hold the baby.” [Laughter]
Sarah Blight: Yeah, yeah. [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: So I mean that was just never an issue.
Sarah Blight: And also too I think when I reflect on our son being born, there were times when, you know, he would just cry in his little bouncy seat while I took a shower and I just had to just turn off the mommy syndrome which made me wanted to just crawl out of my skin and grab him and console him. I just let him cry for five minutes while I shaved my armpits, you know. [Laughter] And that was okay, you know. He wasn’t — he was safe and I could see him from the shower and I knew he was fine and that was okay but I needed to shave that day, you know. And so — and that’s okay and I think new parents need to be reminded, new moms that sometimes it’s okay when you know your kid is safe and they don’t really need anything they’re tended to that it’s okay to let them cry for a couple of minutes while you –
Mollee Bauer: Absolutely.
Sarah Blight: … take a shower.
Mollee Bauer: I mean that’s — that mom guilt that you’re talking about is very pervasive. I mean it’s new moms, moms who’ve had a few, it doesn’t matter. I think even after they’re grown up that still doesn’t go away to some degree. But you know, it is true. I mean I couldn’t tell you how many times I would peek through the shower curtain just to say, “Huh, are you okay? Are you still there? Are you still breathing?” Now because we especially as new moms, you know, all this information is so new and it can be so overwhelming. So that’s why we’ve put together a lot of different series and articles and tips and even top ten list that really kind of — or just easy to read, easy to digest for new parents and parents who are been around the block. There’s always something that we can learn. So whether it’s information in our Baby and Beyond section over there. It’s, you know, even in our Pregnancy or Getting Pregnant section, we’re always going to have some…
Sarah Blight: Oops, I lost Mollee for a second. Let’s see if we can get this connection back. We lost you for just a second. [Laughter] I don’t know what Santa’s elves are doing down in Florida but [Laughter] –
Mollee Bauer: Getting busy in Hanson [0:08:58] [Phonetic].
Sarah Blight: Yeah, there you are. Okay. There you’re back. Okay. So and I want to get some more about resources in just a second because I know you do have great resources on your — on your website. Where do you — where should a new mama start? Maybe whether they’re pregnant or just had a new baby, what are like three things that they can do that are tangible that they can start doing today or on a weekly basis to really start taking care of themselves?
Mollee Bauer: Definitely if they are okay with exercising. Let’s say they, you know, they didn’t have a complicated pregnancy and they’re not healing up from that. I mean you still need, you know, good four to six weeks but exercising at home. Doing a little bit of, you know, the We [0:09:44] [Phonetic] or whatever program they want to even if it’s just yoga or just stretching, taking a half an hour three times a week just for you. In fact there’s a lot of really wonderful mommy and baby exercise DVDs that are out there where you can even have your baby in the sling and do some exercise.
Definitely scheduling time in the bathroom to shower or bathe. Perhaps have, you know, their partner or husband if they’re willing to help cook, you know, taking turns trying to really divide out the “chores” so you know, if you need a hand and you know, the diapering or the bathing. I mean they’re all enjoyable things with the newborn because it’s right there in the sink and they’re so little. But you know, it’s — just having a break so it’s — I think, you know, the top three are really just, you know, getting break time, getting exercise time, getting the time to eat correctly especially if you’re breastfeeding like getting enough water still because water is still important. It helps produce the breast milk. And — and just some rest.
Sarah Blight: So what are the habits? You have a 15-year old we mentioned.
Mollee Bauer: Yes.
Sarah Blight: And I’m sure it seemed like yesterday he was just being born. What are some things that you started doing when he was, you know, itty bitty that you still kind of carry over habits that you do now to take care of yourself?
Mollee Bauer: For me it was taking five to ten minutes to meditate just to literally pull myself away from the computer and take some time. I still do that today because I need to [Laughter] regardless of the kid or not, just work load in general but I journal a lot. I’m a writer so that’s a natural fit for me. I like to exercise. I like to go for walks even if it’s just a 10, 15-minute walk with the dogs. You know, these are the types of different activities that I would do when Ezra was little we were still living in Minnesota. So the weather wasn’t always conducive to doing something outside but, you know, and so in that case, getting together with friends or talking on the phone or, you know, again, just trying to figure out something to do to stay warm. [Laughter]
Sarah Blight: Yeah. [Laughter] That’s where we’re at right now up here in Michigan. [Laughter] So it sounds like self-care doesn’t have to be this big fancy, you know, going to get a massage every week or expensive thing. It’s just really simple things that moms can have a tendency to really lose track of not even sitting down to eat a proper meal or things like that we kind of take for granted before we have kids and then all of a sudden, a week is gone by and we’re a disheveled mess and we’re hungry and we’re cranky. And so it sounds like these are all really do-able, easy thing.
Mollee Bauer: Absolutely.
Sarah Blight: And from what you’re saying too, it sounds like if you start doing this early on when you have kids, it just becomes part of the routine which I can imagine when you don’t have it, you really feel the lack of that in your life.
Mollee Bauer: You do, you do. It becomes almost ritualize. My meditation time is usually at the end of the day before bed. For some moms, maybe do a little bit first thing in the morning if your kid is still sleeping. Sometimes waking up if you aren’t already exhausted but waking up a little bit early just to do something for yourself whether it’s breakfast, whether it’s a quick run, whether it’s, you know, an exercise, whatever it is, sometimes that little bit of time really can make a difference. If you’re not a morning person, do something at night. I mean there’s no set rule book on, you know, what’s right or what’s wrong. I mean it’s got to work for you. So my biggest advice is find something that you love and just do it. But it’s, you know, maybe cooking is Zen for you. Maybe cleaning dishes is Zen for you. For some people it is. So I mean if these kinds of activities help you to relax, nothing wrong with it. And as you said, you know, a massage would be really great but it would get very expensive. So maybe your partner could give you a massage. But you something to say hey –
Sarah Blight: Yeah and if cooking and cleaning is your Zen, come ever to my house. I’ll give you plenty of stuff to do and I’ll watch your kid. [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: Exactly, right? Oh, and that’s another really important point actually that you bring up, that kind of parent bartering. So if you are good friends with people…
Sarah Blight: Oops, we lost Mollee again just a second. Well, the Santa’s helpers work on this problem. Oops, are you there, Mollee?
Mollee Bauer: Yup, I am here.
Sarah Blight: Okay, for some reason I went offline. I have no idea why.
Mollee Bauer: [Laughter] No problem.
Sarah Blight: Okay. Let me see if we’re still –
Mollee Bauer: So what I was saying is that if you have — if you’re friends with your neighborhood and here’s a lot of, you know, parents, parents-to-be in your neighborhood, I would suggest, you know, even having like a potluck if it’s once a month, once a week where you can all get together. Maybe setting co-ops, they’re great. We used to use on. You know, I would watch someone’s kids. They’d go out. They’d watch our kids. We’d go out. So, you know, there’s just be innovative in, you know, what is around you and take advantage of those types of resources as well. I mean there’s all kinds online of course but you know, look right within your community too.
Sarah Blight: And wouldn’t you say too, Mollee that even — it’s easy for people with really like newborns and you know, infants to feel like, “Well we can’t do these activities because my kid doesn’t even know what we’re doing.” But wouldn’t you agree that like play groups and moms groups and things like that are really more about the mom at that point and that it’s really good for moms to have other time with moms too as a way to kind of keep your sanity and just your feeling that you’re a human being?
Mollee Bauer: Absolutely. Actually, we have a wonderful piece by Stay-At-Home mom Melissa Stanton who talks just about that, how to find if you’re a stay-at-home mom especially how to find those mom groups and they are. In fact, I have a quick story about that. When I moved to San Jose, I’ve been part of a birth group that got together in 1995. We were all pregnant at the same time and it was an e-mail list group. And so we were all pregnant at the same time. We’re all giving birth within September. We’re all still talking today, in fact, on Facebook and still on Yahoo 15 years or 16 years later. But when I moved, the moms who were there found me, welcome me in, told me when the group was. I got to meet a lot of them in person and our kids got to play and it was wonderful. It is about the mom a lot of the time and then as they do get older, you know, you hope for the kids can interact and we did get the get the chance to interact with some, still ask if you remember so and so. It was like “You know, not really.” [Laughter]
Sarah Blight: Yeah, yeah.
Mollee Bauer: But you know — but it was. And then we actually exchange and this is when they were itty bitty I want to say about 18, 19 months. We all created a square for a quilt. So I still have all of the quilt squares. We have actually haven’t put them all together but I have everybody’s little hand print.
Sarah Blight: Wow.
Mollee Bauer: So, it’s pretty neat, you know and so those kinds of connections are really priceless and we actually treasure those on our site. We’ve had people who are been with us over ten years actually who followed me over from — from the other site. So –
Sarah Blight: That’s cool.
Mollee Bauer: And it is a testament too to how this community stick together and of course, we’re always looking for brand new blood. So…
Sarah Blight: Right. And I remember after our son was born the first time I went to the grocery store by myself, you know, when I was dressed and I showered and I had make up on and I was like there’s a whole new world out here that I forgot about in the last few weeks since I’ve been covered and coop and throw up. And I think it’s really important for women to know that they’re not alone that so many women feel the same way and it can be really isolating and so really making those connections. I remember bringing my kid when he was like, you know, a month old to play groups and I’m like, hey, you know. It’s — it was just for me I needed the play group, you know. [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: Yes. Yes, you.
Sarah Blight: I needed that.
Mollee Bauer: You need to be able to talk to someone who doesn’t just go [Making Sounds].
Sarah Blight: Right. [Laughter] Exactly. You want feedback and conversation sometimes and that is part of really feeling like you’re a normal person again I think.
Mollee Bauer: Yeah, that’s huge actually. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things that we hear a lot is that, oh it’s so nice to have an adult conversation.
Sarah Blight: Yeah.
Mollee Bauer: And so many people don’t get that opportunity and I think if you don’t, I think you start to get overwhelmed and then you get in to that kind of downward spiral that you get depress and which can lead to, you know, post partum blues. And you know, we all want to kind of want to try to stay away from that. I mean sometimes we can’t but for the most part, there’s a lot of things that are within our control that are able to alleviate those kinds of situations. So mom groups, play groups, Mommy & Me Groups. I mean Jim Burry is [0:18:53] [Phonetic] nationwide. There’s all kinds of different organizations that a mom could reach out too.
Sarah Blight: Yeah, I love that. Since we’re on the resources part and you’ve mentioned you have a lot of resources on your website, where exactly do mamas go on Pregnancy.org to access these wonderful resources that you have?
Mollee Bauer: Sure. Well, when they’re pregnant, you know, our site breaks down to really four main focus areas; so Getting Pregnant, Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery and then Baby and Beyond. So for us, you know, we’d like to be able to start the journey when, you know, people are trying to conceive and then we go to about age 5 in terms of our content. So just about kindergarten and we do that on purpose. So if they’re pregnant, you know, they can go to our calendar, pregnancy calendar where they can track their — their pregnancy and there’s a little bit of wisdom for them each and everyday whether it’s a personal anecdote or links to articles or whatever it is and –
Sarah Blight: Yeah, it’s a great calendar. I’ve been using it and that’s been really good.
Mollee Bauer: Thank you.
Sarah Blight: Yeah.
Mollee Bauer: It’s, you know, it’s – and I need to mention, you know, the site is free. So we don’t charge for any of these things. Just have to sign up and be a member.
We actually have after the site relaunch, we actually have a lot of new features in the member profiles which we still working on a little bit. But you know, it gives the — it will have the ability to friend friends, friend the experts, friend friends and interact with friends much in the way that Facebook does so that whole point of being able to connect with your community will become easier and easier especially as we go in to 2012. So we actually have some very exciting things. We actually have also Pregnancy Companion Mobile App that is in beta in the available iTunes Store and in the Android Market and it will also be on BlackBerry and eventually on the feature phones as well. So your basic cellphone. So it is another cool that is allows the mom to get information to track their pregnancy and so forth.
For the new mom, you know, they can keep traveling through our content. In fact you can customize your profile to what stage you are in and that related content is what we’ll show for you even though the other content will show as well but we try to customize the experience for you. And so within Baby and Beyond, we break it down in to Preemies, Newborns, Babies, Toddlers, Preschooler or so there’s clear definitions of where they can go and again, we’re still tweaking a little but everything is still there pretty much at your fingertips. So the key is really to discover what we have in the content and everything is really easy to read. We don’t talk at you. We talk with you. We’re with you on the journey instead of kind of telling you what to do because we believe that parents are quite capable of making up their own minds. [Laughter]
Sarah Blight: Yes and that’s why we love you guys.
Mollee Bauer: Oh, thank you.
Sarah Blight: I think your kindred spirits in that way and we appreciate everything that you’re doing in your space as well.
Mollee Bauer: Thank you.
Sarah Blight: To all you mamas who are watching right now, if you have any thoughts or comments or suggestions on self-care, things that you’ve done that you — have worked for you, please share them below this interview. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you so much to Mollee Bauer from Pregnancy.org –
Mollee Bauer: You’re welcome.
Sarah Blight: … for sharing your passion for self-care. I think I’m going to take a nap after this interview. [Laughter]
Mollee Bauer: Excellent. That would be excellent. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Sarah Blight: Thank you so much. To all you mamas, take care and we will see you soon.
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