What with the sleep deprivation, the pedicure deprivation and the confirmed reports that “Real Housewife” Bethenny Frankel lost 29 pounds of baby weight in just three weeks, stylish first-time moms have a lot to contend with.
Fortunately, they also have “Momover: The New Mom's Guide to Getting It Back Together” (Adams Media, $14.95), by former fashion editor Dana Wood.
Wood, who wrote about portions of her own mommy makeover for the now-defunct luxury parenting magazine Cookie, is a veteran of numerous post-baby beauty treatments. She has tried laser teeth-whitening, seaweed appetite suppressants and electroshock therapy on her belly.
“But something happened on the way to Superficiality Central,” she writes in “Momover.” “I started to become a lot more concerned with the way I felt than the way I looked.”
The result is a frank, funny and surprisingly relatable book. We spoke with Wood about her own sometimes rocky new-mom experience and her best tips for recharging your batteries and reclaiming (some of) your pre-baby life.
Q: We've heard a lot about celebrity moms losing a huge amount of baby weight in a very short time. Is that what the “Momover” is about?
A: Oh, my God, no. Some of those women look fabulous. I think Bethenny Frankel in particular — amazing. But any of those celebrities ... they've got the money for the personal trainer and for a chef maybe or a really pricey food-delivery system. My book is more about the DIY, just figuring it out for yourself.
Q: You recommend a grace period when you don't try to momover yourself.
A: For the first six weeks, you really shouldn't be doing anything much except maybe taking a walk around the block.
Q: What's your advice to a new mom who's really having trouble setting aside time for herself?
A: If you don't recharge your batteries, you are bringing nothing to that baby. You can't love as hard and as well, mommy as hard and as well, if you are totally exhausted and feeling sad. No one should feel guilty (for taking care of themselves) anyway, but the way to spin it is, it's better for my kid if I do this.
Q: It's kind of a Catch-22: You have to take time for yourself to really understand the value of taking time for yourself.
A: That's why I talk about setting precedents from day one. Anything we do — whether it's a good thing for us or a bad thing — is going to become a habit eventually.
Start your momover:
Get serious about sleep. Once you're beyond the hard-core newborn phase, this is vital, Wood says. “And I do not want to >hear 'I do not have the time.' We all waste time every day.”
Set priorities for mind candy. “And by that I mean, TiVo, TiVo, TiVo,” Wood says. “I don't believe in watching anything live anymore, but I do believe in watching the stuff that makes you happy.”
Focus on one task at a time. Wood advocates “monotasking” as a way to reduce your stress and increase your self-fulfillment.