Feeling touched out as a Mum? Stop struggling alone!

In those first couple of years with my first baby I remember feeling completely touched out as a Mum. I was breastfeeding, co-sleeping and stay-at-home parenting. While all of these were my choices, my body no longer felt like my own. Sometimes when my older kids would want to sit on my lap or my husband would come and give me a hug; I would cringe and physically brace myself because I didn’t want to be touched.

If you’re also feeling touched out as a Mum – these are the things that helped me. Watch the video below or scroll on to read.

What helps when you’re feeling touched out as a Mum

Take a physical break away from your family.

I know it’s hard to get a break away from your kids. Especially when you’re the default parent and leaving sometimes feels harder than staying because of the tears and meltdowns it creates. But if you literally can’t stand being touched by your person and you cringe when your kids need more of you, than you NEED to take the time away to just be in your body alone.

You don’t need to take long breaks away. While dreaming about going away on your own for two days might feel like heaven, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to organise this regularly. Instead when you’ve got young children, plan to take regular short breaks away on your own.

Go for a walk outside by yourself for half and hour.

Escape to the beach or pool for a swim.

Even just to sit in a coffee shop and eat your cake without sharing it can be good for your soul.

If you’re feeling major Mum guilts, you could even just start with ten minutes outside on your own. Then gradually increase the time as you start to feel more comfortable and reassured that your baby will be fine without you.

Find ways to enjoy touch again.

So often the touch that we experience in those early postpartum days feels uncomfortable and even painful. Breastfeeding with sore nipples. Cuddled round a sleeping baby in a way that your back hurts.

Even being hugged can make you cringe because you’re thinking it will lead to sex which might be painful and uncomfortable after birth.

You need to find ways to enjoy touch again. If you can swing it, go and get a massage outside of the home. This has to be one of the best ways to relieve postpartum stress and enjoy being touched again in a space where there are not expectations on you other than to relax and receive. I recognise this isn’t always possible because of the cost or if you’re not ready to take a full hour away yet.

If you can’t manage a professional massage, talk to your partner. Tell them how you’re feeling touched out as a Mum and why you need to relearn how to enjoy physical affection again. Ask for a shoulder or foot massage. Be clear that this is about enjoying platonic touch and it’s not leading anywhere. It’s important to set that boundary from the start so that you can fully relax and focus on feeling positive about touch during the massage.

Use nap time to be in your body

Rather that giving more of yourself and doing all the house things while your kids nap, use naptime for you. Do something that helps you to feel good in your body. That could be a luxurious bath where you take the time to wash your hair and do a face mask. Or maybe it’s catching up on sleep next to your baby. Some days moving your body and feeling strong will be the best thing you can do when you’re feeling touched out as a Mum.

Practise a short yoga class with me. I have a new series in my Online Yoga Circle membership called naptime sessions that are perfect for this. They’re short sessions and they’re designed specifically for things you might be dealing with in the postpartum period, like a sore neck and shoulders, resentment or exhaustion.

Talk about how you’re feeling.

First of all you need to communicate with your partner about how you touched out as a Mum and why you feel this way. Explain to them what helps (time alone, loving touch without expectation) and what makes it worse (not having any time for self-care, not looking after your body well). Help your partner to understand that you need support to find time for yourself and then come up with a plan for you to have it on a regular basis. I often find the Mums that I work with in 1:1 sessions don’t blink when their partner takes time for themselves, but struggle to take it for themselves.

If you don’t share how you’re feeling with your partner they will take it personally and think it’s about them. It’s human nature to assume the problem must be us, so make sure that you share how you’re feeling about being touched out so that you can find a way to solve it together.

Sometimes though feeling touched out as a Mum is just one small part of a bigger problem. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted in life as a whole. Or perhaps you’re feeling lost in Motherhood now that you’re not working and your life with a small baby looks completely different to before. If this is the case for you, talking to a counsellor (or even a friend who understands) can be really helpful. If you’re looking for a local counsellor I’d recommend finding a perinatal specialist or you can always reach out to me for a 1:1 virtual session.

touched out as a Mum

Where to next?

1. Book a date night to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling touched out as a Mum (this can even just be at home once the kids are in bed).

2. Plan what you’ll do during nap time tomorrow to feel good in your body.

3. Ask your partner, Mum, Sister or friend to watch your baby / kids while you take some time this week for yourself.

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