I hit my limit two weeks after having my second child: I was so sleep deprived and tired from around-the-clock feedings that I could barely function. I burst into tears frequently and found myself fantasizing (hallucinating?) about falling into a deep REM cycle, where I didn’t have to swaddle or diaper anyone. That’s when I said, the heck with it, and called in a baby nurse. For three blissful nights, I slept hard. I woke up feeling like a new, fully functioning human being. The world looked brighter, and so did the bags under my eyes. I was ready to nurse, burp, and sponge bath that little child in my arms with gusto.

After reaching bottom, I realized: I need to prioritize my own needs from time to time—or else I will end up parenting on fumes (half-conscious, super cranky) and that’s not good for anyone. Turns out, I’m not the only mom to have this epiphany.

Highly functioning moms, I learned, find ways to get mind-body balance, so they’re better equipped to handle kids. Self-care can also be a team effort that benefits both parents. Clémence von Mueffling, the Paris-born founder and curator of the online publication Beauty and Well Being, has a Saturday morning fitness ritual with her husband. “We leave the children for an hour with a sitter and head to a swimming pool for a few laps,” she says. Afterward, “we feel so relaxed and ready for a weekend full of activities. It’s well-used ‘me’ time.”

Read more here.