I don’t know about you, but when I became a mother, I felt very much as though I’d been thrown in the deep end with the sharks. (The sharks possibly being my children in the future, lol). No matter what decision I made, there was always someone doing something completely different and so I had the inspiration to write this article on the things I would say to myself as a new mom. Because if I could go back in time, I’d sure be a whole lot nicer.
1) If you don’t get it right the first time, try again.
This goes for anything baby related. Somehow motherhood is the only craft we expect to carry out perfectly from the get go, even on 0 experience.
If you learn how to be a pastry chef, do you think they just throw you in the kitchen with a cone and buttercream filler expecting you to ice perfectly? In any profession, you have to learn the ways of the world and yet the moment we slip up as a new mom, we feel we’ve failed.
This is mainly due to the overwhelming pressure we feel from society, possibly our parents/friends, and ourselves.
How can we take that pressure off?
- Rationalize your thinking – start observing the negative talk and take it for what it is – trash
- Notice the generalisations and assumptions you make – “I always do this” or “It must be because x+y=z”
2) EVERYTHING TAKES AGES TO DO
Seriously add like an hour to any task you need to do cause once you’re past the baby stage, there is so much stalling, forgetting, and mishaps that you’re guaranteed to be late at least once. If you have in mind the fact that everything takes ages, your frustration will automatically decrease as it’s just what you’ve come to expect.
Here are some time frames you want to add into your schedule:
- 10 minutes to strap the kids in the car
- 15 minutes to convince a toddler to put her socks on
- 10 minutes to get ready yourself
Have an idea on where the place is and a realistic view of how long it takes in the car/your preferred transport – I’ll admit that I still struggle with this (thanks, ADHD) but it does get better.
Hey, easier to arrive early and be in time to wipe a dirty face or bum than arrive late with a poopy diaper.
3) You will need to appreciate yourself
I am all for external support for a mother – I believe it’s essential to lift each other up and tell each other how well we’re doing.
BUT, there will be days where you look around you for those validating words or thoughts from someone, that might not come – or worse still, be met with hate or scorn. Sometimes you will be judged for doing things differently, for your way of parenting.
As long as you’re not harming anyone in your ways, your way is the best way because you’re the one that knows your kids best.
- Practice reframing when negative thoughts pop up around how you’re managing things and being gentle with yourself
- Write positive affirmations out that you can align with for your current phase of life
- Do the inner work around why and what you feel judged by so you can course correct
4) Parenting is a lot less about them and more about you
Of course, you want to pass down your core values and raise confident and kind human beings, and so you should.
Sometimes though, the very things we try to teach, can trigger us the most. In this case, we need to lead by example – but this is easier said than done. Therefore, a lot of the time the real lessons begin when we are confronted with things we had a hard time dealing with growing up or wish to change.
It’s when we try to do things differently and lead a new generation that these subtle scars and traumas can pop up in reflections through our kids’ behaviour.
So if you really want to emit change, you need to prepared to work on yourself, with compassion.
5) Having kids is gonna seriously affect your couple
And you know, i’m not just talking libido, which also plays a role – I’m talking in general, all areas are indirectly affected by the change.
IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT? Your family structure will have gone from two to three, all of you must find your place and that’s something you should start working on from early on – even before baby gets here!
Unfortunately, must of us don’t know this and don’t prepare our couple for the new arrival and so it comes as a shock when new emotions such as anger, resentment, blame and guilt crop up.
It’s never too late to get on the same page with your partner and ask those all important questions such as:
- What lessons do you want to pass onto our kids?
- What are your views around discipline?
6) You’re not a bad mom if you you give your kids cereal
Look, in an ideal world, we’d all be cooking these nutrition dense meals with organic, fresh ingredients every day.
Do we live in an ideal world though?!
At first, I went down the home-cooked-meal-every-day route. Then I added a second child to mix, and became a single mom. It’s safe to say I came to learn quickly that I needed to save my energy as often as i could, to show up for myself and my kids in the way I wanted to.
So now I aim to cook with fresh ingredients 2-3 times a week (which always provides us with leftovers anyway), and the rest of the time I’m totally okay with cooking from a tin/freezer/whatever I have in the house.
Sometimes, this means cereal for dinner – and that’s okay. Nothing will happen as long as it’s not every day.
7) Not every day will be rainbows and smiles
The aim of this article is not to be pessimistic and poop on your fairy tale ideas of motherhood, but rather to take them as just that.
Before becoming a mother, I imagined only beautiful scenes of swinging my baby in the air in the sunshine in a field somewhere, baking cookies in the kitchen and a whole load of other blissful things.
It can be a hard reality to wake up to as a new mom, when you get the backlash of stress you never knew you’d have, your kids have a meltdown about the slightest thing and when you’re surviving on very few hours of sleep.
So I’m not saying that you have to think of becoming a mother as hard and grueling, but become open to the possibility that it can be at times.
8) It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it
There are common misconceptions around being a mother that still haunt as in the world of today. Conceptions such as:
- If you bottle feed, you’ve failed
- If you cosleep, you’re a hippie
- If you leave your baby with a carer, you don’t care
- If you don’t keep every drawing, you’re harsh
….The list goes on. There is something, however, that all moms have in common – they love their kids.
And so, you can start being proud of your choices when you know that what you do for them is out of love. It also takes away the need to fall into judging other moms too.
9) It’s okay if you do fail
In the very first point, I said that we can often feel like a failure as a new mom if we don’t get things right the first time. When you really do fail though, it’s important to have a little compassion with yourself so that you can do better next time.
Self punishment does not increase your likelihood of improving. What really helps is taking accountability, recognising your errors and really working on it going forwards.
10) You will never really be ‘ready’
As much as it would be useful to just read a textbook and then be completely prepared to parent, unfortunately that’s not the reality.
You may want to know how to do things with ease, but being a mom is something you learn on the job.
Emotionally speaking, most mothers feel like it all falls into place as soon as you hold your little one in your arms. There’s just something so strong in the bond you feel.
(Please note if you have not been feeling a bond and feel rather alienated from your baby as well as dark thoughts, this is a sign of postpartum depression/ anxiety and you should see a professional as soon as possible)
You may feel nervous before baby’s arrival, but the bond you have will erase those worries.