Women need to build each other up and share some love along this journey called motherhood. When a woman becomes a mom, she needs support even more than she did the day before. Today’s society lends itself to self-judging and self-loathing. Moms (and dads) need to be shown some love in the form of positive encouragement. If you find yourself in a support role to a young or new mom, here are some real things you can say or suggest to help.
You’re Doing a Great Job (Even If You Feel Like You Aren’t)
Yeah, they actually do make books you might call a manual for the job. In this case, experience really is the best teacher. Like anything worth the struggle, parenthood is work. Welcome to the learning curve!
It May Not Get Easier, But You’ll Get Better
Challenges will change, but parenthood will always have its moments. Every stage holds joy and pain. Once you get your feet wet, you’ll get the hang of things. You may never get it perfect, but as long as you keep trying, you’ll improve, or at least adjust.
Accept Help from Others
(I should probably listen to this one more myself!) You are only one woman, yes you! You don’t need to be SuperMom or WonderWoman; perfection is not required and highly unlikely to be achieved. Let others (your spouse or significant other, babysitter, nanny, in-laws, neighbors) help. If help is available or offered, take it! Don’t feel guilty – you can do the rest of the work.
When in Doubt, Call Someone
Good parents try to learn new stuff when needed. Great parents trust their instincts, listen to their guts when it comes to their kids. You can’t know it all, so when you’re not sure about something, don’t hesitate to call the pediatrician or other experts. Pediatricians are usually more knowledgeable than your mom, sister or best friend who has a kid.
Give Yourself a Break
You deserve it! Allow yourself some down time, or a small pity party, if that’s what you need. Don’t forget to nurture yourself, eat, drink and rest. Remember to take time with your partner to have a night or afternoon away from parenthood. Avoid burnout. Make every effort to set aside time each week for yourself to rejuvenate and recharge your battery.
You could also offer to cook a meal for her, wash a load of laundry, or do the dishes piled down the countertop. Moms, especially new moms, will love and appreciate the help. What you should not do is offer unwanted advice or tell all the horror stories of your experience as a mother. New moms might hesitate to let you babysit, but you could offer words of wisdom and support or just some simple encouragement. A kind word can uplift a new mom full of questions and doubt.