We’re all learning here…and I every intention to turn my challenges into lessons and allow them to support others (usually when we feel the least supported). I’m still new at this whole mom thing. So far, I’ve learned a lot, and there are few things I want to pass on to new moms (or not so new moms) as you travel on this journey of parenthood.
1. You’re new at this, too.
You grow and change as a mother just as much as your children do. When they are born, they are new to the world, and you are new as a parent. You will learn tough lessons and hard lessons and fun lessons and your kids will teach you a lot about yourself. It’s ok, especially in the early days, and with your first child, to realize, “Hey, I’m new at this too, and we will figure this out together” (as a family). I believe, your child chose you as a parent, and the most important thing you are doing is trust each other and trust yourself.
2. More sacrifice does not always make you a better parent.
I’ve noticed a trend with many mothers over the last few decades in which mothers tend to exhaust themselves like they feel the need to prove their love and devotion to their children to everyone and everything. Yes, I get it, all parents make sacrifices for their children. There are a lot of things I miss from my life before motherhood. But what I won’t sacrifice is my marriage, my own health, my hygiene or my life ambitions. My goals and plans may require a different route to get to and the timing may not happen the way I always thought, but I’m still on track. You cannot be the most present, focused, healthy, attentive, creative, loving and grateful parent you are capable of being when you are run down and resentful.
3. Take care of your body.
(This is why I work with clients for at least three to six months because overall balance, health, and wellness are all-encompassing and typically one area greatly affects another.) Listen to your body. Feed it nourishing foods. Sleep. Shower. Use quality products on your skin. Rest. Move your body. Sleep. Pay attention to what makes you not feel well. Have sex. Hug. Keep your surroundings healthy too. Cut back on “that which no longer serves you,” like wine, sugar and caffeine.
4. Take care of your mind.
Be kind to yourself. Something that always resonates highly with me when I work with clients is taking yourself out of a current situation or conversation and looking at yourself, talking to yourself—as though you were a best friend, a sister, a client or a child—with such unconditional love and absence of judgment. When you talk to yourself, have you heard yourself lately? Practice forgiveness, read, journal, meditate. This may not be something we can all spend hours on every day or even week. But coming back down to earth and tuning into our hearts and minds can reveal incredible lessons and really improve our communication and interactions with others (like our children and spouses).
5. This too shall pass… or evolve.
What you’re going through, right now, will change. When your child is a newborn, it’s easy to think that life may always be this hard, that you’ll never, ever, catch up on sleep again. It’s easy to think you’ll never fit into your old jeans, or you may not ever want to have sex again. When your child is 2, you may wonder if you’ll ever want to have another baby, if you’ll ever have the time for yourself that you once had (probably not). Will my child always tantrum like this? Will he ever eat more than yogurt, goldfish crackers and blueberries? For every stage of childhood development, there is a stage of parenthood development. And this season will be nothing like the next. Enjoy the journey and really work on taking in each day and each stage, because you will not go back to this again. Even if you have another baby, it will look completely different the next time around.
It’s so important that we trust ourselves as parents. I’ve found that trusting and owning what’s best for me, my home and our family makes all the difference in how I feel about myself and less worrying about what everybody else thinks.