Congratulations, Mom! Whether you are expecting or you have already received your precious bundle of joy, you are about to embark on the most exhilarating ride of your life. Buckle up, try to breathe, and take some expert tips from moms who have been there, done that.
I’m a mom…..now what?
You’ve gone through labor and delivery, you are navigating the world of breastfeeding and diapers, and there are some care decisions that need to be made for both you and baby. It’s important to have some grace on yourself, as you may have hormones raging through your system right now that are making the smallest problems and challenges insurmountable. When you consider the enormous list of “to do’s” that you now have before you, take some helpful advice from other parents. Take inspiration from those who have been in the trenches and realize that you have enormous potential as a mother. Embrace the challenge and see how wonderful motherhood can be:
1. Take care of the “now”
You may think about what is needed when you get back to work, or the fact that the floor hasn’t been swept in days. This is going to only cause you additional stress and anxiety. Try to live in the “now” and appreciate those wonderful moments that will pass so quickly. Enjoy the smell of your new baby, and time that you bond with him/her. Additionally, appreicate the opportunity to take a nap when baby naps! When are you EVER going to get that opportunity again? Cleaning, work, and the other demands of life will be there when you decide to return from the now. So, seize this opportunity and create some wonderful memories with your child.
2. Chill about about eating habits
If there is one memory I have of our pediatrician, it’s her advice to me when I was worried about the fact that my son had temporarily stopped eating on his regular schedule. After ruling out illness, she assured me that a baby will eat when they are hungry.
I learned to ride the wave. I took the time watching and getting to know my son’s cues. Guess what? Kids eat when they are hungry. And they refuse food and drink when they are not. Relax, watch tendencies, and talk to your doctor if you have any questions about what is developmentally normal for your child.
3. Sleep when you can
Some children have established sleep schedules from the start. Others have sporadic sleep schedules that can last for years. If you are one of those moms whose own sleep schedule is now constantly interrupted, you’ll need to catch up somehow. When you have the opportunity, try to catch a few extra zzzz’s when your baby naps. You may also establish an early bedtime to allow you get some extra hours logged. Sleep will improve your mental and physical health. It will also help regulate your emotional response, and make everything seem a bit easier. Housework can wait.
4. Have a support team
Momming is hard. Some day’s you rock it, and others it seems as if you are buried in diapers, breast pumps, and piles of laundry. If you need a few extra hands, be prepared to call friends and family and ask for a couple hours of help. Have a friend or family member that you can call if you are having a tough day, too, and let off some steam or have a good cry. Talking to others and accepting them into your circle right now will help you to feel more connected to the outside world. Moms who have a solid support team tend to not only care for their babies more efficiently, but they maintain a commitment to caring for themselves as well.
5. Prepare for sick days
As your child is growing and developing, his immune system is also growing and developing; children tend to pick up infections and illnesses that wouldn’t otherwise be a part of your daily life. You will spend more time at home with your children during this developmental period, so just expect it and roll with the punches. Care for them and care for yourself, and you’ll all be a little healthier with some extra downtime.
6. Establish a schedule
Children do well with consistency—consistent bedtimes, consistent mealtimes, and a predictable routine that helps them to feel more safe and secure in the world. While you know that there will be deviations and roadblocks that come up, stick to your established routine of care as best you can, and your days will flow more smoothly.
7. Practice the fine art of self-care
Many moms lose themselves in routines, caring for their children, and the endless demands of running a home, managing a career, and being a mother. Finding our own unique voices and desires again is a delicate balancing act that will help us to maintain our physical, mental, and emotional health. Make that appointment for a massage, schedule a night out with a special someone, and keep up with your pedicures. When you take care of yourself more diligently, you can “mom” more effectively as well.
8. Give yourself a little bit of grace
We’ve all lost it at times….broken down in tears, yelled at our toddlers for spilling spaghetti on the floor, and wanted to lock ourselves in the bathroom with our essential oils for a good aromatherapy session. We have all wanted to run away at some point to escape the pressures of life. These feelings are normal, and they will pass. Give yourself a little bit of grace, and observe yourself as you evolve into the mother that you’ve always hoped you’d become. Love yourself along the way, and you’ll be the best example for self development that your children can learn from as they grow. Go get ’em, Mama!
Being a parent is one of the hardest, yet one of the most rewarding jobs that you can experience. Realize that every mom has also been where you are, and you will learn a wealth of information as you dive into your child and learn what makes him/her truly unique. Enjoy every moment, and resolve to impart your own wisdom and experience to others as you learn and grow.