I generally write letters to my son in this blog, but today’s for the moms. I’ve been surprised lately with the amount of content in mom blogs that address the feelings of inadequacy in new moms. Yes, I subscribe to several other mom blogs. I love reading other mom blogs because it allows me to identify and commiserate (most often) with other new moms and learn from more experienced moms. I’m intrigued by scenarios in which other moms find themselves, and the critical thinking used in those situations. The majority of my friends are in different places in their lives, and we can’t talk “mom and baby”. Plus, I work from home and my son isn’t old enough to join the ‘Mommy And Me’ play groups yet, so I don’t get a lot of bonding time with other moms.
The items listed below are little things with which I’ve made peace. Nobody has all the answers, and I’d be leery of of anyone who claimed they did.
- In no way will I judge another mother for how she makes it through her day. Everyone copes in different ways; everyone is different and so is every baby. Nobody lives your life except you. Becoming a parent is exciting, wonderful, magical, and awesome; it’s also scary, stressful, intimidating, and overwhelming. I don’t think it matters how many children you have; every day is different and presents new challenges. Cry if you need to cry, take a minute for yourself, and relax. Stretch your shoulders and shake out your arms. You will get through this.
- I will be more patient, and I won’t offer my opinion unless asked. What’s right for me might not be right for the next mom. There’s no ‘miracle cure’, ‘instruction manual’. or ‘perfect parent’. It’s a lot of trial and error (and error, and error, and error). If my son’s been fed, been changed, and had a nap… then why won’t he stop crying?! Take a deep breath in, exhale, and try something new. You’re allowed to make mistakes; you’re only human. I know that it’s really hard to remember that when you have a screaming baby, though. The screaming will stop, the air will clear and so will your head, and you’ll take mental notes for next time.
- Day school (day care) was the best thing we did for our son. My husband and I both have careers that we love, and neither one of us could do our job and look after our son every day. Both would suffer. It was difficult sending him to school at such a young age, but it was best for everyone. I had a hard time realizing that I probably wouldn’t be the first person to watch him crawl, walk, or hear his first word. It’s still hard. But, he’s very well cared for, he’s developing faster than if he were at home, and he’s socialized. Our son wears himself out playing at school, and he sleeps all through the night. Yes, he’s already had RSV, but he got through it just fine, and he’s stronger now.
- My body will never be the same. I could write a whole book on this topics… It took almost 10 months to grow our baby boy, and my body can’t fully recover from that weight fluctuation. I’m older than the average new mom, I gained 45 pounds with this pregnancy, and our son was a giant. But I’m healthy, I make good decisions for myself, and my husband and son love me. In fact, I’m pretty sure my son loves that I’m a little soft, and my husband loves that I have more curves. You’re allowed to have a different shape after growing a human. I’m sure I’ll have those amazing arms and great legs again… after about a year or so of chasing a baby around 🙂
- Anyone who can’t understand why my house is a mess is either not a parent or hires someone to keep the house clean for them. The only way we keep our house clean is to tag-team it. My husband and I split the house chores: I do the laundry and clean the bedrooms and bathrooms, and he does everything else. I have to get my housework done during the day (like on my lunch break) or before the boys come home. Once the boys get home, I watch after our son and my husband cleans the kitchen, does the dishes, and makes dinner. As long as we have clean underwear and clothes for school, I don’t worry about too much else. And if we’re too tired to clean the kitchen one night, the dishes can wait. Your self-worth isn’t reliant on how clean you keep your house.
- We’ve found sanity in the form of a schedule. This is paired with the allowance of deviating from that schedule when we feel it necessary. Schedules are awesome because you can expect and plan for the next event. It’s noon: my son falls asleep. It’s 2pm: my son should wake up and want to eat. But if our little guy refuses to adhere to the schedule, we have a contingency plan. If that doesn’t work, we play it by ear. Everything takes more time now; It’s not the end of the world.
- Sometimes, no amount of preparation can prepare you for what’s about to happen next. When our son was recovering from RSV, we took him over to Grandma’s house for a visit. It was about time for him to eat, so we let grammy do it. Vomit everywhere. We got everyone changed and the vomit cleaned off the couch. Then we tried again, and vomit everywhere again. Well, we used our set of emergency clothes, so we had to take our baby home naked (in a diaper) and hungry. See Day 71. I’m sure this won’t be the last time something like this happens. You can’t take situations like this too seriously; you’ll just stay mad, and that’s no good for anyone.
All of this to say one thing: All the hiccups in your days are not these giant failures you imagine; all the days you make it through are victories. And after a little while of ‘making it through’ the days, you’ll start enjoying the days. The things that used to cause such strife in your days won’t phase you. The formerly traumatic experiences will now make you laugh. You’ll develop a new ‘normal’, and it will be great. And those are HUGE victories!