This time last year, I was totally exhausted, totally confused, and totally lost. Also, probably suffering from some slight PPD. It seemed every time I searched for an answer to a question I had (was nursing supposed to hurt? Or not supposed to hurt? Is it okay to bed-share? Am I supposed to cry about EVERYTHING?!) I got conflicting answers that just caused more confusion, and in some cases, more fear (thinking about SIDS kept me awake for nights on end, seriously).
I was a mess.
Now, a year later, I am still a mess. I do, however, know how to manage it better. I’ve learned a lot about being a mom. I’ve learned a lot about babies and toddlers and life with them. I know to ignore most of the advice you get from well meaning individuals. I know to trust my instinct (it’s usually right). With that said, I’d like to take this opportunity to dispense some advice of my own.
Take care of yourself. You needed to eat, sleep, and shower before you had a baby, and guess what? You still do after the baby is born. Being sane is the first step to being a good mom, and no one can be sane if they are exhausted, hungry and dirty.
Make time for yourself. Make time for what’s important to you. For me, that’s writing this blog and playing on my iPad uninterrupted.
Ask for help. I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t SuperMom. You can’t do everything. And you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.
Accept help that is offered. If someone offers to do your dishes, fold your laundry, cook you dinner, don’t be a martyr. They’re offering, so that means they don’t mind helping. Just say yes and take a nap.
Trust your partner. They know what to do as much as you know what to do, even if they don’t do it in the same way.
Know you’ll make mistakes. You will never be perfect, perfection doesn’t exist. My favorite motherhood quote says so: “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” -Jill Churchill
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER MOTHERS. No two families, moms, kids, or situations are the same. And I guarantee you aren’t getting the whole story from Facebook or a comment on a blog.
Find someone you can bitch to. Whether it’s a friend or a family member, find someone you are comfortable bitching to about everything (but not about your husband). It should be noted ahead of time all bitch sessions are judge free zones.
It’s okay to not love being a mom all of the time. It’s not all fun and games. The sore nipples, the sheer exhaustion, the colic, the spit up, diaper explosions, temper tantrums, teething…it’s not all roses, people. Enjoy the good moments and know the bad ones are fleeting and you won’t remember them as well, anyway.
It’s also okay to miss your old life. Even if it’s all you’ve ever wanted your whole life, being a mom is a huge sacrifice. I still miss my old life from time to time, especially when my friends go on fabulous vacations at the drop of the hat, or my co-workers get together for impromptu drinks after work.
Sleep whenever you can, for as long as you can. No, seriously. And not just when that baby is a newborn, either. I say sleep when the baby sleeps until that baby is no longer napping.
You will ignore all of this advice and learn it the hard way…
…just like I did.