When I was pregnant, I heard all of the unsolicited advice out there. It seemed like no matter who I was talking to, they were spewing out info from every angle, and it was all different. From birth experiences to advice about what to do if my baby came down with a fever — I heard it all as a new mom.
Then I had my first son, and believe or not, I hear even more unsolicited advice. Yikes. I felt like a creature on display for the world to see.
Someone always had something to say to me about how I was mothering my baby, but nobody wanted to tell me what I truly needed to hear.
I wondered if something was seriously wrong with me because the greatest days of my life felt anything but spectacular– I was exhausted, anxious, and second-guessing myself with everything I was doing.
Now that I’m a mom times two (and somewhat of a seasoned mother) I’d like to pass on my mothering wisdom to the new mamas out there; four things I wish I would’ve heard before walking into the path of motherhood.
1. It’s all temporary.
The late nights that turn into early mornings, the exhaustion, frustrations the stages and phases– it’s not forever. One day, it will get easier….you will get rest and a shower (eventually.) You will make it through the sleep regressions, breastfeeding struggles and teething. You will get your baby on a somewhat decent schedule and have time for yourself again. Right now, you may be deep in the trenches of motherhood but just know that this is all temporary. And as cliché as it may sound: you will miss these moments someday.
2. It’s normal.
You may be dealing with a lot of emotions and feel some type of way. Let me reassure you on this: you’re okay. Postpartum emotions are totally normal; the baby blues are totally normal and so is postpartum depression. If you believe that it’s not the baby blues and you are struggling, reach out for help! It’s there. Talk to your partner, a friend, your doctor…someone. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, frustrated. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and even guilty. It’s okay to not love this whole mothering-thing at the moment…it’s normal.
Please don’t let your emotions drown you in self-loathing thinking that you have to hold it all together because trust me, even the most put-together moms out there struggle. It’s normal.
3. Find yourself again
In the very early stages of motherhood, you will become consumed with googling symptoms to researching the best types of baby products (even which diaper cream to use).. You will skip showers and go months without waxing your eyebrows. Your clothes will be dirtied with spit up or baby poop. Pretty soon, you will lose sight of who you are; you will get burnt-out and run-down. You may think to yourself: I’m just a mom.
I’m here to tell you, momma: find yourself again. Being a mother is an amazing gift, it truly is, but you are more than someone’s mother… find her again. Whether it’s starting a new workout regimen, joining a sports team, or a new hobby… do it. It will be so important to find (and actually make) time for yourself. A wise woman once told me: you can’t pour from an empty cup. And that’s the truth.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of the ones you love.
4. Hold that baby.
I’m sure you will hear a lot of people tell you to not hold your baby so much because you will spoil him or her. Momma, this is far from the truth; babies need our touch and reassurance, they need those cuddles and to be held. Hold your baby as much as you want. Snuggle that baby. I promise you this: you will never regret holding your baby too much. The newborn snuggly stage is too short to not enjoy it.
So, new mama out there, I want you to know that it will be alright. Right now, it may seem like a marathon of never-ending crying and madness but I assure you, one day you will feel normal again and your house won’t be so messy. It’s easier said than done, but enjoy these moments. They truly go by too fast.