I am by no means a professional or veteran mom. I’m just over 2 and a half years into my motherhood journey, but I’m nearly a completely different person than the woman who stared astoundingly at the plus sign on her 3rd pregnancy test (hey, the first two may have been wrong!). I love deeper and stronger. I worry more often. I cherish time more than I ever have before. I lose my patience much easier. Even though I haven’t weathered the storms of adolescence yet, or sent my child off to college, I know there are universal things that all moms need to hear, especially in those early days. If you’re feeling like you need a pick me up, then read on for some encouragement.
1. This Too Shall Pass
Motherhood places pressures on you like you never imagined. Not only do you love your children more than you thought possible, you feel obligated to experience certain emotions that may be hard to come by. You may feel guilty for not feeling elated at the new life you’ve just brought in to the world. You may be drowning in the dramatic turn your life has changed now that there are 3 people in the nest. There is good news on the horizon: it doesn’t last forever. Trust me when I say that one day you will look back and forget what sleep deprivation felt like. You won’t always cringe when your baby cries in hunger and one day you will enjoy getting dressed and getting out of the house again. It’s only a season!
2. Mothering Is Hard. Really Hard.
Before you start feeling depressed that you’re doing something wrong when it comes to mothering, admit to yourself that motherhood is hard. It does not come naturally to many women and the first way to stop making yourself feel bad is to give yourself grace. You are new at this, and your baby doesn’t know the difference! You will go through times where it’s easier than others, but you will emerge all the wiser. Stop looking at social media profiles of seemingly “perfect” moms- they aren’t real!
3. Focus On Today
Sometimes I catch myself becoming depressed when I start thinking of my daughter starting school and eventually living on her own. And she’s only two! It’s easy to think down the road, imaging all sorts of happy and even sad moments you’ll have with your child one day. But a very wise person once told me to just focus on the here and now, because before you know it, it will be here. It’s tempting to think about “if only she could crawl, then I wouldn’t have to carry her everywhere. “But there’s something sweet in enjoying the present. You cannot control what will happen in the future anyways, but you can mind what you do now.
4. You Can’t Be/Shouldn’t Try/Will Never Be Perfect
Before children, I was the ultimate perfectionist. But like they say, kids change you for the better and nothing can be more true when it came to blowing my perfectionism out of the water. You will never have every piece of laundry done/make it on time to every swimming lesson/look perfect/have your child speak complete sentences by 18 months/be completely happy- the list could go on and on. You will waste more time being depressed that you’re not doing it all then if you just drop your goal of being perfect. You will find beauty in imperfection and you’ll be a better person too.
5. You Are Not Alone
Even though we KNOW we’re really not alone, every new mom still feels isolated, especially in those first few days of coming home from the hospital. Sure, we have our spouses around, but it’s not the same as having someone close by who truly feels what we feel. No matter what, you are not alone. Reach out to any friend who has kids and trust me, they will be there for you in a heartbeat. Even if you aren’t that close, all women have a bond when it comes to those first few weeks and months as a new parent. Your friend won’t mind one bit if you just want someone to talk to, or even come over and watch the baby while you nap. There is understanding in this new community of yours called motherhood.