I remember when I was little, I would pretend like I was a mommy. I would brush my dolls hair, change her diaper, carry her around, push her in her stroller and feed her. I loved taking care of my dolls and I would spend hours doing so. I remember one time I even gave one a hair cut (Ok…so it may have been my sisters doll oops). I told my mom and sister when they discovered what I had done, “It will be Ok…it grows back”! Oh the power of a child’s imagination! Needless to say, the dolls hair did not grow back and my sister still reminds me of this to this day!
I always knew though that I wanted to be a Mom. Sometimes, for some women, I think we spend most of our lives preparing to be a mom. We babysit, we watch movies, we watch other moms in action and we day-dream about how we ourselves will be as moms. I remember even when dating, I would always think “how would he be as a dad?”, because I knew I wanted a family.
Well, in May of 2010, my years of pretending and day dreaming began to come true. We found out we were pregnant with our first son. I don’t know about anyone else, but I swear I felt every second, of every minute, of every day, of every week, of every month for the 9 months I was pregnant with our first. I could not wait for him to be born, I wanted to see him and to touch him and just meet him! It took forever! Finally, he was born and my journey of motherhood began. You can read more about this in my post –Rainy Day.
My oldest is now 4 and our youngest is 2. Though my journey has only begun, there are some things that I have experienced that, if I could, I would go back and say…don’t worry about that. Don’t pay attention to that. This is Ok, everyone is different. Ignore them…ignore this. Some of these things are listed below.
Every woman is different.
As the quote at the top of this post states…when a child is born, so is a Mother. There are a million books out there that will tell us how to be a great mom. These books will inform us about caring for our child in many ways. They will tell us about nursing, feeding, pacifiers, diapers and sleeping etc. Aside from books we also have the internet which inundates us with information on how to be a mom.
We though, as women, are brand new to this role of motherhood! We have to figure out for ourselves how we are going to provide for, nourish, protect and comfort this new child! We have to figure this out while raising him/her into a responsible and loving human being! This is overwhelming and can be frustrating when we have a million different books telling us a million different ways to do things.
If I could go back I would tell myself, take it day by day. You will be fine. Figure out what works best for you and your baby and do it. Take advice for what it is intended to be…Advice. Love your baby and make that your focus. Everything else will work itself out.
Be careful when on Facebook.
I love Facebook and think it is an awesome tool for keeping in touch. I have many people I would have lost touch with had Facebook had not come around. As a new mom though I remember “signing in” and at times feeling inadequate or in some ways like a failure. I would see pictures of others and think to myself “wow I suck, I don’t do that” or “my kids don’t have that”. I would judge myself based off the post that I saw from others.
I would see a post of someone else who had a kiddo near mine in age. The new mom was smiling, wearing makeup, dressed in a cute outfit and the picture of the house in the back ground was organized and perfect! I, on the other side of the screen, was sitting there going on day 4 maybe 5 of not showering and wearing the same sweat pants I had been yesterday (and likely the day before that). I had spit up along with snot covering most of upper half. Make up? Yeah right! I was beyond the point of exhaustion and had less energy than a gold-fish. My house was a mess and I felt like I couldn’t get a grasp on or keep up on anything. Instantly, I felt like a failure because obviously they were doing it all right and I was struggling to just make it through the day.
In all reality though, those pictures that we see are only a snap shot of time. On our side of the screen, we are living our daily lives…every second of it. They, in the picture, are too. They were just able to capture a moment that happened to look perfect. I found this and loved it:
I wonder what would happen if instead of only posting the adorable cute moments we have with our kids, we started to also include the not so cute moments. The real-life moments.
Maybe a picture of the marker on the wall, the mud that was drug in from the bottom of a little shoe, the milk that was spilt, the HUGE laundry pile sitting in the laundry room or the chaotic collection of toys that have amassed in your living room. Perhaps we could post a video of the toddler tantrum that we experienced because our child wanted the blue Sippy cup instead of the red one! How about a picture of ourselves in our daily routine with our hair up in a pony tail, no make up on, heck… maybe no deodorant! Having not showered, with food and boogers on our shirt, but two smiling kiddos on our lap posing for a mommy/kiddo selfie! Priceless!
Don’t allow yourself to confuse your own judgment of yourself, for the judgment of others.
There were often times that I would tell myself, ‘don’t go to this get together because your kids will make a mess’. ‘Don’t have a play date at your house because people will think you are unorganized and messy”. “Don’t tell anyone that you struggle with just the day in and day out of life…they might think you are weak.”
I would see friends out and about with their kids and their kids were behaving and acting like little angels. I, on the other hand, am trying to keep mine from running halfway across the parking lot, climbing the tree in front of us or picking up handfuls of dirt from the flowerbed beside us and throwing it!
I would always think “they must think I suck”, “I can’t even imagine what they are thinking of me”. When in all actuality they were probably thinking…hang in there momma, it gets better. If not and they are thinking harshly of you or your parenting skills…let them…they obviously aren’t remembering their not so ideal moments.
It is just like when I’m in the store and I hear it…the well known sound of a toddler tantrum! I see the mom trying to get out as quick as possible with her toddler kicking and screaming to no end. The look on her face is, frustration, anger, fear, annoyance…so many things. In my heart I want to stop her, give her a hug and say don’t worry! I and so many others have been here many times before and you will be fine! Ignore anyone giving you any kind of judgmental looks. Don’t judge yourself based off of this one moment of crazy. You are a Mom and he/she is a toddler…this is life…this is normal…you are amazing! Hang in there!
Watch our for Mommy Guilt
This one will, unfortunately, probably never go away.
I remember feeling horribly guilty when I had to give my oldest son formula after 9 months of nursing. I had to take a medication that wouldn’t allow me to nurse any longer and I felt I was depriving him in some way.
I felt guilty that my kiddo was almost always wearing comfy/easy to put on clothes while other kiddos I saw were dressed in adorable outfits.
I felt guilty that my child had not yet taken swim lessons when I heard a friends child had.
I felt guilty because I fed my child Mac and Cheese…and it wasn’t organic!
I could and would feel guilty about almost anything!
I was often allowing this guilt to make me feel like a failure which would then make me again…feel guilty! It is an endless cycle that we run ourselves through.
Mommy Guilt is one that I am not sure we can or will ever overcome, but it is one we can be on the look out for. Sometimes I think that Satan can use Mommy Guilt as a huge weapon against us. It makes us question ourselves, doubt ourselves and can even lead us towards depression. If we could just see ourselves through our child’s eyes, we would see that they see in us LOVE! They see that we LOVE them, WANT them, CARE for them. We are there to kiss the boo boos and make the monsters under the bed go away. They LOVE us! We are a Super Mom to them! Have you ever had your child give you one of those hugs that were so amazing, everything else just went away? Yeah, that is your child saying I LOVE YOU, I WANT YOU just the way you are! You are my Mommy and I want you just the way you are!
Our kiddos don’t need perfection and they don’t expect it. To be honest, in their young minds, they likely don’t even know yet what perfection even means! They just need us to be their mommy and to love them, comfort them and guide them through this thing called life! That’s what it’s all about!
Losing the Baby weight
You see it all the time! A celebrity has a baby and is back to her pre baby size 3 weeks later. Some are happy for them and praise them for losing the weight. Others will criticize them and say they are hurting the self-esteem of many others by losing the pounds so fast. Sometimes, someone in the public eye has a baby and…wait for it…doesn’t get back to their pre baby size!! Gasp! So they are body shamed up and down and all over the place.
Well, in this dog eat dog world, you are body shamed if you do and body shamed if you don’t! You will never make everyone happy! People will react to you in many ways, some supportive and others more demeaning. Ultimately, it is You and only You that needs to figure out what works in your life and in your world.
I am fully supportive of each women doing what she needs to do, to make herself happy and the best Mom she can be. Many of us don’t have the luxury of having a personal chef and a personal trainer at our disposal at all times. Many of us do not have nanny’s that can care for our children so we can work on regaining our bodies. Some do have this luxury and that is great, but I don’t think they should be used to set a standard for everyone else.
I have friends who have had their baby and then worked really hard to get their body back. They look great, they feel great and it makes them happy. They are a better person and mommy because of it. They need the exercise to deal with the everyday stresses, it calms them and makes them stronger mentally and physically! It works for them!
I also have friends who have not yet gotten back to their pre baby size and it has been a couple of years. They are healthy and beautiful and they are amazing mommas! They may not look like they did prior to having their child, but that is Ok! Their priorities have changed and instead of focusing on going to the gym 4 days a week, they focus on having tea parties and monster truck races with their kiddos! It works for them!
Your body will change after having kids! Some bodies bare stretch marks or an extra pouch on the tummy from carrying a child. You heard that right? It carried a child! A LIFE was created, nourished, developed and birthed from that body! That same body may have gone on to nurse that new life for a substantial amount of time after. That body has every right to have stretch marks or sag a bit in places it didn’t use to. Just as every mother has the right to decide what she does with her body after she has her baby.
Some will embrace the baby weight, some will want it gone right away and some will want it gone, but in time. The pressure should not be put on women to do it one way or the other. There are enough stresses that come from having a baby…the physical appearance of the mom should not be one. Being healthy so that you can be the best Mom possible is what the ultimate goal should be. Not a number on a scale or the number on a tag inside your clothes.
Let it go
I apologize if I just put the never ending Frozen song into your head. Forgive me please :-)!
Seriously though, If I could go back and tell myself one thing it would be LET IT GO!!!
Yes, your house will be messy…and it only gets worse! There are some out there that are blessed in the organizing department, and their houses are picked up, organized and look fantastic. I, unfortunately, am NOT one of these blessed folks. My laundry is backed up, there are toys that I swear somehow multiply themselves and my car looks like an extension of my house.
Then there are the changes in your appearance.
Prior to having kids, I would not leave my house without showering, doing my hair and putting on makeup. Now…I am pretty sure I have worn make up maybe 10 times in the last year! I shower (usually daily) but my hair is only washed maybe 2 times a week…the rest of the time it is usually in a pony tail. I am not quite sure what the current fashion/style is really in right now. Sometimes, while rocking my littlest to sleep, I will check out Pinterest and attempt to catch myself up on the clothing trends, but actually ever wearing them…its not likely. I am pretty much a jeans and comfy shirt kind of girl at the moment and that is Ok!
The time will come when I do get to shower, wash my hair, put on make up and put on a cute outfit.
The time will come when I do have free time to clean my house and organize things. I will be able put things up on my walls for décor and not worry about them getting knocked off. These things will all happen…when my boys grow up. My boys are young and need me right now! I love that…I not ready for them to grow up yet!
So I will take the pony tail days, the comfy outfits, the messy kitchen, the laundry and I will embrace them because they are symbolic of my current stage of life. It is crazy at times and some days are easier than others, but I LOVE my boys and they are what it is all about. God gave me these kiddos! They were a gift from him and I will cherish the gift, love the gift and do all I can to provide my child with the best “Me” that I can.