Becoming a mom is challenging, rewarding, magical, and stressful as all get out. There are so many things to do, plan, and think about and, some days, it seems like you can’t win. I came up with some things that really helped me, and continue to help me, through this transition.
Get yourself some mom friends. If I could give any new mom or mom-to-be just one piece of advice, it would be this. It is so important to have people in your corner that understand what you are going through and that you feel comfortable going to for advice, to vent, or just to hang out with. Not only does it allow you to get some adult interaction but, it’s also a great way to socialize your kiddos! I recently took Lillian to see Star Wars with a good mom friend of mine (Lilly’s first movie theatre experience) and it was great. Lilly loved seeing another baby and I loved the adult interaction and not being judged when Lilly got fussy.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, find ways to leave the house. I try and leave the house with Lilly at least once per day, especially on days where my depression is weighing down on me hard. It’s just so important to go out and interact with the world, to feel like you’re still a part of it. For me, I feel like all of my life energy goes to Lillian and there’s nothing left for myself. Leaving my house and seeing people makes me feel like I’m still my own person, even though I’m pushing a baby around the whole time.
Do what works for you. This is so important. There are so many – too many – books, articles, and strangers out there that try and tell you how to care for your child. When to feed, how much to feed, how often baby should nap, when kids should go to bed…etc. The truth is, all babies are different and all moms are different. What works for others may not work for you and it’s important to find your own way and your own groove. I drove myself insane the first month of Lilly’s life trying to follow all the advice I could find online and from other people and, all it did was make me crazy. You will figure it out as you go along and your baby will be just fine 🙂
Me time. Do things for yourself when you can. Even if it means watching Netflix while your baby is napping, make sure you make some time for yourself. As a stay-at-home mom, I am also in charge of house chores each day. My mornings are filled with making the bed, doing the dishes, cleaning the litter box, vacuuming around the litter box, cleaning up Lilly’s toys, and taking out the trash. Oh, and feeding the baby, changing the baby, playing with the baby, and making sure the baby naps. I am always exhausted and sometimes I feel like I might lose it. To help with this, I give myself a few hours each day where I do absolutely nothing. While Lilly takes her morning nap, I will just lay down on my bed and scroll through Facebook or just rest. It’s so nice.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to lean on someone else if you need it. This goes hand in hand with making mom friends but, it’s important to emphasize that you don’t need to do it all alone. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman or good mom if you need assistance, it’s actually the opposite. Recognizing when you need an extra set of hands or someone to lean on makes you strong. This also goes for mental health. Don’t ignore depression symptoms or anxiety because you feel like you need to be on your A game all the time. You don’t. Being a mom is hard and that’s ok. As soon as I started feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, I talked to my doctor. I see a therapist once a week and I’m on medication for my depression and it’s helped me so much. I still have moments where I feel like I “don’t have time” to take care of my mental health but, I’m doing everything I can to squash that little voice.
I hope this helps and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all of the bad-ass moms, stay-at-home or working, that are out there killing it each day. You are all amazing and I’m rooting for each and every one of you 🙂