Being a mom of 3 children and married for 13 years, I was asked by Irnise if I could contribute what I thought was important for new moms to remember as they watch their children grow. As a new mom, everyone’s experience will be different. However, being reflective, these are 5 things that helped me.
1. Pray. I didn’t know how much praying and talking to God I could do until I had children. My relationship with God grew stronger when I had to pray for someone other than myself. My conversation changed with God when things became out of my control and I was forced to realize who had everything in control. Not my husband, not the doctors, not even me. God did! Pray over your home, your family, and be thankful daily that God has chosen you to be the mom of that child. He could have chosen anyone, but He chose you!
2. Be confident in the decisions you make for your child. As a new mom, everyone will have advice and/or input. Learn to take what you need and anything else you don’t need, let it go. There’s pressure from other moms, family members (especially the elders), and advice from doctors. Ultimately, you are the decision maker. You have been tasked to advocate for a human who is not yet able to do so for themselves. Things will come up that you won’t have an answer to. It’s o.k., don’t panic! At these times, seek advice from those closest to you and who you trust and, more importantly, do your own research. After all that, you make the final decision. Do not second guess yourself. Be confident in your choice(s) for “your” child and go with what your “mom gut” tells you.
3. Take the help when it’s offered! There will be times when a family member or close friend will want to help out in some way. At these times….let them help! As new moms, we often feel like we can do it all. Guess what, you can’t. It’s impossible! If someone offers to come hold the baby while you nap, sit with the baby so you can do laundry or run an errand. Accept that offer! If someone wants to buy the baby diapers, wipes, or offer to cook a meal for you, say yes! Those moments where you can rest, run that errand, or not have to cook for the evening are priceless. This show of support from your support system is no accident or coincidence. You can’t do everything and if you think you can, you’ll wear yourself out and make everyone miserable. You can’t be good for anyone else when you are no good for yourself. This is a great Segway for my next tip….
4. Be good to yourself. There’s a lot of pressure being a new mom. There are expectations from everyone, including you. Trying to meet everyone’s expectations will have you sounding and looking crazy (I’ve been there). Make and take time for yourself to reenergize, gather your thoughts, and just be good to you! You need time daily to remember that you are a person too. Not just a mom. Do something daily that’s good for you and your soul. It may be working out, walking the aisles of your favorite store, getting a mani/pedi, going to that church meeting and/or activity, or just sitting in your bed and reading a magazine or cruising the Internet. Whatever it is, take that time. Be selfish with your “me” time! If you don’t do it, no one else will. Baby, hubby/dad/partner, siblings, and even the family pet will be all the better for it. I’ve learned when you’re o.k. (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally); everything else will fall into place.
5. Take time to take it all in. As a new mom, things happen very quickly. Pregnancy seems to last forever then next, the baby is here and your life seems out of control. Then you look up and your planning the first birthday party. A few more birthday parties and BAM…you’re sending your child off to kindergarten! Please take time and try and slow down and just enjoy your child(ren) and take time to take it all in. We are all guilty of having routines. Whether it’s work, family, or a personal routine that can distract you and take a large portion of your time; slow down and take time and appreciate that you’re a new mom! Journal or talk to other new moms about all you’ve learned in this new role. I see my children and long for the days to just hold them in my arms, see a small toddler crawling then running towards me as I picked them up from daycare, to even ending the day with bath time and smelling that “baby smell” as I placed them in their crib. Time flies and waits for no one. While being a new mom is obviously hectic, take moments to just stop and take it all in. These moments are fleeting and you don’t want to look back when your child is graduating from high school and say, “Where did the time go?” Live in the moment. Teach your children to live in the moment and to just be. With life moving so fast, you be the timekeeper and prioritize what’s important. Find balance. Take time to let those close to you know you love and appreciate them. Stop the clock and “be”. Take it all in and be thankful for each moment, the good and the bad.
Linsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.