With great power comes great responsibility.
And as women, we have this incredible power to create human life. And the responsibility? Raising those lil babies into kind humans.
But when it’s your first rodeo, it can be a little intimidating. We all go into this with preconceived ideas and expectations of what motherhood (and parenting in general) will be like.
In Season 1 we recorded a podcast about motherhood expectations; Melissa told us some of the things she expected to happen/stay the same in her marriage/life after having a kid. (she isn’t pregnant or expecting right now, either).
Marie then proceeded to burst her bubble.
Expectation 1: You’ll Still Get Your Alone Time
When you become a parent, a lot of people warn you of the sleepless nights but no one really says anything about the rest of your time.
I (Melissa) was under the impression that I would still have the ability to get away and have a few precious moments to myself.
Perhaps a nap here and there, and surely Shawn would watch the baby so I could go to the gym or just be alone.
As an introvert, the thought of having to constantly be “on” is terrifying and extremely draining.
Unfortunately, Marie made it very clear that this wishful thinking was laughable. Like, she literally laughed in my face when I said it.
When you become a parent, your life, time, and energy revolve around the new lifeform, apparently.
There aren’t really many things you’re able to do without your kids wanting to tag along or at least keep you in their line of vision.
Marie reminisces on a time when she couldn’t even shower without Mark and Otis being in the bathroom because Otis would lose is mind if Mark tried to carry him out.
At a ripe age of 4 months old, Otis was fully aware of who his favorite parent was.
So kissing away your alone time is (probably) inevitable, but you’ll be gaining so much more in doing so: memories with your sweet little one.
Expectation 2: I Won’t Be Nervous to Breastfeed in Public
I’m a pretty modest person, but I’m also very pro-breastfeeding.
Because of this, I was always under the impression that I wouldn’t be shy to whip a boob out when it came time to nurse.
However, Marie brought to my attention that not all moms are able to breastfeed.
So simply having the expectation that I could breastfeed without issue was a mistake right from the get-go.
Apparently it’s pretty common to struggle with producing, getting the baby to latch, and all the other working parts of nursing.
And even if you’re able to in general, the stress of doing it in public might dry you up, making it even more difficult.
In the podcast, she explains the vicious cycle of being nervous while breastfeeding.
For starters, people are looking and judging, which makes you anxious. And when you’re anxious, you aren’t able to produce as much milk.
And when you produce less, the baby isn’t able to get full… Which means they keep crying.
And if they keep crying and causing a scene, it puts you in even more stress. So you know what happens? You produce even less.
Breastfeeding, although a natural part of life, doesn’t necessarily come naturally to each of us.
And although it is natural (and beautiful and amazing and all thing good), it doesn’t mean it’ll stop people from judging you.
Expectation 3: Who Cares What They Wear?
In general, neither Marie or I really care for getting dressed up or having super nice clothes. (unless it’s workout clothes, in my case).
So naturally, I would assume that constantly keeping my newborn in
boring, white onesies very simple outfits would be my default.
I mean, they grow out of everything so fast. The amount of times I hear people complain about their kid growing before they could even wear a cute outfit is… ridiculous.
Solution? Don’t buy them.
But apparently I’m wrong, once again.
The urge to buy these clothes and toys apparently just overwhelms you once you have a mini-me.
And why that is is beyond me, but I’m convinced it’s the same reason why people love dressing up their animals in funny outfits.
Or maybe it’s because our bodies are so wrecked from having the dang thing, you want at least someone in the family to look cute.
But regardless of the reasoning behind it, Marie is convinced that I won’t allow my future child to run around in potato sacks like I claim I will.
So What Do New Moms Actually Need?
We’ve bursted a lot of my bubbles when it comes to my expectations of motherhood, but now we’re going to dig into some advice for new moms.
(1) Find a Support Group
There’s literally a Facebook group for everything these days.
Neighborhood groups, garage sale groups, fitness communities, book clubs, dog enthusiasts, cooking groups. The list is literally never ending.
Finding a mom/parenting group on Facebook can be a life saver, especially when you’re new to the game.
There’s something about suffering as a group that almost makes it enjoyable; that’s why group fitness classes are a thing.
If you can see you’re either (a) not the worst or (b) just as bad as everyone else, it makes you feel a hell of a lot better about yourself.
And if someone in the group is outshining all of you, you kick them out.
Simple as that.
But in all seriousness, some of the best advice for new moms is to find your people you can be 1000000% real with.
So many new moms think that life after baby will eventually go back to what it used to be, but adding in that wild card ensures that life will throw you new twists and turns.
Have people you can turn to when things get crazy.
Have people you can bitch to when your mother-in-law says something kinda insensitive or when the baby has their third blowout in the span of 12 hours and you were literally almost out the door.
Have others to lean on that have experience and wisdom that come with parenting for several years. Find a safe place to flush out your worries or share with in joy.
Find and cultivate a tribe of women and men that are there for you, even if it’s only via the internet. It’s important that you have a place that gives back and lets you show the not so pretty side of parenting.
Although it’s hard to come by, finding ways to have alone time (even a few minutes) is necessary if you don’t want to lose your freaking mind.
Becoming a parent (especially a mother) is stressful because you’re becoming everything for everyone (in the household).
In most cases, you’re the cook, maid, car service, event planner, and everything in-between.
From the second your eyes open in the morning until it’s time to go to bed, you’re basically always “on.”
Multi-tasking is the name of the game. But before you
head into battle start your day, starting off with some good, old-fashioned meditation can make the difference in your day going smoothly.
And in the beginning, meditation seems really hard to do and sounds very “hippie dippie.” I know.
I used to think the same thing.
But I don’t even have a child yet and I still try and have a few minutes each morning to simply hangout with myself.
Meditation has helped with
- my emotional intelligence and self awareness
- stimulating creativity
- brining about a sense of peace before a busy day
- slowing myself down
(3) Pictures of You and Baby
Remember when I said that moms become everything to everyone?
That also included photographer.
As mom, you’ll be taking a lot of pictures OF your baby.
Your baby’s toothless smile. Them sleeping. A picture of them and the dog sleeping. Them eating. Lots of pictures of them taking a bath. Birthday parties. Baby and their cousins. Them covered in dirt. More sleeping pictures.
But more times than not, you’ll be the one behind the camera.
And life will continue to happen and you’ll have so many pictures of them.
But you’ll be lacking in picture of that toothless grin and you.
And if there’s one thing you’ll look back on and cherish, it’s all those candid, joyful pictures of you and your baby once they’ve gone and grown up.