Is it just me or do women AND men just love to give pregnant women & new mothers unsolicited advice? It isn’t just me, is it? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The advice can range anywhere from “absolutely insane” to “moderately okay” to “yeah, I can roll with that.” However, you never truly know which one of the three is going to come out of an individual’s mouth at any given moment in time. So, I am here to give you advice that I feel you can roll with. Do you have to listen to it all? Nope!
Here is advice numero uno–do what my co-worker suggested, when someone offers you unsolicited advice file it in your diaper bag archives. Who knows, you may just need to pull it out one day. Listen to the advice, smile at the person, and if necessary, walk away. In that moment it may seem as though you will NEVER need to hear that and most times you won’t. However, there may be a day and time where you just can’t figure out how to get the smell of vomit off your couch and Susie from the mailroom may come to mind.
So, here it goes.
If your mother offers to help–say YES. If your mother-in-law offers to help–say YES. If your best friend offers to help–say YES. Do you get the common theme here? If anyone in your inner circle offers their assistance in any way possible–say YES. I mean, I’d go so far to say that if your neighbor wants to come over and fold your laundry–say YES.
You know those photos of really cute babies sleeping on their parent’s chest? Your tiny human will be that really cute baby sleeping on your chest. And, I kinda hate cliches, but time is fleeting. So, your house may look like it was hit by a cyclone and all you want to do is lay there doing nothing. Momma, you have permission to do nothing. Not that you need my permission, but if you start to feel guilty that the dishes are in the sink, remember what I said, “It is okay to do nothing.” The dishes will be there in 20-minutes. It will still be there in 30-minutes. Soak those moments, even if it is for only five minutes longer.
Do you have a planner? Get yourself one. Why you may ask? Because you are going to want to schedule some “Mommy Needs a Minute” time. Before you start thinking of all the reasons why you can’t, I’m going to give you all the reasons why you should–your sanity. Take out your planner, take out your phone, hey, take out a post-it and even if it is only a solo 10-minute shower–do it. Speaking of showers–make it part of your routine to bathe. It will make you feel like a brand new woman. You may even conquer those dishes.
Now, this should go without saying, but for some asinine reason, our society gives off the impression that new mothers should have it all together. Speaking from experience–that is simply not true. Those first few weeks of motherhood can feel overwhelming and at times scary. THIS IS NORMAL. I repeat, THIS IS NORMAL. What is not normal is to have an unrealistic expectation that your life will be the same pre-tiny human, it will not. Allow yourself to feel those emotions, allow yourself to cry, give yourself space to sort out your new normal, and if those feelings get too big for you to handle, reach out to someone. There are resources for mothers and we should never feel ashamed to use them. Remember, happy momma, happy baby.
Finally and most importantly, find yourself some people:
Call it a clan,
Call it a network,
Call it a tribe,
Call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, You need one.
There is absolutely no way that I could have made it this far into parenting without an amazing group of women I’d like to call my tribe. My kid refused to eat her dinner? I have a mom to vent to. I forgot to bring the bag of treats to the school party? Chances are there is another mom that did the same. My little bam-bam bit someone for taking his toy? My momma tribe is there to console me that IT IS JUST A PHASE (He won’t be seven and biting children on the playground). We all come from different backgrounds and have different styles of parenting, but what we have in common is the most important thing of all–no judgement. And, friends, that is the ONLY kind of tribe you need.
I will never claim to be an expert on parenting, because honestly, there is no such thing (Ditch those sites that claim to know it all). Every mother is different and every child is different. What works for one baby may not work for the next and so on and so on. I am just here to remind you that I never received the “How to Parent” manual either–I am wingin’ it like the best of ’em.
But, if you are walking into parenthood thinking, “WHAT THE $&%*AM I DOING?” and need a little pep talk, you know where to find me.