Becoming a Mom is monumental, wonderful, scary, joyful, and full of TRIAL and ERROR!! I laugh as I type this!! All the seasoned moms of more than one child know exactly what I am talking about!
I am going to share some of the things I have learned in my journey of being a mom to 4 children in 5 years. Yep… you read that right! At the time of this post I have a 4 year old, 3 year old, 1 year old and a baby. Take all my advise with a little humor and know that it all comes from love. I hope all the new moms out there in the world come to know what a wonderful thing has just happened to you, but also the toughest thing you will ever do if your trying to be a “good” mom.
So here we go:
#1 : Motherhood is the toughest thing you will ever do, and I mean it.
That is me in the Army…right before 9/11 and it was a cake walk compared to being a MOM! You won’t quite know what I am talking about until you get further in to the whole motherhood thing, but trust me when I say that this is tough. The toughest thing you will ever do in your life! I am not trying to scare you, or make you put your tough face on. I am simply preparing you to be gentle with yourself. If you are like most new moms, then you will at times be thinking you are doing something wrong. Well maybe you are, but probably not. Learn to ask for help now. Trust me as a mother of four under five…I feel no shame asking for help and wish I had learned this sooner. Oh and coffee, coffee, and water. LOL!
#2: Your Body is your body, not her body!
Having a baby is a MAJOR change for your body. Yes, maybe your bestie popped out her little and was back to her old self in 3 months, but if your not…don’t sweat it! Focus on just healing! Especially your first 6 weeks. Don’t jump right back into the gym right away!!! Not only is this not necessary, but it can actually be DANGEROUS!! Your cervix remains dilated for a awhile and any heavy lifting can put you at risk of vaginal prolapse! Do you want your lady parts to come say hello on the outside?! I didn’t think so! So take it easy! Rest in bed, stock up on made ahead meals prior to delivery, binge watch while you cuddle your little angel. Tell friends to come by for a brief visit on a day you are up for it…OR NOT! I didn’t leave my home for a whole month with my first and I don’t regret it AT All! Your first baby is probably the only one you will get this luxury with, so soak it up and be a little lazy!! The gym isn’t going anywhere.
#3: Post Partum Depression is real, but no one told me about Post Partum Anxiety!!
Looking back I am convinced I had a touch of Post Partum Anxiety with my first baby. I burst into tears at Target when I lost sight of my husband who was proudly carrying her around. I had them overhead paged to the front because my phone was dead! Embarrassing!!
You will probably get some small counseling when it comes to Post Partum Depression at your doctors office and even your pediatrician. However, no one told me about Post Partum Anxiety, and it is just as debilitating. I came down with it after my 4th baby. I was in my kitchen trying to get the kids to a play date. I was tense and rushing, trying not to miss it altogether. Then BAM…I starting having a full blown panic attack. My breathing was fast and deep, the world started to swim, and being a nurse, I knew I had to lay down or fall down. So right there on the kitchen floor I lay, while my husband and kids obliviously waited for me to return to the car. Ladies thier are tons of symptoms that can crop up for either Post Partum Depression or Anxiety. Here is the best advice I can give you….listen to your heart. If you feel you are struggling as mom with things…it may have nothing to do with your mothering style. You may be developing one or both of these problems. Talk to your nurse or doctor immediately. With the right meds, I was back to my fun mom self in no time, with only the normal amount of stress.
#4: Get the Expensive Pictures done!!
Professional photography is expensive. I still want you to do it, at least for a newborn shoot please!! These baby grow SO fast!! I got this done for my little ones and had them put into canvases that hang on my wall. I look at these works of ART every day! EVERY DAY!! I also try to budget for a yearly family picture professionally as well. These little humans are your greatest work of art. More than any picture you can buy at a fancy decorating store. They are your families story and beginning. Get the pictures done and have your photographer print the canvas, or framed print, or whatever for your wall!! Let your photographer do it for you! You have enough going on. Also, your kids are going to look at those pictures and you will tell them the story of that picture. They will LOVE IT! My kids point to our pictures several times a month. They love seeing our family on the wall. It is their story and yours! Get them printed and on your wall! Tip: See if your photographer will also order an ornament for your little to hang on your Christmas tree.
#5: Self Care? What the Heck is Self Care?
This is a new trendy saying. I had no idea what this meant until I started counseling for my post partum anxiety. Turns out it means “taking care of yourself” …huh go figure. LOL! This is also the hardest part about being a mom. We get so caught up taking care of our family that we neglect ourselves. Then we don’t know why we blow up, burn out, have a melt down, etc. Well ladies, here is one of my favorite sayings as a Mom about self care and taking care of your family: “You cannot serve from an empty cup.” Meaning… if you are not taking care of yourself, then you will have nothing to offer your family. When you feel like you are tired, hungry, dirty, irritable …you probably need to stop and assess what YOU NEED. Maybe you just need to eat a meal not standing up, maybe you need 15 minutes of tv, maybe you desperately need a quick shower and a cup of coffee just to feel yourself; whatever it is, try to make it happen. There are some days you are not going to get what you really need ( a nap, nanny, maid, cook, and massage lol!) but send the kids to the other room and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just have 5 minutes of quiet. Find ways to take care of you throughout the day and week PLEASE!! I promise you will actually find you are a better mom and partner if you do this.
Congratulations ladies on your Motherhood! It is the greatest, sweetest, and hardest thing your will ever do. Hugs.