When I was pregnant it wasn’t like I had no mom friends. In fact my best friend of 30 years already had 2 little ones but from the outside motherhood looked a breeze. Pack some snacks, some nappies, a dozen muslins and you are good to go. Ha ha ha. I have asked my friend a few times why she didn’t warn me but she just shrugs her shoulders and laughs.
So to help you out these are the things nobody told me about becoming a mom. There are so many wonderful things about being a mom but those things we expect… these things are a bit more of a surprise.
You will feel lonely. Even though you probably won’t have more than a few minutes a day to yourself. Even though you have a supportive partner, family and other mom friends. There will be times when you feel like motherhood is the loneliest job in the world. Times like when your baby is up at 2am screaming and your partner is fast asleep in your bed. Times when you feel like you just can’t do another session of rocking, swaddling or changing another nappy. These are just some of the times that you will feel so incredibly lonely. It’s normal and ok to feel lonely but you can also reach out.
So what can I suggest? Join mom groups - free or paid. Toptots and Moms Connect in Kenilworth got me through my loneliness with my first child. Those little coffee outings were the highlight of my week. Then try and make mom friends with others that have babies the same or very similar age to your little one and get their numbers. Whatsapp them often and meet for walks or coffee. Believe me they will be in the same boat as you and sometimes just that realisation that there is someone else going through what you are going through makes it just that little bit easier. Even if all you the advice that you can offer each other is “tell me about it” or “this phase will pass”.
Breastfeeding is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to learn. Yes learn. I hardly know any moms who got the hang of it straight away. My advice is persevere. Ask for help. See a lactation consultant and get laser from day 1 (about 4 sessions while still in hospital should get you off to a good start). It will be well worth it in the end. Persevere with your chosen method of sleep training. Persevere with all things motherhood as it does get easier!
Ask for help
Ask for help. You don’t know it yet but there is a mom code. Moms want to help other moms. Especially as you transition to motherhood. They have been there - they know the highs and lows. So don’t be afraid to ask. Ask the big questions around breastfeeding, recovery, sleep but don’t forget to ask the little questions like “please someone bring me some milk”. There were days when I was so desperate for a cup of tea but just couldn’t get myself together enough to get to the shops. If only I had asked. If a new mom asked me now I wouldn’t think twice about popping to the shops to get her some essentials. Having help can be the make or break of you.
I think we are all pretty good at taking photos of our little ones but what we forget to do is take videos. Watching those little snippets down the line (try to make them at least 30 seconds to 1 min long) will make your heart explode. You are so in the thick of it in the early years that by the time they get to 4 you will have forgotten the way they spoke when they were two, their silly dancing and just how unbelievably cute they were. The videos capture their personality and the essence of them. WIth my first I used the app 1second everyday which was amazing when it was all stitched together. With baby number two I just didn’t seem to manage 1second everyday but the videos I have are wonderful to watch.
Considering how little sleep we get in those early years you would think finishing a cup of coffee would be easy. Not so. My husband used to laugh when he came home at the numerous cups of unfinished tea and coffee lying around the house. Finishing an entire cup of coffee was impossible. I kid you not. So get used to it and do not despair. Full cups of hot tea and coffee that you actually finish will come back into your life when the time is right.
Be kind to yourself and others
One mom once said to me “do what you need to do to keep yourself sane”. This was hands down the best advice anyone could have given me. I was anti dummies, rocking, co-sleeping, formula until I became a mom. I beat myself up about changing my mind on things because I realised I should not have judged other moms for their choices. Baby number one had a dummy and baby number two went on to formula at 9 months. They were better children for it and I managed to keep some of my sanity in check as a result. So please please don’t judge other mom’s choices and please don’t beat yourself up about yours.
And lastly and most importantly
You got this!
You will feel like a deer in headlights on the first night home - we all did. But you can do this. Trust yourself, trust your instincts and trust your bond. You are the best mom in the world.
image source: Pinterest