Being a mother is something I have deeply desired since I was a teenager. I knew I wanted to build a career, establish a strong marriage, and be financially secure before I did so. Starting a family is all I truly wanted deep down, so I prepared myself for this role for many, many years prior to my son’s arrival. I was ready and prepared, right?! Wrong. Very wrong. Ha.
When I was pregnant, I didn’t think about parenting. I thought, “I’ve got this.” I thought only about the terrifying specter of delivery. Never once did I imagine being a mother would be so emotionally tolling, overwhelming and exhausting. I am a Registered Nurse, worked in the Newborn Nursery at the hospital, spent my whole youth babysitting, was a School Nurse, invested myself in my sister’s children for many years prior, and had a sibling who was 11 years younger. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into? Nope.
Nothing can prepare you for the miraculous, overwhelming, and deep love you will experience as a mother.
Nothing will prepare you for the unexplained tantrums, lack of “me-time”, or sleepless nights, either.
My child is 5 months old. What I’ve learned in that brief span trumps everything I thought I knew.
Here are some tips I’ve discovered along the way:
Grow your MomTribe. No seriously. Do it.
If you’re like me and you follow mom blogs, look up YouTube videos, make play dates, and try to learn from others as much as you can, chances are you have heard this phrase. It is incredible what we can learn from each other if we are honest, open, and know we are in this together. The most impactful thing I have done since my son was born was join a group of mamas on Instagram called “Day in the Life Mamas.” Before my son was born and before I was pregnant, social media was not my thing. I never remembered to take pictures, could go months without checking my accounts, and just sometimes forgot about it all. Now that I stay home with my baby and have a spouse with an incredibly demanding job, this group of girls has been my lifeline on the hard days. It is compiled of a group of mothers from all over the country who sign up weekly to record as much of their day as possible on their InstaStories. I have been able to learn how other moms spend their days, get tips and tricks, and most importantly build wonderful friendships along the way. I high recommend checking us out and joining in on the fun here: DayInTheLifeMamas.
Embrace the mess. Chaos included.
This one has been hard, and there are still days I struggle with it, but routinely reminding myself that mess and disarray are all part of the experience helps relax me. It took my husband and me a long time in life to get to the place where we could purchase a home. Once we did, I wanted to keep it as clean and organized as possible. The first few months of motherhood I tried to do it all. Keep the house clean, stay on top of the laundry, the baby, give the same amount of time to friendships I did before the baby, focus on being a good wife, lose weight, etc. If there is one fact out there that is true-it is that you cannot do it all. You aren’t superwoman. No one is. Instead, I changed my mindset. Embrace the mess, embrace the noise, and embrace the lack of sleep. Life is messy and the work will be there when you come back to it. So relax. Take a nap (as frequently as possible). And leave the laundry for another day.
Other important tidbits I’ve learned as a new parent:
Laugh. At everything. Always. Laugh instead of crying and you will feel better for sure.
Strangers share their opinions. More than you expect.
Take turns with your partner. Accept help.
Baby weight comes off when it darn well pleases. Work at it—but take it easy on yourself.
Trial and Error is your best friend.
None of these things are new ideas to seasoned mamas! They have been there. But to a brand new mama like me they have held the key to embracing this new, wonderful, all-encompassing, love-filled journey called parenthood.