If there’s one thing I wish someone would have told me before becoming a mother myself, it’s this.
You will never be fully prepared for motherhood, and that’s okay.
I became a mother a little over 3 years ago and I have learned countless things since then. Despite taking all the classes, and reading the pregnancy books, and Googling every random thought I’d have in the middle of the night, none of it prepared me for the immense amount of love and responsibility I felt for my son the moment he was put into my arms after 37 grueling hours of labor.
I knew having my son would change every aspect of my life. I would no longer be able to just make plans on a whim. I knew there would be sleepless nights, and long exhausting days and that it would take time to find a routine that worked for us and get into our groove.
What I didn’t see coming were the incredible bouts of anxiety. “I am doing this right?”, “Will someone say something if I breastfeed here?”, “Does everyone think I’m a bad mother because my baby is crying?”
When my oldest son was 9 months old, his doctor was a little concerned with his lack of weight gain. Little did we know it was because I was almost 5 months pregnant with our second son and I had no idea. So basically right when I was getting the hang of this whole, having a baby that solely depends on you to live thing, I found out I was going to be a mom to two!
A few months later, Tucker was born, and I officially became the mother of two boys only 13 months apart. Mikey was just beginning to take his first steps when Tucker was born, and boy did I have my work cut out for me with these two.
Less than two months after Tucker was born our little family of four was off on our next adventure. Moving from our hometown of Vero Beach, Fl to Columbus, Oh. This was a huge change for me, I’ve lived in other places before but this time, I went from a place of being surrounded by friends and family to being alone all the time with two babies in a new city in a state where I knew no one.
It took me awhile to work up the courage to get my feet wet and start getting out and about with the boys alone. Even when I did go out to parks or mommy meet ups I still struggled actually approaching new people and making mom friends. It’s not easy carrying on a conversation while holding a crying baby and keeping your eye on a crazy toddler.
Eventually I found myself slipping into this state of depression that I couldn’t shake. My main goal in life was always to be a stay at home mother, and yet here I was with two beautiful babies and I felt like I was going to lose my mind. Why was I not enjoying every moment, like everyone said I should be?
Postpartum depression and anxiety is a real thing that lots of new moms experience. When I really noticed mine it was effecting my day to day life. What I found helped me the most was connecting to other women and moms. And since I wasn’t good at doing that in real life I took to the internet and found them through their blogs or in Facebook groups. Hearing their stories and being able to relate helped me realize that I’m not alone and it helped me tremendously!
One of the main reasons I decided to start this blog is because motherhood can be both the greatest high on the planet, as well as one of the hardest things we will ever do as women. It can also be extremely lonely despite the fact that you are never actually alone.
I’ve put together a list of some tips that have helped me out so far on my journey of motherhood. But believe me, I’m no expert. I’m only 3 years in myself and feel like I’ve only begun to get my feet wet in this whole parenting thing.
5 Tips for the First Time Mom
- Let people help you. This is a HUGE one and the hardest one I struggled with as a new mom. I was surrounded by loving friends and family that wanted to help and yet I felt like I needed to do everything myself because I was the mom. Trust me on this. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Take the help. Get some sleep. You’ll regret it later when it’s not around when you need it. I remember my mother in law once saying to me, “You know it’s okay if you put him down sometimes.” I literally felt like I had to have my son next to me at all times the first few weeks.
- Wear whatever the hell you want to wear You do you girl. If you’re most comfortable in leggings and a spit up covered T-shirt (because let’s be honest clean shirts never last with babies around.) than rock that shit! Don’t worry about what other people think. Trust me, most of them can probably relate and if not who cares. If you want to do your makeup and dress up every day than do that too.
- Keep your nails short. Trust me on this. I love manicures and pretty nails just as much as the next girl. But what I do not like… poop stuck under my fingernails. 😩 If you’re going to be doing the majority of the diaper changes I suggest you heed my advice and avoid that disaster. Short nails look just as cute with polish and are less likely to end up the loser of a dirty diaper wrestling match.
- Find time for yourself. Whether it be taking a day to go get a much deserved massage or just finding a quite hour to curl up with a good book. Whatever makes you happy outside of being a parent, make sure to tend to that part of you too. Motherhood tends to feel all consuming and overwhelming at times. Sometimes you just need to take a step back, take a deep breath and find your center again. I’ve started doing yoga daily and it’s been a huge stress reliever for me.
- Find your Mom Tribe. As I said before, it was finding and connecting to other moms that really helped me with some of the struggles of adapting to motherhood and all the stress it entails. Whether it’s a group of great friends in real life or a group of incredible women online, find other mothers to talk to and share your experiences, questions and concerns with. Most of all find the humor in all of it because let’s admit it, there’s no manual when you leave the hospital with your baby, so aren’t we all just winging it after all?
For day to day glimpses into the chaos that is my life follow me on Instagram. @ChaosinMommyhood