Saturday, May 21, 2016

Before I Was Mom

A friend of mine posted a question on Facebook on what advice or tip you wish someone would have told you before you became a mom. I was going to write a response but it seemed like everything I said came out a bit negative. So let me start off by saying this; being a mom is the greatest challenge and blessing I have ever been given. I love my kids and I love being a mom. I just also enjoy work, wine after bedtime, and watching Netflix in silence. Being a mom is a balancing act which requires daily perfecting. These are some of the things I wish I was told before I was a mom. 

1. Being a mom is hard. And it is a type of hard you have never experienced. And it is a different type of hard. It pushes you to explore levels of yourself that you never knew existed. Babies cry. A lot. They do not care that you had a bad day. They do not care that you are exhausted. They do not care that you are still wearing yesterdays clothes which may or may not have chunks of yesterdays baby vomit on them. You will cry with them. You will wonder 'what the hell did I get myself into?' You will question if you are strong enough to go another sleepless night. You are. Your routine will change to accommodate the little monster. You will feed before eating. You will change a diaper before peeing. You will pack everything in that diaper bag that can possibly fit just to ensure that your child stays happy during your trip to the grocery store just to get there and forget your wallet (been there, done that - maybe twice). It is hard and overwhelming and you will not be sure if you are doing it right. You are. 

2. Do not listen to everyone. People are going to give you advice. Everyone is going to give you advice. Some good, some bad. And if you are anything like me, you will listen and nod and thank them. You may or may try out the advice but let me tell you something, you do not have to listen to everyone. There are all kinds of extremely passionate people who think they know the very best way to raise a child. All children are different. I have two completely opposite children. While crying it out worked for one, the other needed to be held and cuddled every night until they were ten months old. One latched like a pro while the other needed coerced for about three months. The bottom line is feed your child, let your kid sleep, let them play, and let them grow. How you are going to do this is up to you. You do not have to listen to every opinion and 'research' and methods of parenting. What ever works for you, works for you. This is not a competition. And stay off baby blog/advice boards. Trust me. People on the internet are crazy. 

3. You will dislike your husband. Ok, let me first give my husband credit where credit is due. He is incredibly helpful and attentive to the children. He changes diapers, feeds, plays, carries, entertains, and loves the kids. With all that being said, the feeling of dislike for your husband during those first months are normal. He gets to go back to work. He did not gain any weight. And during the third feeding of the night while he is still snoring, I am still trying to get baby to latch in the dark. No I did not want to smother him but I did want to nudge him a bit. Like off the bed. A nice hard nudge. Of course I would apologize but for the moment, it would be nice to have someone awake with me. Husbands try to help but sometimes it just does not cut it. I was superwoman. I could do everything myself! Which leads to the last bit of advice. 

4. Ask for help! People like to help. People naturally want to be helpful. A lot of the time though (like my husband), they are not sure how to help. So what do you need? Do you need a coffee? Ask that friend who wants to come see the baby to bring you one. Or make a coffee and take it into the next room while your husband entertains the baby. Need a little help with dinner? Hey mom, can you bring over some dinner when you come visit? Need to take a nap before your body melts into a puddle of tears and baby drool? Hubby, take over - momma needs a nap! With Marlee, I tried so hard to avoid asking for help. I birthed this child and I will take care of all her needs! She was not any persons responsibility but my own. Well that obviously backfired. I felt secluded. I was secluded. I secluded myself. I feed in the bedroom, which usually turned into nap time, which turned into feed time, and so on went the cycle. I spend a ton of time in the bedroom with Marlee. I would come out when people were over but it was exhausting and we would have to quickly go back to the bedroom for feedings. I took Marlee everywhere I went. I spent every waking moment with her. I burned myself out. Once Nicky came along, things quickly changed. I asked for help. I dropped the kids off at moms to go shopping. I took time for myself. Even if it was ten minute on the back patio drinking coffee. Ask for help. You will be a better person because of it. A happy mom makes a happy baby. 

Advice is a funny thing. It is hard to even imagine what it is like being a mom until you are actually a mom. It is easy to plan and prepare but at the end of the day, all babies are different. And babies are one thing you can plan for but everything else goes the opposite way. You have to be able to go with the flow. Day by day. Heck if you have toddlers, its hour by hour (mood swings - ugh). Plan for the unplanned. Laugh, smile, and play everyday. Hug, kiss, and cuddle. 
Tell them you love them every night and you are doing a good job. 

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