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New Mom Tips...That I Didn't Take...

Thursday, October 20, 2016 8:47 PM | Sandy

I’ve pushed 2 babies out of me, first one 5 years ago, and the second one a little over a year ago. I’m not a “seasoned mom” per se like some of my friends who’s got anywhere from 3 kids and up (yes, if you have 3 or more, you are a seasoned mom in my books), but I think I can safely say I’m not a “new” mom.

The latest “new mom” is my bestie. She delivered a healthy baby boy a little over 2 weeks ago, and mommy and baby are doing well. I’m busting to go see them (it’s happening sometime this week!), however, as a courtesy, I waited for the invite - don’t make me get up on the soap box for this, yes, it’s a courtesy thing, please respect that of the new mom, even if you feel you have a right to visitation because you are a family member/best friend/Justin Trudeau, wait for the invite! If no invite, then ask, but VERY gently!

I digress...

Being a new mom is challenging and stressful in every respect. You think you found your medical entrance exam challenging? You think being lost in a foreign country where no one else speaks your language is stressful? The way I see it, every challenging and stressful situation you’ve encountered in the past has been nothing but a small preparation for you on becoming a mother.

So to all the new moms out there, I want to give you all the tips on what you should look out for, what mistakes to avoid…

But I’m not, because it’s all been written already.

As a new mom, you are probably going to be reading a shitload of related blogs, articles, advice columns, anything from “30,000 mistakes new parents make” to “365 tips for the first year” to “60 million things new moms need to do in order to achieve optimal self-care”, etc, etc. Here’s the thing, I did almost none of it. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, or I didn’t want to, or I didn’t know. I knew, and I probably knew way more than I wanted to admit, but I didn’t do it, because I thought I would be ok.

In the beginning, I equated the tip of sleeping when the baby is sleeping with pulling an all-nighter studying for an exam, that I could simply remedy the following day with a large cup of coffee. By the way, I took up that habit only after my first born, I’d never drank coffee before. Nowadays I still don’t drink an actual cup of coffee, but I’ll drench myself in a coffee related beverage such as a cappuccino.

Then there’s the self-care thing. With my first born, I equated self-care as being high maintenance. I associated so-called self-care as just poor excuse for high maintenance women to go pamper themselves when they ought to really be looking after their baby.

I didn’t think any of the “new mom tips” were applicable to me, because I interpreted all of those “tips” as simply being a lazy, un-dedicated mom.  Then something happened, I got burnt out, very quick.


Pulling an all-nighter for an exam is one-off thing, but pulling an all-nighter for a baby, well, that’s an everyday thing…and pulling all-nighters everyday, that’s a recipe for disaster.

When I’m stressed, my muscles tense up, and when my muscles tense up, I start having headaches. Going for a massage helps relieve that stress. But I didn’t think I deserved it, because I thought I would be viewed as an inadequate mother if I admitted that I get stressed out spending the entire day loving my child. Not allowing your body to relax, again, is a recipe for disaster.

Within 2 months, I was a mess. I was moody, I was picking fights with my husband, I was yelling at my mother for making too much good food, I was just all around crabby.


So I started looking after myself, and it made a world of a difference.

I didn’t take care of myself as much as I should have when I had my first child. When I had my second child a year ago, I definitely took better care of myself. You could probably say I “milked it” for all its worth. I didn’t feel guilty handing off my newborn to my parents in order to go to the gym for an hour. I didn’t feel guilty handing off my newborn to them in order to go golfing for a day. I certainly didn’t feel guilty that my mother made most of our meals on a daily basis for almost a year. Nowadays, I’m not ashamed to tell others that I have help in the form of my mom and dad. They make sure me, my husband, and my 2 daughters were always well fed, well looked after, and well rested. To say we’re blessed is an understatement.

I recommend to every new mom to look after themselves, but if they are anything like me, they have to find out for themselves first hand that these tips are truly useful. If I were to do it all over again, I probably would have done the exact same thing, waiting for burn out before realizing I needed to make changes.

I understand that perhaps not everyone has the readily available help like I do, and I don’t want to just simply brush it off like “What do you mean you can’t look after yourself? Just get your mom to babysit or whatever”, because that would be me being a jerk mom to you. Instead, I would like to open up the conversation to fellow moms, we stand together in making sure we are well enough to run a tight ship. This is my dialogue in letting moms in my community know that I’m here for you if you need. If you are able to offer help to a new mom, I encourage you to do so. If you’re a new mom that needs help, there are fellow moms (myself included) that are loving and caring and understand what you are going through, and would be more than delighted to give you a hand, but you have to speak up. Trust me, we're all here for you and we'll find a way to support each other.

Comments

  • Wednesday, November 30, 2016 6:11 AM | Pam
    =)
    I love your piece...thank you!
    Link  •  Reply
  • Thursday, July 06, 2017 7:16 PM | Chantel
    It's nice to know that someone else feels the way I do. I always hear" this is what you wanted" or get over it because you're a mom". I am not a single mom but sure feels like it. I started breastfeeding but it just became a lot of work, and than my supply dried up. I don't ask a lot but its hard to even get a shower in. Now I've become so used to doing everything by myself that I figure that when the time is right , I'll be able to have some time for myself.
    Link  •  Reply

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