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
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
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
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.