5 HARD Truths New Moms Need To Know
Untold realities in motherhood
I never thought motherhood would be so…stressful. There, I said it. I believe every mom who has ever lived never thought motherhood could be so demanding and exhausting that they ask themselves why they ever decided to say goodbye to being single.
Our media has portrayed motherhood so well in prints and on screens, some examples:
a mom happily lifting her giggling baby or a mom smoothly changing diaper and in all these the background of a well-lit, super neat house. Those things never happen every day in motherhood. Not all days are happy and clean. Most days, there would be screaming, crying, cleaning up mess, wiping boogers and spit ups, and the never ending changing of stinky diapers. It’s not all good, but understanding and taking in the hard truths and not denying them can make a big difference in your journey as a new mom.
Here are some of the hard truths that will push your boundaries or might bend them at times. I’ve also given some recommendations on what to do just to help you know what to do at times like these.
1- SLEEP DEPRIVATION
Say goodbye to long hours of uninterrupted sleep, unless you have a private nurse or attendant who will wake up for you in the wee hours of the night just to feed the baby, but in most cases, as a mom, you’ll have to get up many times in the middle of the night to feed your baby or change diapers. Will it be just for a short time? Hard TRUTH? No. It will not. For some it takes years until the baby sleeps straight in the evening. It goes on if you have another child on the way.
WHAT TO DO:
Catch on your sleep as much as you can. You often hear older women tell you to sleep while the baby is sleeping. YES, you must. It does help. If you are thinking of all the other chores, remember that YOU are the most important thing that the baby needs right now; your strength, your milk (if breastfeeding), your balanced emotional state––these things will help you become the best that you can be for your baby. If you get sick or emotionally imbalanced, your baby will lose the 100 % support he needs from you. Get some rest but of course, don’t rest the whole time and be lazy. Don’t use this stage as an excuse to not do anything. This stage is where you need to be stretched as a woman as well. It is in this trying times that you will discover you can do more than what you thought you could do.
2- OVERWHELMING THINGS TO DO AT HOME
This is especially true for couples who have a baby early in their marriage. Couples who spend a year or two being together and knowing each other’s attitude as a wife and husband before having kids has somehow gained a routine in the house as a couple. They got to learn how to respond to their partner’s ways as well. For couples who got a baby early in their marriage, the mom would sometimes feel divided about giving time to the husband and to the baby’s needs plus, the house management that needs to be done. It feels there’s a lot on her
plate and no one is there to be able to help, not even the husband.
WHAT TO DO:
Talk to your husband about it. BE A TEAM. Try to make a system that works for both of you without draining each other’s energy. You can decide where you need help. Do you need him to put the clothes in the washing machine once or twice a week? Do you need help in the grocery shopping? The little tasks removed from your list can remove a big burden already on your side. If you are well financially capable of hiring a helper in the house, you can do so. Some hire a cleaner who would come to the house, usually during the weekend or the start of the week to do some deep cleaning once a week, or for others once a month. Check which ones apply to your situation.
3- TOO MUCH BABY TIME
It’s not that you don’t love your baby. It’s just that you need some breathing time away from the baby schedule. You need to cool down, unwind, have some “me-time” to just be alone for awhile to refresh or if you badly need to take a nap that’s okay. You can ask your husband to go somewhere just to change the atmosphere to have a break in the routine. A good break. Don’t feel guilty refreshing yourself because strengthening yourself and taking
care of your health will benefit all members of the family.
WHAT TO DO:
You can ask your husband, friend (or any close relative) to watch your baby for a while. Tell them how you feel and that you badly need a time out to regain strength. This does not mean 2-3 weeks away from the baby or kids! NO. We are talking about hours or maximum of a day maybe. You need time out but for a limited time. Your
family cannot wait for you to be okay. You have to help yourself to be okay for your family and that is the use of the refreshing time. In my case, since I was breastfeeding, I couldn’t be away from more than 3 hours from my baby. What worked for me was just a time away from the house. As a family, we would go to a park, or some new place to have a different view and I would be okay already. That would work for me as a refresher but maybe that doesn’t work for all. So if for you, going to a mall for half a day can help, then do so. Ask your husband’s help to give you time alone to just walk around the mall to shop alone. It certainly works for others. =)
4- FAMILIES, FRIENDS, & FOES
This part is what can make your motherhood crazy if not handled well. Before, during and after giving birth, you’ll receive countless advice on how to be the best mom ever. Accept them with the idea that they all mean the best for you, but you don’t have to apply all of them. You’ll find yourself in the middle of opposite styles of parenting from different cultures and opinions and you just have to decide for yourself on which ones you are going to follow. Our parents might suggest following the traditional ways while you see your friends doing it the modern way. You, along with your husband must decide which one you are going to apply and which one suits best for your family. It may be faith-based, culture-based, or a mixed of both as long as it does not contradict each other. Along the way, you’ll find other moms, family members and friend who might react on the way of how you take
care of your baby or raise your kid but, if you know that it is the best for your baby and for your current set-up, then ACCEPT what they are going to SAY then keep moving on with what you are doing. They won’t stop anyway. So, better to allow them to say what they want to say and then keep raising your kids well. The moment you fight, let’s say with your mom-in-law or friend and defend your style, it will just create a gap between the two of you and you don’t want that to be carried on for many years.
WHAT TO DO:
Keep listening to advice. Just allow people to share their stories, tell their side and you may even ask why they do what they do. Assess which ones you can apply in your current situation and set aside the ones that are just really not applicable to your current set-up and routine. You may try some of them and check if it works for you. If not, let go and don’t feel guilty about it. If people ask you why you are not doing their advice, tell them politely that you’ve tried it and it just won’t work for now, but say that you’ll try it again in the future if you see that it is already applicable to your situation.
5- YOU’LL NEED HELP
I believe for independent women this is one of the hardest things to admit. To admit that at this specific point in your life, you’ll have to ask someone for HELP. It sucks, but the easier you admit and accept it, the lighter the weight will be. I had a very strong friend before who, after giving birth to her third child took the courage to ask her friends to help her in cleaning the house, bringing home-cooked foods and playing with her older kids. I highly admire her for that. That time I was just about to have my first baby. I saw that it helped strengthened their friendship, but most importantly it helped her to have an easier transition from being a mom of two kids to having three. That sense of community help without judgment from others is what we need right now. I know it is very difficult to ask help for independent women, but once you’ve tried it, everything in you and around you will just dramatically change and you’ll see why you shouldn’t live so independently at all because you will then see how other people’s help has greatly helped you and you’ll be open to helping others in the future who are experiencing the same thing.
WHAT TO DO:
Look at your community or circle of friends. They don’t need to be available. I tell you, when someone is in need, they will make themselves available. People have this desire to help in them even in the least possible way. They want to somehow be of importance to another person, even by just bringing something the other person needs.
These are just 5 hard truths for now and I hope these thoughts can help you ease the struggles you are facing as a new mom. Always remember you are NOT the ONLY ONE who is experiencing these things and that you are not alone. Look for support groups or people who can help you in your journey to being the best mom you can be for your kids. Keep being informed by reading helpful and inspiring articles from moms who have traveled those roads before. Learn from their mistakes and victories. Pick-up the ones you can use in your family.
If you are a mom who has finished those early years with babies and toddlers, be an encouragement to new moms who are struggling. Spread the love and refrain from judging their failures, be of help to them, they are usually shy to ask for help. Just do what must be done, instead of asking if they need food 2-5 days after the baby has been delivered, just bring a home-cooked food without being asked. These are the times both moms and dads are busy with the baby and learning how to do things that they usually just buy food from outside. Simple things count and will be well appreciated more than you know.