Whether at a local moms group, on online forums or Twitter, mothers are great at giving other moms advice.
Sometimes that advice is crappy, and sometimes it’s fantastic.
I’m going to focus on a few key pieces of good advice moms give one another, but with a twist. The point is to think about if you’re receiving your own solid advice.
Here are some examples of commonly heard gems for pregnant and new moms:
Don’t push yourself too hard.
“Sit down and put your feet up!”
Easier said than done. The world doesn’t stop for pregnant women. And if you have an older child/children, they won’t stop either. It can be a very tricky balance, taking care of everything else and yourself. But you must find a way. Ask for help. Go to sleep early. Get in time for you – pedicures, massage, yoga, swimming, etc.
Sleep when baby sleeps.
A great piece of advice! Chances are if you have a newborn, (or a toddler!) you’re not getting adequate amounts of sleep per night to stay healthy or sane. So take a nap! Sleep during the day when your baby is sleeping.
But do you really or do you just advise other mothers to do so? Are you giving yourself permission to lay down, or are you forcing yourself to stay awake to get something done? Feeling too guilty to sleep during the day? What would you tell a new mom if she felt this way?
The dirty _______ (dishes, floor, laundry) can wait.
Time is precious, and spending it with your children is far more important than the daily chores! Let the dishes pile up for the day. Just let it go and enjoy them.
Yeah…that sounds great doesn’t it? But reality is, dirty dishes in the sink bugs. the. crap. out. of. me. (thank goodness for our dishwasher!) It’s irritating watching your once clean house unfold into what looks like a tornado went through. Clothes pile up, dust accumulates and many, many drinks and foods get dumped on the floor. Perhaps more realistic isn’t really to let it all go, but to allow yourself to take breaks from cleaning and get started again before the task becomes overwhelming.
Embrace your new curves.
Your body will bounce back eventually. Post pregnancy, like pregnancy, is a special time period for your body. You’re not going to look like you did before you had a child – at least not for a while. That’s okay. You just grew a human inside of your own human body. How miraculous! What a gift!
But why didn’t anyone tell me I would still look pregnant two months after giving birth? I mean, seriously?! It can take a lot of patience and self-love talk to really be okay with the overall changes in your figure after becoming a mom. For some, loving their new body will not happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Honor the process.
In the end,I think what it comes down to is allowing ourselves to be imperfect (accepting imperfection as the new perfect).
It’s easy to tell one another that it’s okay not to be super-woman or super-mom and that she doesn’t really exist, but we often hold ourselves to much higher standards.
One of my biggest internal struggles:
As a stay at home mom, I often struggle with feeling like I have it “easy” because I don’t have to work. Being able to stay at home with my daughter is such a gift. At the same time, I find myself struggling. This isn’t easy at all! It’s really hard to be “on” all. the. time. My brain and nerves are fried by the end of the day.
And then, in the vicious circle of this mind game, I am guilt ridden, as I am reminded that being able to stay home is quite the luxury and I really do have it good. Argh!
What I want for me and you: to give ourselves a break.
Cut ourselves a little slack. Treat ourselves the way we would want a new mom to treat herself, struggling to acclimate to her new life.
Remember that there is no such thing as doing nothing. As mothers, we do PLENTY every single day – for our children, our partners and, if we’re lucky, ourselves, even if that something is simply watching to make sure no one gets hurt.
I hope by you can come back to this blog post for a little reminder every now and again. I will be.