Let's talk real right here. For just a minute.
All of us who have children, at one point in time thought that mommyhood is one of those stages of life that is just beautiful. Teaching little beings how to exist in the world, let them explore the wonders of this thing called life and giggle with them as they utter their first sound, wobble their first steps and taste their first foods.
Oh just bliss.
Or is it?
I've yet to meet a mom who has said "Since becoming a mom, my life is bliss". Mommyhood is totally filled with a joy, an honor roll of taking on the task of the most precious being(s), and a never ending role of being a role model.
There are moments that are sweeter than the sweetest treat, splashes of joy that are brighter than the brightest sunshine and a glimmer of inner joy that reaches the deepest place within our hearts.
However, there's the flip side that people don't tell you about. The sleepless nights, the worry that keeps you up when your child is sick or the fear that you'll fail as a parent.
The not having the perfect words to say when your child tells you about a pain they faced, a struggle they're in or simple an inability to express to you what's really going on and you're left feeling completely helpless.
These parts are the roles of parenthood no one talks about because;
1) Either they're ashamed of their humanity (psshhh little secret: we're all human, flawed, and perfect at the same time)
2) They're in denial that parenthood is tough because that means you're weak (far from the truth).
3) They don't want to scare you away, because there are perks as well.
Regardless of others, I'm here to tell you that you're normal. Whatever you're experiencing, you're normal and ok.
But what to do with the late night worries, the feeling of panic or the terrifying fear that you'll mess up?
Number 1: Care for yourself
Yes that might seem obvious but nope, it isn't always as obvious as it seems. We all know that you can't pour from a half empty cup, so if Mama or Dada is hungry, need a 5minute breather or needs some alone time with each other or with friends, make that happen. Schedule a yoga class once a week. A massage. An hour to just be and sip your coffee, or blast your favorite music when you have ALONE time. Yes, make YOU a priority. It'll give back to you and your child tenfold!
Number 2: Set realistic expectations.
I saw this adorable quote recently that said " The pre-baby self would be horrified by the post-baby self that I am" or something like that. Meaning, we all have incredibly high aspirations of who we will be as parents, what kind of childhoods we'd like to provide for our kids. Beautiful, wonderful, amazing!
Don't throw out those aspirations, but also please don't keep yourself in check every day to those lofty goals. One step at a time. Yes, basic psychical needs. Emotionally responding to your child, and getting adequate activity and interactions with others. Good sleep schedule (when your child is ready for that) as well as good nutrition. All the other goals will come up as you move forward in this process of parenting, with each stage. Start with basics, do them well. Then, go forward. One. Small. Step. At. A. Time.
Number 3: Make sure you get support.
Yes, we all need a sense of community. Check out your local "mommy and me", look into the local parks or events that run for children at the local library. Make sure to set social time for you with or without your baby. Set up a weekly coffee date with someone who is a step ahead of you in the mommying game or is at a simliar stage. You can get so much support. We are all social creatures. You deserve it and need it. Social supports are important!
Number 4: Remember, this is a lifelong journey.
You'll get to parent every single day. Yes, some days will be better and other days you'll be falling flat on your face. Breath, it's one wave at a time. Do your best to be in the moment of today.
You'll have your best moments when you might not be trying or stressing, and you may have your most challenging days when you're trying your hardest.
You child is lucky to have you as a parent.
I bless you with so many of those giggly moments, of moments of ease and connection and of permission to allow yourself to see the glimmer of beauty in everyday mundane interactions you get to have.
Those silly splashes in the bathtub making funny squeaky noises, licking chocolate off each others' noses and running around in circles after each other. Those moments your heart will fill with that goodness that only you, and your child can know. Embrace those moments. Relish the gifts, allow those connections to strengthen you, your partner and your child(ren).
Give yourself permission to enjoy the sweet moments that come along with the colorful ones.