Becoming a mom has been an overly emotional ride for me. From being excited, to nervous and now sheer happiness. My baby is 2 years and 2 months old, and over these two years I’ve learned so much while nurturing and caring for her. There is no perfect way to be a perfect mom, but they are some simple actions you can do while figuring out this beautiful chaotic mess.
I refer to the journey as a beautiful chaotic mess because it is the most beautiful and magical feeling to love another human being more than you love yourself, it is also filled with screams, tears, frustration, and a bunch of crazy messy days. Luckily, I’ve managed over the past two years to remain sane; how I’ve done it? I’m happy to share my ways below:
1. I have a village – When they say it takes a village to raise a child they were not lying. That is why I continue to randomly S/O single parents and those without a support system, because I honestly don’t know how I would have survived and functioned without my village. My village is my husband, who started and continues to do most of our housework so that I can care for baby stress free; our grandma, who is always available to be a nanny whenever we need one to just breathe and relax. It also includes my dad, who remembers us whenever he is making his supermarket runs, I often throw baby items on his list and he will ensure I get whatever I need. Your village can be anyone, who helps you to care for your little one and to be a better parent.
2. A Daily Routine – This routine may not always go as planned but it gives balance to your day; and if your baby is like mine, he or she will surely grow to appreciate routines. Routines have helped me to succeed at sleep training, scheduling naps, and play time (brain development games or just having fun). To date my daughter still keeps all those times especially sleep time, so in the evenings we both get a comfortable eight hours of sleep, recharging and preparing us to take on the new day. On days when your routine activities are not working just go with the flow and enjoy your baby.
3. Mom Friends – Not all first time moms have mom friends. I have a friend who is a mommy and she often comments on how cool it is for me to have mom friends, especially as I was beginning my journey. These mom friends are there for numerous reasons and can help you deal with any kind of problems or day you’re having, even one of those days when you just want to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling. I have a supermom friend, I call her that because she’s a single parent with a toddler, and gets quite a lot done – with work and volunteering and much more. My supermom friend is the one I’ve learned quite a lot from; like keeping routines such as a sleeping routine, to organising Sunday outings and the importance of reading and engaging the baby’s brain from very early during pregnancy and after. She was the one who ensured I had a checklist for a hospital bag and certain essentials for after birth and returning home. We all need mom friends, for sanity and maneuvering through motherhood.
4. Be Present – As a new mom you will be thinking more than anything. Thinking of the what ifs, the I need to do this, and a host of other important or not so important things. What’s important is that we find time to be present and relax. Take it one day at a time. I often celebrate the present and every milestone and achievement my baby and I made it through. Overthinking can contribute to anxiety and postpartum depression. Be present with how you’re feeling and don’t overlook it because it can also influence how you react to the kind of day you and your baby is having, or even how you react to the baby.
5. Self-care Activities – Self-care provides you with an opportunity to recharge; it’s your chance to take care of YOU. Self-care activities can range from watching your favourite TV show while the baby sleeps, to reading a book or even doing breathing exercises. It’s really that one activity or those activities that you do to care for your physical, emotional and mental health. Self-care for me depends on my mood. Some days it is aromatherapy using candles and coffee, or conversations with my tribe, or simply exercising. After giving birth we may become complacent, especially when it comes to working out. Before giving birth my husband enjoyed taking me to the gym with him, so after giving birth, I told him he’s still my accountability partner, so we started going for walks and doing outdoor exercises. Having him with me is also a calm to my day and a self-care activity in itself. 🙂
These are my non-expert points on how I’ve managed to enjoy this beautiful chaotic journey and how I’ve been able to be the best mommy to my baby. Figure out what works best for you and your baby and build on it. Also, do remember that there really is no perfect way to mom. Just do YOUR BEST!
Written by Lu B | Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @Lubarnwell