All parents use tactics to help keep their kids from fussing or having a fit. Ours is Baby Shark, and during the last weekend of my year long maternity leave, the only thing going through my head was “it’s the end do do do do do do.” Side note – if you don’t understand that reference, you’re one of the lucky ones… Although I know it’s not the end of motherhood for me, it’s definitely the end of an incredible period in my life, which has me reflecting back on the wild ride I just had.
I always thought that when the time came for me to have a baby that I would be different than I am. I’ve always loved kids and babies, but I’ve never been the type to want to sing Old MacDonald over and over or push a kid on the swing for hours. I guess you could probably say that my life has always been so fast paced that I’ve never really thought about prioritizing those things before. When Mia came along I found myself excited by even the littlest things. I loved feeding her, changing her diapers, getting up with her in the night and seeing how excited she got when we sang “If you’re happy and you know it.” It all made me happier than I ever thought would be possible.
That being said, though a lot of the things that I thought would be impossibly hard were enjoyable, there were so many things that left me in shock by how difficult they were to handle. Excessive mom guilt, anxiety, late night (all day) intrusive thoughts, unwanted opinions, and even the simplest comments from others affected me more than any late night feeding, diaper blowout or screaming fit. However, I quickly realized that these difficulties are unfortunately here for the long haul, and it’s my duty as a parent to find solutions for dealing with them.
All that said, I figured it might be helpful for me to list 5 things that have helped me cope with some of my first time mom hardships!
5. Exercise – When it comes to postpartum anxiety, I have found that a little sweat goes a long way. Spending 30 minutes a day or so focusing on yourself works wonders in taking your mind off things that worry you. Your focus becomes less targeted towards the what if and more on the right now. 30 minutes seems to be just enough time to get your head out of the worry tunnel and back on the happy track! (If you’re looking for a great quick workout that can be done at home I particularly liked BBG by Kayla Itsines!)
4. Embracing the outdoors – It can be hard when you are stuck inside all day with a baby stressing about what they are going to eat next, if you are stimulating them enough, if they’ve had a long enough nap, etc. Well, sometimes just grabbing the kiddo, strapping them to you, and going for a long walk or just going to the park is enough to clear your mind and alleviate stress. Plus it’s quality time spent with your little one, and that’s never bad.
3. Confiding in someone you can trust – Sometimes it’s hard to talk about things that make you feel a little nuts, but that is why it’s a good idea! More often than not you are not the only person to be experiencing certain anxieties or irritations. Confiding in a good friend to either gather their insight or just as an ear to listen while you verbalize your concerns helps to put things into perspective. Whenever I have done this I have either had someone say they’ve also been through something similar or it was enough for me to just hear my own words out loud, and know it’s actually not as big a deal as I once thought.
2. Daily Reminders – Kind of like an affirmation, if you take the time to write down/read or just think about all of the great things in your life it shrinks the bad tenfold. Going over a list of things you’re thankful for every day helps to put the not so good things into perspective, and starts each day out on the right side of the bed. For example, when Mia was 10 days old we had an emergency visit to the children’s hospital that turned into a five day stay. At this point I was still healing, my husband and I were sharing a chair to sleep on, and we were scared beyond measure about the health of our brand new baby. Every day as I walked through the halls or sat in our tiny shared room I thanked my lucky stars that we had this baby to hold onto, that we had each other for support, and we had an overall good life filled with incredible family and friends. After all, it can always be worse and there are usually more things to be thankful for than not.
1. Relax! – I know this is easier said than done, but being a parent should be fun above all else. Trying your best to not take everything so seriously, and literally just adjusting your focus from the worry to the fun can help so much. I realize that a child’s development is important in every capacity, however, if you’re more of a relaxed and happy mom, your kiddo will likely be as well…even if they haven’t had two naps, a completely balanced diet, read four books, and learned about the solar system all in one day 😉 … (this step is one I am still working on…like I said, easier said than done!)
It’s funny how people can change so quickly, and it’s funny how one little person can change you completely. So if you’re a mom, sitting at home wondering why all of a sudden you’re a little weird now, and you worry about things like whether or not to sleep train your baby or if your kid is getting the correct amount of tummy time, stop and remember that you’re not alone and you’re doing a great job! Take the time to really enjoy being a mom because as they say, time flies and before you know it your little one will be having a little one of their own… and that’s a whole other chapter to worry about 😉
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,