Tough times will happen, but so will wonderful, beautiful times.
Every new mom walks into motherhood with a set of ideas. These ideas sometimes turn into a mom's personal parenting system and some of them, well, don't work out as hoped. Being a parent means trial and error. Some ideas work while some ideas don't.
This is why it can be nice to get suggestions from other mamas.
Some moms are wary of receiving advice or suggestions from others. They feel as if they should know best - and moms do know best when it comes to their little one. However, there will be moments when a mom gets stuck and needs support. Having positive suggestions and advice to fall back on can be just what a new mom needs to push through a tough time.
Tough times will happen, but so will wonderful, beautiful times. Being a mom means every emotion and every scenario will probably be touched upon - possibly within the same day. Having affirmations, positive messages, and support to rely on when life gets a little tough can be beneficial in the long run.
20 “Enjoy Them When They’re Small,” Because It's Only Temporary
"For those struggling with baby blues and adjusting to a newborn, they're only little for so long," explains mom of one, Rachel Footen. "You can view this as - enjoy them when they're small and hold them often - and/or - they're only little for so long, so you will get through this."
Remembering that the moment you are experiencing, whether stressful or joyful, will only last so long may help when trying to adjust your mindset. Emotions will race through a new mama for quite some time and handling those emotions can be tricky. Realizing that whatever you are facing is only temporary can turn a tough time into a more enjoyable one.
19 “Do You!”
In the midst of the chaos that is motherhood, sometimes new mamas forget to take time for themselves. On top of that, sometimes those beliefs or parenting techniques you really hoped to follow through with get lost or pushed aside. Keeping your personal beliefs in the front of your mind during those crazy, new-mom moments will make you happier down the line.
"Do you! Don't think you need to follow what other people say," mom of one, Lacey Deiter, says. "Not everything you find on the internet or hear from other people is what is best for you and your family. Believe in you, you are the momma!"
18 “Take Care Of Yourself.”
Mama, Rachel Footen, says, "If everyone is still alive, you're doing just fine." Sometimes remembering this little tid-bit of information can be tough when there is laundry to do, babies to feed, and dishes to clean. You may start feeling stressed and anxious about this and that, and sooner than later, a breakdown can occur.
Stop for a moment and look around. Is your baby breathing? Good. Are you breathing? Good. Everything is okay. Breathe in, breathe out, and realize you're doing a great job - even if it seems as if you've entered a whirlpool of insanity.
17 Stay Social With Other Parents
"It's nice to be a little social with fellow parents/caregivers and even though my son is still pretty young, he gets to observe the other kids and is slowly starting to interact with them," explains Kira Literalee, mom of one.
Getting out of the house and exploring the kid-friendly social life around you is helpful. It not only helps relieve cabin fever, but also lets you talk and discuss situations other mamas may be facing as well. Getting involved in mom meet-up groups, breastfeeding cafes, or programs at libraries or community centers can be just what a new mom needs.
16 “You Are Not Messing Up.”
Sometimes, you may feel like you are doing everything wrong. You may ask yourself a million questions: Why is the baby still crying? Why is my breastmilk supply so low? Why won't my baby fall asleep? Why can't I do diapers faster?
Stop bringing more negatives to the surface and focus on the positives going on in your world.
"You are not messing up," says mom of five, Amy Stanton. Being a mom in a busy household, Amy knows how important it is to remind yourself of this statement. Even when it seems like the walls are closing in around you, remember - it can always be busier and tougher.
15 “Re-Center Yourself. Then Go Back To Mom Mode.”
"When stressing, take a break, put the child in a safe place, walk away, breathe, meditate, count - whatever you need to do to recenter yourself. Then go back to mom mode," says Toni Vadala, mom of four.
Figuring out a good way to de-escalate yourself during a stressful situation is helpful when walking into motherhood. There will be moments of stress - that's for sure. However, there will also be moments of excitement, joy, and love. Finding beneficial ways to calm yourself down during those stressful moments will help lead to the more joyful ones.
14 “It’s Totally Okay To Put The Baby Down.”
When you're a new mom, sometimes you feel guilty if you don't hug and cuddle your little one enough. You may feel like a "bad mom" or as if you're being neglectful. However, taking those little breaks are necessary. Separation helps the baby become familiarized with their surroundings and also gives Mom a needed moment to grab some coffee, fold some laundry, or - gasp - lay down on the couch and rest.
"It's totally okay to the baby down (in a safe space) and take a minute or two just to breathe," says mom of twins, Jess Wheeler. Remembering to breathe and take a break are critical in maintaining a healthy and stable mindset during motherhood chaos.
13 "She Isn't Alone Or Weak If She Asks For Help."
Asking for help can be hard. New moms tend to be stubborn and have a deep need to be independent when it comes to those 'new mom duties.' However, those initial weeks after delivery are also weeks for recovery and rest. Moms who experience c-sections need to watch their incision to make sure they are healing properly. They also need additional help with movement due to weakened abdominal muscles.
"I would tell her [a new mom] all she's feeling inside is justified," says mom of two, Meagan Elizabeth. "She isn't alone or weak if she asks for help."
12 “Take Advantage Of The Resources Available.”
"Take advantage of the resources available to you," Kira Literalee states. "Lactation consultants, mom meet-up groups, family and friends who want to lend a hand. There's this belief that you have to do it all as a new mom, but it is so much easier (and you end up less stressed) if you lean on others to help get you through."
Leaning on others for support helps new moms relax - a word that almost disappears from the motherhood vocabulary once that baby arrives. Reaching out, and not feeling guilty or embarrassed about it, can allow others to bond with your little one while you work on re-kindling your romance with relaxation.
11 “You Are Doing Just Fine.”
"No matter how many times you think you aren't doing something 'just right' or the time you missed them crying for 30 seconds while you showered, you are doing just fine," says Amy Stanton.
Sometimes, telling yourself this is tough. Sometimes, you will not feel like 'you're doing just fine.' The important thing to remember is that you will face challenges - some will be triumphs and some will need more effort and patience. This is normal for all parents and is a challenge every family faces. Understanding that you are doing the best you can keeps that positive energy flowing.
10 “Just Hug Them And Kiss Them And Enjoy Them.”
Sometimes you may get lost in the chaos going on around you. You may focus too much on the never-ending to-do list you have on your table. You may focus too much on how much milk you are producing - or lack there of. You may focus too much on the hair that is falling out or the acne showing up on your face.
However, when you really sit back and look at the big picture, are those the things that matter in the end? No.
"Don't stress. They all march off to kindergarten with squeaky new sneakers and character backpacks looking adorable whether they were breastfed or not. Whether they walked at nine months or at thirteen. Whether they met the milestones or not," explains mama, Rebecca Ames. "What I'm saying here is it's going to be okay. Just hug them and kiss them and enjoy them."
9 Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out
Reaching out and getting the support you need is critical. As a new mom, you are not required to do it all if you have a support system available. If you feel burnt out or overtired, call or text and friend or family member nearby. Sometimes even having a few friends or family members "on-call" for those new-mom moments can be helpful when you need a few minutes to yourself.
Taking that time for yourself doesn't make you a bad mom. Sometimes new moms feel guilty when they want to take a long bath or leave for an hour just to walk around the mall and get out. This is normal. Reach out and get the support you need when you need it.
You will thank yourself later.
8 “Fed Is Best.”
This topic is one that causes a lot of stress on new moms. If a mom decides to breastfeed and she nurses her little one for years, she may feel judged. If a mom decides to strictly use formula - she may feel judged. If a mom has a child who uses a feeding tube or special nutrition due to health issues - she may feel judged.
Judgments and "mom-shaming" needs to stop when it comes to feeding.
"Fed is best - instead of 'breast is best.' Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, bottle or tube - fed is best for your baby," says mom of two, Kristeena Titus. "As long as your baby is fed, you're doing a good job."
7 “You Know What's Best.”
"Everyone has some advice," says mom of four, Gretchen Granholm. New moms get a lot of advice thrown their way (if that hasn't already become an obvious fact). Remembering you have the option to embrace or dismiss advice is important. When you're the mom, you have the choice to follow what you wish when it comes to your parenting style. "My advice is you're the mom, you know what's best for you and your little one."
When you're the mom, you make the rules. Sometimes, new moms can forget this when the world around them becomes a bit much. You are the one who chooses how to parent your child.
6 “Babies Cry – And That’s Okay.”
Crying can be one of the hardest realities to face for a new mom. The sound can crush a new mama's spirit and when that baby won't stop, the anxiety never stops either. Sometimes figuring out why your baby is crying can take many moments of trial and error and the patience can often runs low.
It is normal to grow impatient and worried and anxious when your baby cries.
"Babies cry. And that's okay," says mom of two, Stacy Michaels. "I know this is super simple and weird, but another twin mom said this to me and it just stuck."
5 Take A Break And Breathe
Allowing yourself to step away from motherhood for a few minutes or a few hours is healthy. Many new moms don't like embracing this reality because they feel as if they will be judged or put under the "mom-shaming microscope." Let other moms think as they will, but you know what's best for you and sometimes that means taking a moment to yourself.
Finding time each week (preferably each day), to spend quality time with yourself is key to maintaining a healthy mental state. Being a mom is hard and it can be helpful to step back and remember who you are outside of being Mom. Though Mom is one of the best titles there is, being yourself is what molds you into the mom you will be.
4 “Parenting Is A Learning Experience.”
"Just try to breathe. No parent ever really knows what they are doing," Chelsea Swan, mom of one, says. "Even second and third time moms are still figuring it out. Parenting is a learning experience. You'll figure out what works for you eventually."
It is true: you will figure it out eventually. Remembering that and holding onto that mantra is important. There will be moments when you feel like a supermom, but there will also be moments when you feel like the worst mama in the world. Stop, breathe, and remember that every parent goes through the same emotions you are experiencing.
If they don't - they are not human.
3 “Lower Your Expectations.”
Since we live in a world filled with social media stars, the Kardashians, and people who would rather focus on their make-up during labor than the baby itself, the expectations for motherhood have been set at a pretty interesting level. This doesn't mean we all try to be the next Kim Kardashian, but because we are surrounded by these ideals, it can become easy to get sucked into this superficial whirlpool.
Stay true to yourself, your parenting style, and your personal beliefs. End of story.
"Lower your expectations," says Tabitha Sweeny mom of two. "You can shower or go to the store - if you happen to manage both, that's a bonus win. That was the best advice given to me by my mom a few days after coming home with my first child - and it was a life changer when I realized it."
2 “Remind Yourself Everyday, These Are the Days.”
"Pretty soon they'll be heading off to prom with some date you don't like," says Rebecca Ames. "Remind yourself every day that THESE are the days." Instead of wishing and wanting, remember to embrace the 'now' and not think about the 'then.
It can be hard to see all the chaos of motherhood as being enjoyable. This is a reality many moms feel guilty agreeing with because, well, aren't they supposed to love every second of motherhood? No. No one said every second had to be enjoyable. However, when those chaotic, unenjoyable moments do occur, it can be helpful taking a second to breathe and remember that soon, there will be different chaos to face.
And believe it or not, you may miss the current chaos.
1 “Guideline #1 - There Are No Guidelines.”
Even though people will hand over advice and suggestions and tips, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to take that information and run with it. You can read every blog and listen to every podcast, but in the end - motherhood is what you make it. There are no true, concrete rules that work for absolutely every family. The game of trial and error never ends and once you realize that everyone has their own set of guidelines they wish to follow, you can choose which ones work best for you.
"Guideline #1 - there are no guidelines," says mom of two, Michele Graham. "Try to be flexible and patient with yourself. Listen to your instincts and take care of yourself."