The best thing I did as a new mom

I am an extroverted introvert. I love being around people; that’s how I recharge but I don’t care to be the center of attention. In my last job, I was alone in the office often. Phil could always tell when the financial advisor I worked with had been out because I would talk his ear off once I got home. I go stir crazy by myself. That’s not to say that I don’t need some time to get away every now and then, because I do, but for the most part I am always up for doing something with someone.

This personality trait is why I KNEW that I would need to tap into that extroverted side of myself more. We had decided that I was not going to go back to work after having Audrey but I knew that I could not sit at home all day every day. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do this but I decided to start with the New Mom’s Group at my hospital. I’ve found that a lot of hospitals or pediatric offices offer this so check with your local office!

Going to this group each week until Audrey was about 7 months old (at that point she became mobile and tried to steal toys from the babies that were only a few weeks/months old) has made such an impact on my experience as a mom. While it has been invaluable to have mom friends with older kids to share their experience, there is nothing like having a group that is in the thick of it with you. Going to this group, making friends within this group, and maintaining friendships that stemmed from this group has been the best thing I have done as a new mom. These are the moms that I go to first when something happens, not only with Audrey but really anything in life. Now, it does get a little birthday party crazy for about 6 weeks in the late spring/early summer, but I love watching all these littles grow. We get together with the kids, we get together without the kids, we celebrate birthdays, the arrival of siblings, heartache, and triumphs!

My advice to new moms is find a connection. Lack of social support is listed as one of the top risk factors for postpartum depression according to the CDC and http://www.knowppd.com. In our local moms facebook page for the region I live in, there are “classified ads” for mom friends consistently. Connection and community are key to who we are as people. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a gaggle of girlfriends or a “mom tribe.” Sometimes it just takes that one mom friend that you can call or text when you and or your little is having a day with no judgement coming back at you.

Another great way to connect is through MOPS. These groups are all over the world and get together on a regular basis with other moms that have children in Kindergarten or younger. MOPS also has MOMSnext which seems to be new (I am not finding a lot of information on it) but is geared for moms with school age kids.

For nursing moms, Le Leche League is another great way to connect with moms local to you. Unfortunately my local group is not that active but I have heard amazing things from other moms in other areas!

Own your own business? Mommies Hiring Mommies is a national resource for mom entrepreneurs to connect.

Type into Google or Facebook, “moms groups near me” and there will be a ton of options! Some are based on the are you live in, some are based on specific interests, and there are countless other categories available that can fit your needs.

The other greatest thing I did, or we did as parents? Got a Rock N Play. Seriously, this was the only reason I got any sleep those first few months! 😉

What was the best thing you did as a new mom?

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The Mom Life

Can you believe that when Audrey was about 8 months old I had the audacity to say that I didn’t think being her mom was hard?! In that moment it wasn’t hard. She was sleeping through the night, she had just started crawling so that was a new adventure, she loved all of the solid food we had started to give her; we were in a moment of peace. I had forgotten things like sleepless nights, the struggle of nursing in the first few weeks, and learning what each cry meant.

Now, there are 80 million more caveats to me saying it was easy and I want to emphasize the HER in that statement. She was an EASY baby (not to mention the fact that right now we only have her) and every baby is different. I don’t want anyone to think that my experience invalidates theirs. What one person struggles with, another will never experience and vice versa. In my case, Audrey has always been a good sleeper, a great eater, hasn’t really been sick and is usually pretty easy going. We joke about how because she was so easy our next child will be the exact opposite. Although, as we go into the toddler years, she’s starting to give us a run for our money.

But of course being a mom is hard, no matter how much you prepare. We give up sleep, our bodies, parts of our identities, and everything changes. Our lives are thrown upside down, inside out, and through a corkscrew. I guess that flippant statement came from the fact that the good moments so vastly outweigh the hard ones, that the hard times are all but forgotten.

But, it’s hard when they go from being an excellent sleeper, which means you are getting sleep, to no longer sleeping through the night.

It’s hard when they fall and hurt themselves and you find yourself at an emergency doctor’s appointment to make sure they didn’t split their eye open or push their tooth back up into their gums. (True stories).

It’s hard when they are sick and there’s nothing you can do but give them cuddles and juice waiting for it to pass.

It’s hard when they say “no mama” when you try to join in their play.

It’s hard when right after they are born the nurse comes in with a bottle of formula when you are so dead set on only breastfeeding. But, she has jaundice so it’s either supplement or follow her down to the NICU.

It’s hard when you are in such desperate need of adult interaction but they have a full on melt down when you drop them off at MOPs childcare.

It’s hard when someone asks “what do you do” and you kind of cringe when you aren’t sure how to answer. You know (in my case at least) that you have the privilege to stay home with her and all that entails, but the world doesn’t usually see the value in that; therefore, the value in you.

But…

It’s so worth it when they smile at you or giggle the first time.

It’s so worth it when they say “I love you mama” unprompted for the first time. Or walk over and give you a hug when they are not the cuddly type.

It’s so worth it when they want to chase you all over the house and squeal in delight as they “catch” you around the corner.

It’s so worth it when they only want comfort from you.

It’s so worth it when they start putting words together and you are in awe of how their little brains work.

It’s so worth it when she brings you her sunglasses and says “glasses like mama” as she tries to put them on.

It’s so worth it when she burps and thinks its so funny that she starts fake burping and laughing so hard. Of course you laugh with her.

It’s so worth it when she meets Minnie Mouse, her face lights up, and she won’t stop hugging her.

It’s so worth it when you tell them you have an owie and they gently rub it and say “nice to mama.”

It’s so worth it when she brings you your iPad and asks to talk to grandma (who lives in Texas).

It’s so worth it when you have been trying to teach them something for months, then one day they just do or say it.

It’s so worth it when you see them, and yourself, grow through those hard moments and they are no longer hard.

Motherhood is a journey and it’s constantly changing. Right when you think you’ve figured out one thing, a new challenge comes along! I have been told that whatever you are going through now will be different in 3 months. Know that when you are in the thick of it, this too shall pass. Through the highs and the lows I have been entrusted with raising her and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

It’s a hard job mama. It’s a different kind of hard than I’ve ever experienced. It’s also a different kind of wonderful than I’ve ever experienced. The good vastly outweighs the hard, making the so hard worth it. Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!