Today I was asked by one of my co-workers for some advise on being a mom. She is 8 months pregnant with her first child and it’s very clear the anxiety of birth and the reality of child-rearing are starting to weigh on her. We’ll call my co-worker, Monica.
She told me that she asked her mom. Apparently her mom laughed and told her “I hope she’s as much trouble as you were” and “I hope she poops all over you”. (She’s having a girl).
Monica asked some of our older co-workers that are moms and some of them told her, “You should have thought of that before” (she’s an adult by the way, 30 to be exact). The rest of them gave her that unwanted advise about what you better not do and what you better do and what to buy and not to buy.
She asked some of her peers and was told that her life is over and that she better get all the sleep she wants now because she will never sleep again.
No new mom wants to be surrounded by negativity before they bring life to this world. Our imaginations create enough worry for us and we don’t need anyone else to contribute to that. We are already concerned with if we are going to be a good enough person to raise another person. Plus the thoughts of what labor is actually like.
So I told her what I wish someone had told me.
I told her that my advise is limited because my son is not even two yet. I told her that this would be the most intense lesson on listening that she has ever had. A person is about to come in this world and they will require you to listen to them in a way you have never listened to anyone before. She won’t speak English or any other language, but she will tell you everything that you need to do. The easy part is the hungry or the sleepy or the wet diaper.
The real listening comes when she tries to tell you that she is afraid of being without you. That she’s lonely even though you’ve only been apart for 6 minutes so you could use the bathroom. That she’s excited to see you or daddy or that random bath towel for no apparent reason. She will tell you that she doesn’t want to be bothered but you can’t leave her sight. That she is afraid of the puppy or that sculpture that you got. She’ll tell you she loves you. She will tell you her deepest fears and biggest dreams and all you have to do is listen. This is the time that you learn each other.
People will tell you that you’re the parent and you set the boundaries and the child must do what you say. And in a sense, they’re correct. It’s not so much as setting boundaries and schedules with words, as it is about actions, it’s about routines. Don’t expect things happen immediately. Sleep doesn’t always happen right away. Exercise patience.
Patience is you second lesson. You will learn that no matter how many times you say “potty”, some things happen in their own time. But don’t give up. When you give up chaos reigns. For some reason, no matter the household, Mom is the keeper of order.
I told her it’s okay to cry and don’t be afraid to laugh. You will have great days and you will have not so great days. Learn to look at the moments. You will hit this period where you may not feel good enough, but you are. Don’t compare yourself or your family to anyone else. Stay off of Pinterest, at least until you get over the hump. Trust, you know when you’re over it. I got over my hump at 14 months. My sister got over hers at 21 months. Our friend got over hers at 6 years, bless her heart. I did not tell her this.
Take 30 minutes to yourself everyday. Every day. You have the time, I promise. The rest will come to you. Every child is different and every household is different. Remember to reach out for support when you need it, your support system may be bigger than you think. Be weary of those who are just being nosy. Don’t worry being a mom gives you some extra sense in weeding these individuals out.
Lastly, time starts moving much faster. Treasure the moments and capture them if you can.