First of all, I am learning. I’m 6 months new to this parenting thing, and I am quickly learning that no prior level of experience with kids fully prepares you for the actual parenting role. Sure, you might have practice holding a newborn, or magical teething remedies in your back pocket (please tell me if you do!). But it’s not the same as being wholly responsible for growing this baby into a healthy, adjusted adult human. So I have a few “new mom” lessons that have made the difference for me. Hopefully one of these helps equip you, inform you, or set you a little more free. 1. “Some babies are natural sleepers, others… just aren’t.” My pediatrician told me this, and boy is it true! My friend’s baby was on a consistent, through the night, no waking sleep schedule by 2.5 weeks. Another friend of mine fought wakeful nights for a year. Both homes were filled with love and consistency and routine. Me? I breastfeed a 6-month old who is teeny for her age, so I figure nighttime feedings are just par for the course. So I figured out various ways to get as much rest as possible while safely providing her what she needs. I give you permission to do the same (yes, even if it means tossing that book that supposedly works magic).
2. “Definitely before 1, and probably before 2, you aren’t creating a ‘habit’ out of anything”. I heard this from a Motherhood mom. I believe strongly in consistency (still do), but so much so I believed if I made one wrong move, my kid would surely be addicted to a pacifier until college or worse. But let’s face it: the way of the world is learning to cope with change. So I stopped fighting it, stopped guilting myself for it, and started loving my daughter through it (insert your “it”). Added bonus: you’re not furious when teething, sickness, or vacation throws off your perfectly cultivated sleep schedule.
--By now you can probably see that I am the perfectionistic, high-performance, A-type personality. Not convinced? Allow me: I am in two graduate courses, working full time, married, raising a 6 month old, serving at church, and asking myself why I didn’t get to the dishes. Sound familiar?—
3. STOP MULTITASKING 24/7.
(photo credit: Sulekha.com)
This is a tough one! Even now, you’re probably skimming this post while nursing or making a bottle or cleaning. And hey, I get it. We moms take on so much that if we do not multitask, we drown. My job centers on it, my brain thrives on it, and not ¼ of my stuff would be done if I didn’t. Sure, cook dinner with your baby on your hip if you need to. But when that chicken has to simmer, stop. Look at your child. Tune in to her. Talk to him. Make faces. Sound ridiculous. Other moments, turn down the radio and listen to your baby find her voice. Put away Facebook (gasp!) and help him learn his colors. You’ll give yourself a much deserved brain break and gain precious minutes back that our social rat race and personal pressure try to steal. Be an example of connectedness. My experience is that you will never regret those mommy moments you stole back.
In addition to mothering, are you a Student? Employee? Volunteer? I would love to hear what parenting lessons have set you free!