When I first became pregnant, I intensely read e-books & stayed up way too late searching the internet for every piece of advice that I could find for first time moms. All of it sounded the same
“If you breastfeed your baby, always wear a cover”
“Let your baby cry it out”
Even the unsolicited advice I received, sounded like everything I read online.
“If you hold your baby too often, you’ll spoil him”
At the time, I didn’t question it. I simply consumed everything that was thrown at me in hopes that it would be useful once my baby arrived.
However, a few moths into being a new mom, I realized how useless all of the advice was. Everyone happily discusses topics that graze the surface of motherhood, but no one talks about the parts that most don’t see.
10 USEFUL Pieces of Advice:
- Don’t compare yourself to the mothers you follow online
- You don’t have to “bounce back” postpartum
- You’re allowed to say no (as often as you want) without having to justify your decision
- Parenting doesn’t come natural, it’s learned
- You don’t have to suffer in silence
- You don’t need permission to prioritize yourself
- You don’t have to change yourself to fit into society’s definition of what a “good mom” looks like
- You don’t have to justify your parenting choices to anyone
- It’s normal to feel mixed emotions about being a mom
- You’re not required to satisfy your partner’s want of intimacy when you’re not in the mood
Don’t compare yourself to the mothers you follow online
Always, always remember that the content you see online isn’t an indication of what that person’s day to day actually looks like. Take my content for example, I focus on sharing body empowerment content- most of which I edit to convey the message that I want to share.
In a recent post, I discussed postpartum body love.
I used Lightroom, Photoshop Express, & Canva to create this photo. I didn’t remove the texture from my skin, but I did add a filter that enhanced parts of the photo that I wanted to feature.
This is the original photo. As you can see, they’re similar but not the same.
Almost everything you see online is filtered. So the next time you find yourself comparing yourself to an influencer that you see online remember that you’re viewing her through the lens that she wants you to see her through.
You don’t have to “bounce back” postpartum
Your postpartum body does not need to be fixed. It’s absolutely fine as is. The stretch marks, loose skin, & soft belly are all natural parts of giving birth. And even though society says otherwise, I want you to know that these features are beautiful.
Every mark on your postpartum body tells the story of how you created life. Instead of shaming yourself for not fitting into society’s unrealistic expectation for the bodies of mothers, take pride in your body as is.
You’re allowed to say no (as often as you want) without having to justify your decision
One of the best things that I did for myself as a first time mother was learn to say no. When I became a mom, it felt like my parents and in-laws suddenly viewed me as a kid again. Instead of respecting the boundaries that I explicitly explained to them before my son arrived, they did what they wanted whenever they wanted.
The biggest issue I had was announced visitors. Unlike some moms, I don’t have an open door policy. If you want to visit my children, you have to ask in advance. Though I emphasized this point several times, my family members didn’t hear me until I stopped letting them inside when they showed up announced. Yes, I actually refused to open the door when someone showed up without notifying me in advance and no I don’t feel shameful for doing so.
I put this boundary in place for two reasons:
- I wanted to avoid having visitors during nap time
- I wanted to avoid having too many people over at one time
Babies sleep ALOT. So, when people come over unannounced they’re almost always interrupting nap time. I value nap time because it’s literally the only time during the day that I can breathe by myself.
I also value my sanity, so I try to avoid group visits as often as possible because it overstimulates me and my children.
Parenting doesn’t come natural, it’s learned
When you push out a baby, you don’t magically become the best parent in the world. And that’s okay.
Some days you’ll feel like a pro, some days you’ll want to pull your hair out because you have no clue what you’re doing. And most days you’ll feel both of these emotions in the same day.
Parenting is hard. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t being honest with you.
You don’t have to suffer in silence
I can not stress the importance of this statement enough. Read this carefully: NEVER be afraid to discuss something, especially when you’re suffering.
Many of us have been taught not to discuss topics such as postpartum depression and our dislike of being a mom. We’re told that if we discuss these topics we’ll be labeled as a “bad mom”, so most of us suffer alone.
I hid my pain for nearly a year before I shared my struggles with my husband & got the help that I needed. And that chapter of my life is one of the most difficult journeys that I’ve embarked on thus far.
To this day, I regret not speaking up sooner. My postpartum anger got the best of me many times before I started taking medication. I verbally lashed out on those around me more often than I’d care to remember. And I fear that version of me impacted my child in ways that I’m unaware of. I may awake at night knowing that some part of his brain remembers that version of me, and that absolutely terrifies me.
You don’t need permission to prioritize yourself
Taking care of yourself before you take care of your children will never make you a bad mother.
Have drinks with your friends. Schedule yourself a massage. Take a trip by yourself. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself just as well as you’re taking care of children.
You can’t pour from an empty cup momma- trust ne I’ve tried and didn’t end well.
You don’t have to change yourself to fit into society’s definition of what a “good mom” looks like
Sadly, many women believe that they have to change themselves when they become moms. Personally, I modified my wardrobe & toned down my personality to ensure that I fit into society’s definition of what a “good mom” looks like.
A few weeks ago, I discussed what I refer to as the “unspoken rules of motherhood” in a live video on IG,which you can view here. I call them this because many moms change themselves without anyone telling them todo so. No one told me to change my wardrobe but I did it because none of the “good moms” that I grew up seeing in the media dressed like me.
You don’t have to justify your parenting choices to anyone
Your in-laws and your parents aren’t baby whisperers, and more importantly, they’re not your child’s mother. You don’t need their permission to raise your child as you choose to. Nor do you have to justify any of your parenting choices.
If you want to be a gentle parent, do it. If you want your toddler to understand the importance of consent, go for it. As long as you’re not physically or mentally abusing/damaging your child, raise them however you want.
It’s normal to feel mixed emotions about being a mom
Being a mom is rough. Some days I absolutely love being a mom. Some days I wish I could run away. Most days I feel both emotions multiple times a day, but that doesn’t make me a bad mom. Anyone who thinks that I am, is a MF liar & has ZERO experience in my shoes.
Society wants people to believe that motherhood is absolute bliss, but it isn’t. Motherhood is hard because you’re responsible for more than one person. You have to feed, clean, & educate an additional person all hours of the day while simultaneously making sure that you’re doing the same for yourself. It’s rough & it’s okay to think that.
You’re not required to satisfy your partner’s want of intimacy when you’re not in the mood
Just when you think your life can’t get any harder, your OBGYN clears you for sex at your postpartum check-up & your partner is ready to tango.
Though your partner is ready to go, if you’re like me, you’d prefer to wait a little longer. It’s okay to put your sex life on hold. If your partner truly loves you, they will wait until you’re ready.
Tbh, my sex drive didn’t recover until I was 7 months postpartum with my second baby. Since his birth, we’ve been intimate 3 times. However, I’ve pleased myself many more times than that.
I was scared to have to sex because I had a VBAC. I feared that my vagina would tear during intercourse, so before I let my husband play around downtown, I made sure everything was good to go .
Many people think that masturbation is taboo, but I say otherwise. Learning what satisfies you will ultimately improve your confidence, sex life, & your overall relationship with your partner.
Sex isn’t rocket science, but it is definitely hard to figure what makes women orgasm. So, play around & figure out what works for you. Then inform your partner so that they know what to do. You deserve to be satisfied.
Being a mom is hands down the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s also the best job I’ve ever had. And yes, I refer to motherhood as a job because this lifestyle requires a lot of work.
The old saying is true, nothing worth having in life comes easy.
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