Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear new mama

I was at the grocery store today and the cashier I checked out with was a woman who was 37 weeks pregnant with her first baby. As we casually chatted about her pregnancy, she seemed worried and stressed about what life was going to be like once her baby was born, and how life would change.

I wanted to sit down with this woman and reassure her. I wanted to tell her all about how wonderful being a mother is and how she would never regret it, to tell her that it was so worth the swollen ankles, sciatic nerve pain, headaches and fatigue. Worth it a hundred times over. 

But all I had time to say is, It's going to be the best day of your life. 

I didn't even know her, but I was excited for her to become a mama. I want every new mama to experience that insane love and emotion that comes with holding your newborn for the very first time. And I also wish I had the time to sit down with every new mama and expose all of the lies and distractions thrown at us moms from every direction.  

So this is for you new mama, whether you just found out you are pregnant, or are just bringing that sweet bundle home from the hospital, you already know that this little life will change your world forever. I know it's cliche. Everyone tells you "that baby is going to change your life". You probably think you know what they mean.

But let me assure you, it's better than you think it's going to be. 

I get more excited for new moms now that I am one, because I know what they are about to experience and it's just amazing! Your world is about to be rocked by a new kind of love that is just overpowering. You would have never believed it possible to love someone that much.
I by no means claim to be an expert in this area...I'm still a new mom and I'm still learning as I hope I always will be. But here are four things that I want to warn you of as a fellow mom that I see can get in the way of the joy of mothering. 

Don't buy into the negativity. It's so easy to get sucked into that group of complaining moms. The lack of sleep, the stress, the poop everywhere, the spit up stains on everything, the strains on your marriage etc, all of those things may happen. But if those are the things you are focusing on, that's all you will see, and it may even cloud your perspective of things that may otherwise be a joy.
Days, weeks, months and years of your life will go into raising this child. Yes, you will wonder what it's like to sleep through the night, you will cry bucket fulls of tears at times, you will worry about a lot of things, but you will also smile more than you ever have before, and laugh harder than you've ever laughed in your life. It's all worth it. It's worth it for the pure joy of a first yawn on that tiny face, the late night quiet cuddles that you won't always have, that innocent dependence your baby has on you to care for them, the sweet closeness of breastfeeding, their tiny hands wrapped around yours, their smiles and giggles, and every other little precious moment that truly lasts but for a moment.

Don't buy into the hype of attachment parenting, baby wise, baby whisperer and all the other "mama movements" that are out there. They all have great intentions, and you can find some very helpful tips from those methods, but bottom line is that there is no method for being a good mom and what works for some babies may not work on yours. The best thing you can do is be informed, but also use discernment and cut yourself some slack when it comes to the methods that everyone swears by. 
Better yet, create your own method! God has chosen you to be the mama of this baby. Yes, you. You can care for this baby better than anyone in this world can because God chose you for the job. God doesn't give you a job without equipping you for it. So pray for wisdom from the Lord in those hard moments. Don't go running from one extreme method to the next. From my experience, I found that trying to follow a method, simply frustrated me when my baby didn't "respond" the way she should. Give your baby (and yourself) the freedom to be different, make mistakes, and figure it out as you go. So what if your baby isn't sleeping through the night by 3 months? It's more important to love and cherish the moments with your baby than to have mastered the method!

Don't buy into the competition. Unfortunately everyone is aware of this one. Countless articles, books, and blog posts address the infamous "mommy wars".  There's cloth vs. disposables, formula vs. breastfeeding, babywise vs. attachment, organic vs. conventional. You get the idea. Don't even dabble in that crap. It's drama and not worth a second of your time! Being a mom is so much more than all of those things. Yes, do your research on each of those issues to know where you stand, and then be confident in the decisions you've made and who you are as a mama. You don't need anyone else's approval (other than the Lord and your husband of course). I will admit, it's natural to look at moms who do things differently and feel as though they are doing it wrong. It's easy to start judging and competing and allow that to stifle the sweet friendships you could be having with other moms. Don't allow yourself to believe that you are a better mom just because you cloth diaper, or only feed your kids organic food. There's so much more to being a mom than that stuff!

Don't buy into the stress
Being pregnant for 9 months and then raising a child from baby to adult is no small task. It's easy to get stressed out by the day to day chaos of dirty diapers, laundry, crying, feeding, dishes etc.. It can easily overwhelm you and stress you out. I find that I especially get stressed out if there is a project in particular that I'm really wanting to get done, and my fussy baby is keeping me  getting it done. That's why you have to let it go. You might stress and strain and get your projects done but in the process you are missing out on the joy that day had to offer.
Every day I have to remind myself of this: if it's stressing me out or causing me to be frustrated by my baby, it's not worth it. It can wait till tomorrow. My baby is always more important than my "to do" list. Always.

I was just thinking tonight as I rocked my 14 month old "baby" to sleep, that I've never regretted a single night spent rocking her to sleep. If anything, I wish I had done it more often. So dear new mama, don't get caught up in the stress, the hype, the competition, or the negativity. Being mom is way better than you can even imagine it will be! Choose to enjoy it, cherish it, love it, always. 
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Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

14 comments:

  1. I find myself wanting to reassure all new mommas, too. Yes, there are days that you are tired, but there are truly more moments of joy than sadness. I love being a mom and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

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  2. All of this was so true! Even with a two and a half year old I still need to remind myself of these things! Thank you Faith!

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    1. Yes, I need a daily reminder as well! Glad you were encouraged :)

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  3. All of this was so true! Even with a two and a half year old I still need to remind myself of these things! Thank you Faith!

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  4. All of this was so true! Even with a two and a half year old I still need to remind myself of these things! Thank you Faith!

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  5. Love this friend!!! So uplifting. :) It can be so hard to discover your form of parenting when so many other mamas are trying to throw their parenting down your throat. Tis is why I never give my opinion unless it's asked. Much love to you and that cashier was so blessed to have you :)

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    1. Thanks friend! Yes, I always try to encourage other mothers rather than trying to share my latest "method". If they need help, they will ask!

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  6. What sweet and encouraging thoughts! I'm with you on not buying into the competition. Your children don't want the mom that won, they want you as their mom. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

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  7. YES!! Such a fabulous and inspiring post! Thanks for sharing at The Mommy Club Link Party.

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  8. Faith, this is a wonderful post! Being a mother is my most cherished treasure. There is no words to explain the way you feel when that baby is placed in your arms. Loved it with each and every child! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  9. This is such a good post! I'm not a mom yet but I really enjoyed reading all of these tips for when thinking about the future and having kids! New follower here!

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  10. Thank you. I've been praying over situations with my 7 mo old and this gives me that answer I needed from Him.

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