Becoming a mommy is one of the greatest gifts on earth, but it can be quite challenging–especially in the beginning. Your life is a blur of snuggles, diapers, cries, coos, joy, hope, exhaustion, and fear. I learned so much during my first few months as a mommy. I hope mommies, new and old, can relate to these honest experiences along with me. Here is part 2!
(Be sure to read lessons 1-4, too!)
#5 Practice self-care: My husband has a PHD in counseling, so you can imagine how many times he reminds me, “Don’t forget to practice self-care. Taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of others.” Blah. Blah. Blah. The concept of taking time for myself has always been a struggle–one that grew exponentially greater when my sweet little boy came. Self-care takes many forms. For me, it involved going to the gym, blogging, enjoying a girl’s night each week, investing more time in my photography, redecorating our home, and even soaking in a hot bath every once in a while. Regardless of how you spend your “me time,” just be sure to do it!
Taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of others.
#6 Let your little one sleep on their stomach: Should you let your newborn sleep on their tummy? That highly-debated question is easily answered by most pediatricians with a “No!” Being the rule-follower, I listened. (Mistake number one.) Furthermore, we enjoyed the ever amazing Rock-n-Play from Fisher-Price a little too long. This contraption creates the perfect sleeping nest for your love bug…on their back. While it’s perfect for those beginning weeks, I would recommend transitioning to the crib full-time, as soon as possible. (Mistake number 2.) Checking on Ellis at the end of his nap one day, I saw him trying to sit-up! Uh-oh! I knew it was past time time to call it quits on the R-n-P. He finally started sleeping well and through the night when he figured out how to sleep on his belly. Oh, Dr. Denmark, you were SO right!
He finally started sleeping well and through the night when he figured out how to sleep on his belly.
# 7 Give yourself Grace: 2 Corinthians 12:9 is pure beauty. God’s word reminds us that his grace is sufficient for us. His power is made perfect in our weakness. I love the last part, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” So humbling and encouraging. It is so easy for me to share God’s grace with others. Make a mistake, and I will forget it. Hurt my feelings, and I will forgive you. Fall flat on your face, and I will help you dust off. How come it is so much easier to extend His grace to others, while refusing to partake in it ourselves? One day, the Lord showed me how neglecting His grace and mercies for myself meant that I didn’t believe they were sufficient. Ouch. I know I am going to make mistakes.–It’s a part of the parenting package. I will continue being the best parent for my son. I will ask for forgiveness when needed, and I will abide in His grace along the way.
One day, the Lord showed me how neglecting His grace and mercies for myself meant that I didn’t believe they were sufficient.
#8 Wear a wrap: I think I broke our couch during my maternity leave. Let’s just say the couch and I became really close during those first few months. Whether nursing little man, taking naps while he napped, or watching Mickey Mouse, I sat on that soft brown seat longer than I ever had in the 10 years we’ve owned it. When I was off the couch, I had Ellis in my arms. This combination made it quite difficult to take care of our home. (Thank you, hubby, for always taking care of this department!) Then, one day, I finally realized that enough was enough. My back needed a break, so I bought the ERGObaby 360. It was one of the best (and most expensive) baby purchases to date. But, boy oh boy, it has been worth every penny! I will definitely be using that sucker from the beginning when Baby Bruton #2 comes along!
I think I broke our couch during my maternity leave.
#9 Go back to work: I expected to be a complete wreck on my first day back in the school. I expected a flood of tears. I expected a heart of heavy sadness. My expectations were no where close to reality. First of all, I work with some amazing people. I missed my admin team like crazy, and I could not wait to see my teachers’ sweet faces! Secondly, I am a busy girl. In addition to being a wife and mommy, my days are filled with any combination of the following: JAM (Jesus&Me) time, school, photography, journaling/blogging, choreography, gifting, crafts, decorating, party-planning, exercising, traveling…to name a few. I have always functioned best with a full plate. A really full plate. Balance and unrealistic expectations are a struggle, but I thrive in the mess that is my life. When I said bye to Ellis on that first day back, we hugged, kissed, and exchanged a few syllables. I brought his sweet smile with me, and rest assured that he was in my mom’s safe and loving hands. When worked ended, you can bet I raced back to scoop him up, cover him with kisses, and hear about his day. Work looks differently for so many of us. Whether it’s part-time, full-time, over-time, at home, in the office, at a school, volunteer, salary-based, or hourly–don’t feel guilty for working. Figure out what is best for your home and embrace the freedom of knowing you are providing for your family!
Balance and unrealistic expectations are a struggle, but I thrive in the mess that is my life.
Who are we kidding? Being a mom is about figuring it out day by day. Letting go of fear. Trusting the Lord. Making the best possible choices for your children. Loving them enough to teach them hard lessons. And always, forgiving yourself.
What are some of the lessons you learned during the newborn/maternity leave stage? I would love to hear from you and learn from your experiences!