As I watch my second Mother’s Day pass, I would like to take a second to reflect on the beautiful and crazy journey I have been on. This time last year my daughter was almost 3 months old, I was still battling the sleepless nights, post-partum body, hormone changes, and trying to figure out my nursing/pumping schedule. Now, my little 14 month old has me sleeping through the night 3 out of 7 days per week, chasing her around and pulling cheerio’s out of her mouth that she dropped two days ago, and nursing twice a day AM and PM only!
Looking back now these are the things I would have told myself to stress less:
Nursing/Pumping: Don’t worry! If she is on target for weight, then don’t worry. If you need to supplement then do so, save your sanity. Pump for 30 minutes max, on time, drink plenty of water, and eat a balanced meal. I was fortunate enough to work in an environment where I had my own office and made my own schedule. I pumped at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm for one year! Keeping my pumping schedule was one of the most difficult parts of having an infant, I detested the pump but I did come up with some handy dandy tips!
- TIP: DIY hands free bra- cut two slits a little shy of an inch (it will stretch overtime) where the breast shield sit naturally in an old sports bra, you just saved $30! I made quite a few and found the best one had medium support, razorback, and made of Nylon Polyester mix.
Post-Partum Body: After my beautiful daughter was out in this world and family was coming to meet her, I received the biggest shock ever what will can I put on? One day I was pregnant and rocking maternity wear and within 24 hours my body was mushy squish and not fitting into anything! What I would tell myself now, don’t worry it just takes time to get put back together again. Your uterus is shrinking and takes 6 months to complete the process!
- TIP! Wear your belly band until you can button your pants, it helps smooth things out and makes you feel compressed and not jiggle!
Sleepless Nights: This was a tough one, getting about 3-5 hours of sleep some nights and then working a full 8 hour day, come home and start all over again, this was just exhausting on so many levels. I felt depleted physically, emotionally, and mentally. What I would tell myself now, transition earlier! I was adamant about waiting until she was almost one to transition her to her crib, I made it to 10 months and then I threw in the towel. Looking back I should have transitioned her at 6 months and would have been okay emotionally and happier physically. I thought too much about a standard I set for myself when I was pregnant and felt unable to waver.
- TIP!: Do what is best for you and your family, be flexible and think about what you need to be the best mother and wife you can possibly be. This may be have daddy take the night shift or change the sleeping arrangements.
Relationship: Hormones raging, exhaustion, and constant anxiety of how to take care of someone besides yourself; equals possibly criticizing and saying things you may regret later. Yes, even a therapist can say things that are viewed as wrong or non-therapeutic. I say this often, I’m a therapist a work but not at home. I have been with my husband for going on 13 years and he knew me way before I was a therapist or a mother. What I would tell myself is, he will parent in a very different way sometimes but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love and wants to protect our child just as much as you do. Remember there were two before there were three and the best way to keep it that way is to stop and think before you say, simply walking away might be the best solution at times. Don’t ignore the problem but address it when both parties are calm and level headed.
- TIP! Schedule some one on one time to be a couple again, this might be take a walk together, go to dinner, or simply put the baby down and watch a movie with popcorn.
My reflection also comes with perspective on how much my priorities have shifted. Prior to my daughter being born, I was a career focused woman, yes I still am but in very different ways. Now, I want my career to be a nice bonus, not a must have, I want to be an example for my daughter to work hard and accomplish any goal she has. I do this now by not bringing work home and being present with my family, speaking up for when I simply need a break and order a pizza, leave the dishes in the sink for one more day so I can play with my daughter, and program the robot vacuum for the third time in a week. I never would have imagined my life would be this way but I also wouldn’t change one thing. I feel fulfilled in many ways, I had time for my career, my marriage, and now motherhood is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
I would love to hear your reflection on motherhood, leave a comment or message me!
The Mind, The Beauty, and The Mommy