You have just experienced the joy of pregnancy and birth … now what?
You are now at home with this precious little bundle of joy, sleep deprived, dazed and wondering how on earth you are going to get on top of everything else that needs doing.
Babies, unfortunately, do not come with an instruction manual and motherhood is largely a series of trials and errors until you find the right formula.
It is perfectly normal, and OK, to be feeling like an emotional, blubbering zombie during the first few weeks until you and your baby get used to this new life. Once you break out of this daze, there is a whole new world of motherhood to love and enjoy.
Here are some simple ways of breaking out of the mummy daze …
Look after yourself
Life with a newborn is a demanding period, and it is paramount to also look after yourself. Exercise, a balanced diet and proper rest is essential to the mix of good health. The sooner you get this balance right, you will feel great and you will manage to find that now somewhat elusive energy to take on the day. When you feel good on the inside, it radiates on the outside and the little things do not appear to be so bothersome anymore.
Relax and enjoy your time with your newborn
This one sounds like a given, but if you are having a particularly difficult time and/or baby, it may seem like a stretch to actually ‘enjoy’ this period of settling in. If you are having a tough day, for instance, ask your partner or relative to look after bub for a little while, and take some time out just for yourself. Having the time to relax and rewind helps you feel better and then come back with a whole new perspective. Remember that this period only lasts a short while, and then they are no longer babies. Enjoy the little time you do have together and cherish them being so small.
It is inevitable that your relationship will also go through some changes after the birth of a baby, and taking the time out to reconnect with your partner will do a world of good. You are now both a parenting duo in this funny thing called a family, and you both need to be on the same page on a whole range of things. Take the time to be a couple again – enjoy each other’s company, have some fun and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Time out with your partner will also help you get out of the ‘mummy rut’ and feeling like a woman again. A happy and well-balanced relationship with your other half is also important, and encourages you to be the best parent you can be.
Do not be afraid to ask for help
These days, we are fortunate enough to have a wide range of services available for new parents and families. Do not be afraid to ask for help when you really need it. Many are fortunate to have close family and relatives at their disposal as well. Just remember that you are not alone, and there is always someone who is more than happy to help out in any way possible. It is not always possible to take on everything yourself, and no one will judge your skills as a mother if you do ask for some help.
Let go of the little things
Start getting into the routine of letting go of the smaller things. As nice as it is to have a spotless house and all errands ticked off the list, some days you may struggle getting half of that done. There will be hiccups to the routine along the way – that is the fact of parenthood … not every plan comes to fruition and you will need to have an alternate plan. Focus on what is most important and learn to be accepting of leaving some things for another day. Newborns will not stay little for long, and before you know it you will be creating and mastering new routines like a pro.
One of the most important things I learned as a mum was to be prepared and organised. If you are planning on going somewhere, pack the night before so you are not in a mad dash and forgetting essentials minutes before you intend to leave. Organisational skills attempts to bring some normalcy and predictability to life with a newborn. You will quickly learn how to be an efficient parent.
Just remember: great mothers are made, not born
In your dazed state, you may begin to wonder if you are doing the whole ‘perfect mother’ gig correctly…the reality is, there is no such thing as a perfect mother and there are no magical trees where these mothers grow on. Being a great mother is a learned skill and comes with a lot of patience, love, honesty, care, compromise and sacrifice … if you have managed to keep your baby safe, nourished and even mustered those loving glances amongst the tears, then you have done a fine job of being a wonderful mother … the journey only gets better from now on and you have the rest of your life of being a great mother, best friend and mentor … so enjoy!
“Do not trade your birthright as a mother for some bauble of passing value … the baby you hold in your arms will grow quickly as the sunrise and the sunset of the rushing days” – Gordon B Hinckley
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