I couldn’t think of the cheese equivalent to this post. Lo siento.
Traveling through Europe was intoxicating (literally and figuratively), exhausting, and wonderful all mixed into one. I’ve mentioned it in this post before, but Italy had the most wonderful towns I have ever been to. With that being said, the countryside was just as a awe-inspiring. Vineyards, rolling hills, old stucco buildings, tiny vespas, beautiful sunsets all, big flappy hats, and my family.
As I’ve stated, I recognized this money maker isn’t exactly cashing out, but I don’t think it’s entirely terrible. Growing up my sisters would remind me that I was the least attractive sister (Okay, not all of them, just one. I won’t name names, because Megan might be upset about what a little shit she was). Anywho, I’ve obviously gotten past my childhood terrors and realized only I can truly make myself feel good or bad. For me, that is keeping myself on track mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Now that I’m a mom, I really realize the toll that not taking care of yourself can take. I, now, definitely keep Dove Dry Shampoo on the market. It makes me think of that quote, “How can you light anyone else’s candle, if yours is blown out?” For me, taking the time to work out, do my nails, put some makeup on, pluck my eyebrows, give myself a mini facial all help me keep my sanity. To all my little mama and papas out there, you have to remember to take care of yourself and your other relationships.
Part of the thrills of being a new parent are the exciting sleepless nights, the sudden bouts of vomit or “blow outs” that I learned was the loving term daycare used to describe extreme shit balls in my son’s pants. I don’t blame them, how else are they suppose to tell you that your child pooped so much, it would crawl out their diapers, soil their pants, their shirts, their socks, their shoes, their neighbors diaper, your great grandmothers favorite handkerchief, your Sunday’s best, and your dog? I digress. These thrills that no one addresses to new and expecting parents can come as a shock. I remember, my first day home from the hospital, everyone gathered around excited to be with the new baby. I laid my son down for a nap, got into bad and passed out, on top of the sheets, clothes all still on and woke up with milk coming out of my boob.
No one tells you how big and hard your boobs get either. WHY DOES NO ONE WARN US? Another side bar I want to add on to this point, breast feeding is hard, but you’re doing great.
So, back to my main point. While your mixed up in poo, covered in spit up, barely getting by without flashing someone, or washing bottles, you forget to take care of yourself. This step is vital, mamas. The pressure to fit back into your jeans, or have your hair brushed, while still cooking meals, and cleaning, and not crying in your shower all still exists, but no one tells you the steps to take to make this happen. All we hear are the critics. We often let the easy offers of help fall on deaf ears.
So, I implore you mothers and fathers – say yes. If someone asks to watch your baby while you shower, say yes. If someone offers to cook you dinner, say yes. There was no better moment in my early parenting days as when 1) my mom stayed the night one night and woke up with Mateo twice in the night and fed him milk I had pumped so he could sleep and 2) when my sister came over to watch Mateo and folded laundry and washed bottles while I napped. It’s not always family. I had wonderful friends come and bring food and love and some outstanding coworkers who ordered me takeout or brought over home cooked meals. All acts of God in my opinion. Say yes. Say yes. Say yes. You are not a less than mother or father for accepting people’s help.
Don’t create a cycle of resentment for people who offer to help, but not in ways you feel comfortable. For me, I knew I’d get sad if I wasn’t the one to put my son down for sleep (irrational I know, but tell that to my hormones), so if someone offered help, I’d ask for something I felt comfortable with. “Thank you for offering to breastfeed my baby, but go ahead and leave my damn house, just order Pizza Hut on your way out. Ciao.”
The strategy of comparing ourselves to others is unrealistic. I’m going to tell you an honest story. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I followed a lady on Instagram who was about three weeks further along in her pregnancy than me. She kept me motivated to work out, because she always was. Then, I followed her journey postpartum, until about week 3 of Mateo’s life. I was laying on the couch around 3 AM, holding Mateo up while he breastfed. As my arm started to fall asleep, I began to scroll through Instagram so I wouldn’t drift into slumber. This is where I stumbled upon this lady’s most recent post. She mentioned how her newest baby was already sleeping through the night, etc, etc. DELETED. I mention this story to let you all know, it’s okay to be petty. If you are able to not be jealous of this lady, more power to you. I wanted her goddess like strength to make her newborn sleep through the night, but honestly I should have recognized… not all babies are the same. While her’s (maybe – I still doubt it) was sleeping through the night, maybe he wasn’t as good at eating as mine. That’s basically all they do at that age, so there wasn’t much to go off of, but you get the point. Comparison is the root of all evil.
Just try your best mamas. I say all of this in the hopes that you recognize you don’t have to be other people, you don’t have to live their dreams or lives or be what they think they should be. When I put on a little make up, squeeze in a thirty minute workout, successfully handle my career and pick my son up from daycare on time – that’s a win. Often, I can get him to eat some fruits and veggies, while I sneak cheesecake from the kitchen, and get him to look at a book or two and I consider myself Queen of the castle. Although, if I’m being honest, he’s been watching more TV since we traveled. Coco, Cars, Secret Life of Pets are constantly asked for, but we do our best to distract him, sometimes we roll with it and squeeze in a nap. Just do you.
Here is a list of some helpful hints I have found useful on this journey through motherhood.
- As mentioned above, accept the help. Whether its your mom, husband, baby daddy, mother in law, siblings, say yes.
- Remember you are a mother, but you’re also a friend, sibling, daughter, lover.
- Your child will learn from you, remember to be their role model, not their follower.
- People are going to have opinions on how you should parent. Accept what you want, and screw everything else. You’re the parent. Repeat and rinse.
- The dishes won’t clean themselves, but maybe your sibling will. A messy house is not the end all. Do what you can, but still enjoy your baby while they are blobs.
- Physical health is important and can also be a release for you. Take 30 minutes to go on a walk with you babe or have your significant other watch them, while you get yourself some active points.
- By all means, go out. You will miss your baby, for sure, but you will miss being your own person too. See a concert, movie, game night – take your escape.
8. If you want a glass of wine, drink a glass of wine. Follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to drinking though.
9. Certain things are important to each individual, but the time can be cut down on for other more important things. For me, formalizing a makeup look that was easy and cute was important to me. Now, I change the eye color or lip color for my mood, because ya know this lady can be a bad ass bish and want some red or some pink because I’m seeing Jesus.
10. Recognize your stresses aren’t going to be that big of a deal. For me, I had an irrational fear that FOR SURE Mateo was going to have his sleep patterned reversed unless I followed every rule to make sure he knew when it was bedtime versus daytime. So, Pam and Jim from the Office, you did this to me. Thank you for my family for allowing my crazy to reign.
11. Swaddle, girl, swaddle. For me, my son was about 2 months old when we met a stranger who recommended a sleep book to us, because his baby was sleeping well through the night at 6 weeks in. After wanting to punch him, I read the book. Basically, swaddle your baby, turn them on their belly in your arms and rock them while shushing in their ear. Weird, but yasss.
12. There are mommy groups everywhere, find a community – especially if you don’t have one already. I freaked out when I found a friend with a baby. I kept calling her my mommy friend and then she never spoke to me again.
13. Pray and ask for advice. You know some other mothers, they know a bit about keeping a baby alive
14. Know that babies are resilient. You can do this.
15. Remember that it is okay to take your baby out to do things you want to do. You don’t have to focus your life around what your child would want to do. They came into your life and exposure to a whole spectrum of events will be good for them. I wanted to go to a Women’s march when my son was born, so he came with me. Also on the other spectrum, there was a Beyonce’ drag show I wanted to go to, guess who was in the front row with me?
PHYSICAL ADVICE SECTION – MEN BEWARE
16. Coconut oil on errrthing. Especially if you are breastfeeding, put it on your nips. It helps keep them moisturized, because you do not want those babies cracking.
17. Put witch hazel on a pad, put that in a freezer. You’ll know when to use that.
18. Use a tummy wrap after giving birth. I used this one, and it saved me. The nurse in the hospital even complimented me on how my belly looked the day after giving birth.
19. I didn’t use the pads in my bra, but oh boy I wish I did. Use the pads.
20. Don’t have sex until you are ready. Its your body and it just did a lot of heavy lifting. This isn’t just a physical act, but a mental one. Give yourself time to be ready.