You can never stop learning to be a better mom and parent! I believe that it is one of those things that will always be a work in progress. I have been a mom for six years and, I still come across some things that I believe would have made the transition to motherhood a little bit more pleasant had I known about them before becoming a mom. My planning would have been a little better, you know! Anyway, I took these words by Maya Angelou to heart – Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. Here are the 5 things I wish I knew before being a mom.
You might feel a sense of loss of who you are as a woman.
I knew nothing about the mom identity crisis until I sat down on my couch one day and Googled, losing myself in motherhood. That is what a mom identity crisis is – a sense of loss of who you are as a woman and individual; as a result of being a mom. I did lose myself in motherhood. I felt so displaced and badly wanted to feel like myself again. The longing to get back to pursuing my passions was great, but at that time, I could not see how I could do that and still show up fully as a mother. It is not unusual for motherhood and parenting to feel like an all-consuming endeavor. Yet, your entire life should not revolve around your role as a mom. Motherhood is not an exchange your whole life to handle motherhood type of a deal. Laura Vanderkam said you do not become a better parent by not enjoying your life.
The challenges that you face are common to other moms too.
I do not wish for any mom to struggle with motherhood in any way, however, had I known that what I was going through was common amongst new moms. I believe that my anxiety levels were going to be less. Moreover, I would have lowered the expectations that I had of myself. I questioned why I felt so tired most of the time and even labeled myself lazy because I took a long time to complete tasks like cleaning the house and making meals. Sometimes I wanted to be alone, away from my daughter and, this made me feel so guilty. Had I known that another mom out there shared the same struggle as myself, I would have not been ashamed to speak up and share my challenges. I kept quiet in shame! Do not be like me; you are not the only one. Speak to other moms and find your tribe, do not just be alone in isolation. There is somebody out there who has gone through what you are going through. You are not alone!
You will need and should get help.
I thought that I had to do it all as a mom. (I don’t know who standards I was trying to live up to). The fact that you carry the baby doesn’t mean that the responsibility to raise and care for the child is yours alone; it does take a village! Ask for help! Do not let other people taint your desires. I had people in my life who questioned things as simple as why we bought a washing machine, why we got a helper and, why we decided to take our daughter to school at one year 12 months. The truth is that you will need help, and you cannot do it by yourself. Therefore quit thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness or inadequacy. Stop feeling guilty about it and accept the assistance that people offer.
Self-care is essential to parenting.
I cannot emphasize enough how important self-care is to parenting. It allows for you to serve your kids, your family, at your job, and better serve your clients if your mom-boss. I believe that knowing about self-care before becoming a mother would have helped me with my identity crisis. Lala Delia said self-care is how you take your power back. I love this! In my early stages of being a mom, I did feel helpless and powerless. Prioritize self-care to refuel. Motherhood is a big responsibility and requires a lot from us, and, as a result, we need to prioritize taking care of ourselves holistically as moms. Self-care allows you to serve those you care about better.
If you have too much time in the performance zone, you need more time in the recovery zone. The value of recovery rises in proportion to the amount of work required of us. – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Your relationship with your partner will change.
I expected my relationship with my husband to remain the same when we became parents. I had envisioned teamwork and smooth sailing. The truth is that motherhood does affect your relationship and, you need to be more intentional about prioritizing each other. I believe date nights should be a thing. Asking for help comes in here; get a sitter, ask your parents or your friends so that you can be able to take time out with your spouse or see if you can meet up with your spouse at lunchtime while your kids are at school so you can have that quiet time to yourselves. Allow your relationship to evolve.
I know that nothing can truly ever prepare you for motherhood. It is one of those experiences that you have to go through yourself; to be able to navigate it. However, I still believe that knowing these things and having people share their own experiences can be a great help. These are the 5 things I wish I knew before being a mom; what do you wish you knew before having your kids? Please do share with me.