Mother to Mother - Keeping it Real
Who Loves YOU?
Your baby, of course.
Your partner, of course. Your friends... Of course!
How about you?
Do you love yourself?
Most of us do, but probably not all the time.
Maybe not even most of the time. Having a baby can exacerbate this lack of self love. Somehow, that little being brings out your worst: your impatience, your sadness, your anger, your low self esteem, your GUILT!
You fall into the comparison trap.
You see other mothers at their best. You watch TV shows and movies with "Mom Impersonators". Screen writers condemn and make fun of your very worst moments while highlighting the Instagram Moments. You start to think "That's how life really is".
You start to think there is something wrong with you.
Like when your baby cries and you can't soothe him? You start to think you have no milk, because your baby fusses at your breast, or because your breasts are small. You get anxious when your partner is due home, because you are still in your pajamas, breakfast is still uneaten on the table, and dinner is some sort of dim oasis, far on the horizon.
On days like this, you just want your mommy.
Not just any mommy... but June Cleaver, Mother Theresa and Aunt Jemima rolled into one. Someone who will Take Over, GET ALL THOSE THINGS DONE, and hold you while you cry.
Honey... I got news for you.
She's not coming. She doesn't exist and never has. If she ever did exist, she had staff doing her house work and probably drank to smooth the sharp edges of motherhood out of her mind.
So what is possible when you are miserable?
A dose of acceptance. A little, or a lot of, "letting go." Making some new friends who understand where you are at, and how it is with a new baby. Some taking care of your needs and putting yourself first, at least some times.
Most importantly, you have to ask for help.
People want to help you. They really do. See all those gifts, cards, emails, likes, phone messages, and texts? That is because they want to help. They want you to feel proud of yourself, because they are proud of you. They want you to feel good about being a mother.
Your job is to get over this mistaken belief that you have to do it all yourself.
It's not easy. Help doesn't always come in the right sizes, shapes and colors. Sometimes it comes with strings attached. Or guilt. Sometimes it's like a bag of hand-me-downs. You have to sort through it and take what works for you.
Sometimes, you have to be REAL specific about what you want
....with your mother...who didn't raise you, the way you are raising your baby. It's part of growing up and you can learn how to do it. She may grumble, or criticize (Painful!) but stick to what you want and she'll come around. Probably.
It really does take a village to raise a child.
And here we all are, in our little nuclear families with the two jobs, the big house and the big lawn and so much work to do on top of raising a baby. Something's got to give, and the easiest thing to go is your pride. Not your pride in yourself. That's important, but your pride in denying yourself a community that loves and supports you and your little family. Start small, say yes when people offer, and watch that community grow!
"Look what we made, Baby! We made a community... and they LOVE us!"