Motherhood is a journey, not a destination

Motherhood is a journey, not a destination

Philips Mother and Child Division

Mother’s Day – a day to celebrate the mother of the family, motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society, and no matter what anyone one says, mothers are incredible! And whether you are a mother-to-be, a newbie or an old hat at the job – motherhood can be daunting and exhausting one day and totally exhilarating the next.

Far too often, perceptions about motherhood make it seem as if it’s a completely blissful experience. Of course, this is an incredibly joyous time for a family, but the reality is that it can also be scary – and can often include many conflicting emotions for new mothers. Pregnancy and giving birth is just the start of the motherhood journey – it is a long rewarding road with decisions that have to be made at every turn.

For many new moms, a lot of thought and time goes into planning how you are going to raise your little one – anything from whether you are going to breastfeed and if co-sleeping is an option or not, all the way through to the type of education you want and the environment you want to bring your little one up in. And of course, once you get those down pat – there are new considerations and decisions that have to be made. And as a mom, you’re thinking ahead and planning and when you finally think you have made up your mind, you research, ask friends and family for their opinions and plan just a little bit more – it’s just the nature of moms.

However, the funny thing is nothing can really prepare you for the reality that life brings with being a mom. Of course, we have heard the stories of lack of sleep, with new moms complaining about the fact that they feel they are in a constant loop – sleep, feed, burp and nappies.  However, while this may seem light hearted, the fact is that lack of sleep, coupled with mental and physical exhaustion that comes from disturbed sleeping patterns, can have a massive impact on your wellbeing. As a new mom, you must try and adjust, to find a new ‘normal’, as best you can – as your routine will change drastically.

And for those already in the swing of things – as your little one grows, there are new learnings every day.  There is also no doubt no matter where you are in the motherhood journey, you will be receiving lots of advice on how to manage this new path – the important thing to remember is to not be too hard on yourself.  Like anything in life, change takes time to adjust to and settling into a new pattern – and not all things can be planned – but rather need to be managed and understood.

The reality is that you are going to have blissful days with your little one and other days are going to feel like a whirlwind (and you are in the ‘eye of the storm’) – this is completely normal and is no reflection on your abilities as a mom about who you are, and your parenting skills – especially while you are to get a handle on this phase of your life. All too often moms are way too hard on themselves and don’t ask for help, especially when they need it.

So this Mother’s Day here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • You are not a superwoman – nor do you have to be.  If family and friends offer help – take it – take time out, if you are able to – even if just to go shopping or to go to the hair dresser for an hour.
  • Remember, your sleep is just as important as your baby’s. Try and sleep when your child sleeps, especially during the day. This will boost your energy levels when the baby gets up.
  • Try and meet other new moms – as they offer a great support structure.  Things like attending a baby massage class or a baby stimulation class – are not only great for your new born, but give you the opportunity to bond with your little one – while also meeting other new moms who may be going through the same things as you. The same for play dates and school routines – new opportunities to make new friends.
  • What about creating ‘new’ routines – bath and feeding time can still be a fun experience.  For example, why not bath with baby – and afterwards hand them to dad, to change – while you take some time for yourself in the bath and relax after a long day.  Everyone gets to bond with baby and you get some time to yourself. For toddlers and older kids – routines are essential for good eating and sleeping patterns – so enforce these to ensure there is balance.
  • Don’t forget to eat well – and stay well hydrated.  Your body always needs the extra– so don’t neglect your own needs.

There is so much advice on how to handle being a mother and a long list of things to do to get it right, well the truth is you will find your own routine and your own ‘normal’ that works for you.  But do be weary of using things like the internet as a platform to get advice from – parenting is not a copy and paste experience and surely all kids are not born identical. Too often perceptions are not the reality. Rather trust your instincts and give yourself time to adjust to the different stages of motherhood – it’s not something that happens overnight. Just do your best – you’re a superhero anyway. Happy Mother’s Day!

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