A common thread throughout my moms groups is the complaint that the new moms either don't feel like themselves, or they are not the mom they thought they would be.
As a new mom, it is common to feel overwhelmed, frumpy and tired. To not get anything done and not get any sleep.
They are wondering how these supposedly "super moms" do it. The moms that are dressed in heels and make up, nails done and make up almost professionally applied. Their houses are spotless and they always have time to play with their kids.
I have been doing this mom thing for 20 odd years and have seen a few things and learned a few things. I now bequeath you with some of my most valuable lessons...
- Stop comparing yourself to other moms. They may look like they have it all together but they also probably are lacking in areas you are not. Like they have no soul or something. Ooh or they are closet vampires. Hey if you had an infinite amount of time/ didn't need sleep, and didn't sweat, you would look perfect all the time too! But seriously. No one is perfect, they just have different priorities. Not the wrong priorities, just different. Oh and probably have housekeepers or nannies.
- Always get dressed like you are going to at least a casual office. Jeans that fit and a unstained, unripped t-shirt is fine, but do your hair and brush your teeth for heavens sake. Even if it means that you get up a few minutes earlier (were you REALLY gonna get that sleep anyways?) or you have the baby playing on the bathroom floor with tampons (they are nontoxic, right?) Many women are under the impression that staying at home with your baby means you are not working, but we all know ( and will shout it out loud) that this is not the case, so why do you dress like it is? You deserve a good fitting pair of jeans. Not expensive, just well fitting. One that doesn't give you Grama butt.Also, if you haven't noticed, the way you dress affects your attitude. It also sends a message. If you want to get anything done, you need to dress like you want to get things done. If you want respect as a stay at home mom, then dress like it is your job!
- Be organised. Plan your week in advance. Your week should have 3 key elements: Time with the kids, time with your partner and time for your self. Plan it at the beginning of the week. Be creative, time to yourself can be a bath after the kids go to bed. Time with your partner can be sitting and staring at the wall while holding hands on the couch. Doesn't matter what you do as long as you do it. But be flexible. If baby usually goes to sleep at 7:30 and one night she takes 45 extra minutes, don't scrap your plans. Just do it as soon as she is down.
- Make a list for the day. You don't have to finish it but at least write it down so you have something to refocus you when you get a minute or 2. I like to break it down into 5 minute (or less) jobs. For example instead of clean the kitchen, I have: wipe the stove, wipe the counter, sweep the floor, throw out trash....ect. Even better, you can have the same list for everyday of the week. Mondays is vacuuming, Tuesday is laundry and so on. Do the things that most need doing first.
- Get up at the same time of day, and go to bed at the same time. Surprisingly this works! Your body releases melatonin at the same time everyday, if you are in bed during that time, you will get the optimal quality of sleep. Also, eat your meals at the same time everyday. This has no scientific reason except that you will not miss meals and develop a daily routine for yourself and your baby. Oh and drink water with every meal!
- Don't worry about going to the gym, just get out there and play with your kids!! Wear your baby and dance for half an hour. Race your preschooler up and down the stairs. Do the hokee pokee! Swing, climb and have fun! Not only will you be exercising but you will be laughing and that keeps you young.
- Get some Mom friends. Ones you can trade babysitting with. When my older kids were little, I had 2 best friends that I hung out with all the time. We had a weekly schedule and traded babysitting so we could go to the store, doctor, spa without kidlets. If you don't know anyone in your area, there are TONS of facebooks groups dedicated to this! If you can't find a local one, then start one! There are also companies popping up that provide workshops, playgroups, events and such to Moms.
Last of all.... Don't beat yourself up if you can't do it all, your kids love you for you, not the supermom you feel you need to be! To them, you are beautiful, smart and AWESOME! Do what you can and forget the rest!