Remember all those useless (and scary) warnings you got when you were first pregnant? “Sleep now because you’ll never sleep again!” or “Get the epidural!” These suggestions weren’t helpful and instead, put the fear of G-d in you. What about some advice that’ll make life EASIER for you to jump back to work after having a baby? In this episode, you’re going to learn secrets that many of us Moms didn’t know (but wished we did). You’ll enjoy these tips whether you’re a brand new or an experienced Mom.
This episode is truly a group effort because I’m going to include not just my advice, but the advice of dozens of Moms who offer their best advice on how to balance everything.
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! Subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
G-d Bless New Moms
My kids had an elderly pediatrician. He reminded me of my pediatrician when I was growing up. I was so close to him, it felt like family. I actually invited him to my wedding, and he came.
So when I met Dr. Cohen with my first baby, I was thrilled to have him.
And he was great with advice. Any time I called him in a panic, he would say “G-d bless new Moms.”
He wasn’t being sarcastic. He was saying it out of respect and admiration. We work SO HARD. It’s not easy being a new Mom and he was recognizing it.
Every time things were difficult, I would remind myself “G-d bless new Moms.”
It was such a comfort.
Because it’s not easy in our culture being a new Mom.
I thought I knew what it would be like being a Mom because I babysat a lot. I was used to kids and chaos. I’m also in a family of 4 kids, and one of my siblings is special needs.
So I didn’t think being a Mom was going to be a big deal.
And boy did I have a surprise headed my way.
You’ll Always be Torn
When I was pregnant with my first, I had a co-worker who I was very close to. He was retirement age with lots of grandkids. He loved to dole out advice.
A couple months before I was due, he told me that once I had the baby, I’d always be torn.
I remember clearly telling him “No way.”
It was is no big deal. I’ll have my baby and I’ll be back to work and things will be fine.
He just laughed and said “just wait.”
Oh did he have the last laugh.
Being a New Mom is a Shock
For me at least, becoming a Mom was a shock. I had no idea what to expect.
It was so much harder than I ever thought possible.
How can I shower when the little one needs me constantly?
How can I make dinner when I have to hold her or she’ll cry?
Oh the shock. It wasn’t pretty for me. I hope it was better for you. For me, it was like cold water being thrown on me.
I had no idea.
So let me share with you some advice, not just from me, but from lots of experience Moms in our community, on some things that’ll help you with your new journey.
And also, know that if you’re also in shock at how hard it is, you’re not alone.
Every Mom I know has gone through this. Just remember what Dr. Cohen shares. G-d bless new Moms.
Tip #1: Nap Whenever You Can Because You Just Never Know – Barbara
I know you’ve heard this one before. This is the most common advice given to new Moms.
And if you’re like most new Moms, you ignore this advice.
Don’t ignore it. There’s a reason why this advice is the #1 advice given.
You need your sleep. Without it, everything is harder.
But most of all, you need sleep for your emotional health. Here’s what no one tells you.
As a new Mom, your hormonal balance is already putting you on an emotional roller coaster. Without sleep, you’re more prone to be carried away by this ride.
For me, without sleep I was anxious and depressed. Once I slept, this emotional roller coaster was so much better.
So forget about getting things done. Just rest.
Tip #2: Set Expectations with Your Partner
Leisa from our Facebook group gives the following advice:
“Set the expectation that your partner will be your team mate in taking care of your child and household. If they do things different than the way you would… let it go.
I’ve seen so many friends end up doing 90% of the child care and house chores because they (a) didn’t want to speak up and hold their husbands accountable or (b) thought their way is the only acceptable way.” -Leisa
I think Leisa is very very wise. I wish someone had told me this before I had kids. Sure, you can do this a few years after your kids are born, but if you do it right away, you’ve got an incredible advantage.
I’m going to confess that I didn’t do this.
I was breastfeeding and off work for 6 months so it just made sense (in my perfectionist’s head) that I should do everything for those 6 months.
Boy was this a mistake that took a long time to fix.
I set the expectation essentially that I was a stay-at-home Mom. I did the childcare. I did the household responsibilities. I did just about everything.
So when I went back to work in six months, this routine was already set.
It took a lot of years and honest discussions with my husband to undo.
If from the start you set up expectations (even though you’re home on maternity leave), Leisa is right. You’re going to set yourself up for a much smoother working Mom life.
Tip #3: Keep It Simple
Amber from our Facebook group gives the following advice:
Learn to say no! You don’t have to do everything you see on social media to be a great mom. Sometimes just keeping things simple and spending an hour watching a movie or playing a game with your child is enough. No need to stress just to look good in other people’s eyes. – Amber
I love what Amber advises. So often in our culture we think being a good Mom looks a certain way.
If you’ve ever peeked at Pinterest and typed “themed birthday parties” you’ll know what Amber is talking about.
In my home, my kids are happiest when they’re doing crafts with me. You don’t have to do anything special or spectacular to be a great Mom. Just do you.
Do things you enjoy and your family enjoys. That’s it. Keep it simple and there’s beauty in the simplicity.
Bonus Tip #4: Think Like a Man
This tip is funny but true. Here’s what Jessica says.
I noticed that most dads don’t default to the “I have to do it all” guilt or default responsibility that we do. They haven’t had all of that same social conditioning. Sometimes, when I’m struggling, I try to take on a little more of that carefree approach. My husband is super hands on with our kids, but he doesn’t stress about things like I do at times. – Jessica.
This post got so many likes on it!!
It’s so true. For the most part, the men I know don’t have the social conditioning we have that “they have to do it all.”
You know what, I don’t think my husband even has a Pinterest account. Really. And he seems fine with that.
Last Sunday I asked him what’s on his to-do list and he said it was “delightfully empty.”
We laughed about this the whole day. He doesn’t even have a to-do list, which is why this is so funny.
I have one that’s a mile long.
Let me tell you, after he said this to me, he somehow got a bunch of things to do that day.
But you see, we can learn from our easy-going husbands (or if you’re in a relationship without men, think about your easy-going brothers).
Be more relaxed and carefree.
Be the fun parent.
Let go of that to-do list and just ENJOY the process.
What Will You Do?
I hope you learned a little something from these tips. I didn’t write any of them! It’s all advice from our Facebook community and the women in our community are so wise.
Whether you’re a new Mom or an experienced Mom, which one of these 4 tips are you going to start doing right away?
I think I’m going to go take a nap now.