By Kendra Beckley
Motherhood is an exciting time. You may have carefully planned out your maternity leave, read all the parenting books and attended the parenting classes. Yet, once your beautiful baby arrives, there’s still a good chance there’ll be a few surprises in store. Here are 10 things you may not know about the realities of motherhood.
- No Time To Yourself
Your working day will start the moment your baby wakes up until they have gone to bed. You’ll probably spend nap times getting through chores or baby-orientated tasks. Suddenly, a shower will seem like a luxurious moment of ‘me time’, so make sure you enjoy it!
But the most important thing for you is to learn to take breaks. Fighting the exhaustion can make you even more tired. Sleep when you have to, so that you’re well-rested for your child.
Plus, understand that this is only a phase. Learn to enjoy it. You can even order yourself a pizza every once in a while, to treat yourself – That may not seem like much, but it’s still grace.
- New Priorities
You probably expect that some priorities will inevitably change once your little one arrives. However, you might be surprised by just how much they change. Your planned return to work might suddenly seem too soon and things which you thought were previously really important, might not be so anymore.
While you can’t expect your toddler to help you around the house, you can still change up how you tend to new priorities. (Besides, toddlers might want to observe you do chores, and may want to join you. Who knows?) Once you two are done, you can give them a high five for “helping” you.
You can also consider scaling back on certain chores. If you see that something is great the way it is (i.e. mopping the floors, scrubbing the tub, etc.), then cut back from doing those things, in favor of focusing more on necessary things like washing dishes, doing laundry, etc.
- Losing Baby Weight Takes Time
Your body will have undergone a massive change during your pregnancy. Losing the baby weight takes time. Rather than putting pressure on yourself, focus on eating well and trying to get some gentle exercise each day, even if it’s only a walk around the block with your stroller. Be realistic with your expectations and patient with yourself and your body.
In addition, you can take up exercising. In fact, you don’t have to wait until your child is walking and talking to get started with following an exercise routine. Here are some effective exercises to take up, while caring for your little one(s):
- Using exercise balls and bands
- Dance workouts (i.e. Zumba)
- Constant Exhaustion
For the first year of your baby’s life you’ll feel permanently exhausted. At first, your baby will wake up every few hours for a feed and won’t have any notion of day or night. When they begin to settle into some sort of sleep routine, it may suddenly be disrupted by a growth spurt, teething or illness. Despite all of that, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish on such limited sleep.
Therefore, your best bet is to create an effective sleeping schedule. By establishing a schedule, your child will naturally sense your waking patterns, even if they don’t catch on at first. Even if you have to fall asleep with your child at night, you’ll be doing yourself plenty of good, especially when it comes time to tend to them whenever they awake.
- Breastfeeding Can Be Very Challenging
For some new moms, breastfeeding can come very easily, but for others it can be a real challenge and lead to anxiety. If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, you can always express milk for your baby or opt for formula. Whichever option you choose, remember that it’s okay.
- Every Baby Is Different
Much of your mothering experience will ultimately be the result of trial and error. Every baby is different, so you’ll need to experiment and find what works best for you and your little one. You will inevitably make mistakes, but you’ll be able to learn from those which is what matters most.
Plus, it’s okay to say “no.” Even when children will eventually learn to use the word “no,” so should you. It’s important to say “no” without apology or explanation, because that shows the child that you’re in control.
- Your Relationship Will Change
You’ll will need to find a new balance together as a couple and learn to adapt to your new roles as parents. It may take a few months before you’re able to devote some quality time to your relationship again. Hormones can also play havoc with your emotions, as can the lack of sleep. Just remember to keep talking to each other and try to share the parental responsibilities.
- You’ll Become An Expert
You’ll start to google nearly everything you can, from a sudden rash to different colored poop. On the other hand, you’ll soon become an expert on all child-related emergencies, from childhood illness, to essential first aid, to learning how to open over-secure toy packages.
Also, you can reach out to mom communities to help other new moms handle their situations when it comes to their bundle of joy. It’s wonderful to make a pact with other moms to schedule playdates, be each other’s emotional support, etc. – being a Mommy expert!
- Leaving The House Will Take Preparation
Leaving the house will take planning and become an expedition. Unless you’re planning to make a full trip out of it, going to the shops may become a chore you delegate to your partner instead. So, why not make it a family thing? It’s always more fun to be with baby than be alone at the grocery store.
- Maternity Leave Will Fly By
Your maternity leave will be spent trying to get as much rest as possible, fitting a shower somewhere into your day and looking after your baby and their needs. Don’t over plan or put pressure on yourself to do or achieve more than adjusting to life as a new mom during your maternity leave.
Instead, remember that you’re doing your best, even when things may seem challenging. Your kids should make you happy, with your love having no limits.
Motherhood is a life changing event. There will be challenging moments, but these will be outweighed by the moments of sheer joy and happiness. Despite all the changes along the way, you’ll be amazed at just how much you love your baby. That alone will make everything else well worth it.
Kendra Beckley is a successful business development manager and editor at PhD Kingdom. She specializes in supporting companies as they seek to enter new business markets and is especially successful at building long-term relationships with partners. Kendra also enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics. A mother herself, Kendra enjoys sharing her experiences and meeting new moms.