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Dear Mothers of Newborns, and Babies and Maybe Even Toddlers-
When I look back at my 26 years of parenting I have a few regrets. Not regrets that keep me up at night, but things I would do differently if I could do it all over again. I wrote a post about it here and I have more to say so here we go.
Please stop putting pressure on yourself to “get back to normal” as soon as possible. Don’t try to keep up with the crazy pressure today (more than I ever had) to be in shape and thin and exercising and fitting into all your clothes. For God’s sake alive, avoid Instagram with all those moms with a photo of a baby in and then a baby out like 1 week later and they look like they never had one. Ridiculous and highly suspicious. (I never ever lost my baby weight when I was nursing and sometimes I actually gained the weight right back because I craved carbs. I never felt like exercising when I was pregnant or nursing.) It’s okay to put that on the back burner and it’s no stinkin’ contest, that contest comes at a cost and is pretty darn shallow. One day you will look back and think who the hell cares, look how cute I was with that cutest ever baby who now has hairy legs and a deep voice and is never home.
Don’t, if you can avoid it at all costs, even if it means a major lifestyle change, put pressure on yourself to get back to work when your heart is telling you something else. Everyone who looks like they can handle it easily and it’s not a big deal is lying or pretending, or has major major help behind the scenes. Spread it out-life is about seasons and phases and life if you are lucky is long.
Please don’t put pressure on yourself to attend events, any events, or classes, or groups, ever, if you are not comfortable attending without your baby, or with your baby because you are nursing, or if it will throw off your very hard work to establish any semblance of a schedule that makes you sane, or will tire you out to much. Or just because you don’t want to. There will be so many easier years. So many.
And finally, give yourself a great big break. You grew a human person inside you and now you have to keep that human person alive and he or she is completely dependent on you for staying alive around the clock. That is a TON of work. And responsibility.
When old people like me say “Oh just enjoy it” don’t get mad at us. We are smarter than you and know better. What we are saying is stop being stressed out by keeping up with the crazy pace of today’s world or by silly things that mean nothing in the end. Nothing! Stop trying to do so much and stop thinking you have to do this and that and having a million places to be and and a million things to do. STOP and adjust and shuffle your life around to make space for this wonderful thing called motherhood. Stop and make space so you can enjoy it!