I’ve decided to join Marcy from Ben and Me on her journey of blogging through the alphabet. Every Monday, from A until Z, I hope to be linking up with her. Make sure that you check out the whole link up party every week because there are going to be many other great posts to check out.
Though I may not be the most experienced mother out there, I have met incredible mothers on the tail end of the journey and, through their insights, I do believe I have discovered a secret to mothering: it’s all about a person’s attitude towards mothering. Some believe that children should be seen and not heard, and they are completely shocked when their baby cries. Some believe that all babies should respond the same way to the same thing, and they are shocked when their baby turns out different than their friends’ babies. Some believe that all babies should be doing this or that by a specific age and they are proud when their baby is “ahead” or ashamed when their baby is “behind.”
Isn’t it interesting that we understand that every adult is different and has different skills, interests, and gifts, yet we expect all our children to fit into a specific mold? We have some ridiculous expectations of our children and babies and, to be honest, it can get very stressful when you try to meet all of them.
Here are some universal truths about babies and becoming a mother:
1. Your baby will need you and you are capable of meeting those needs (even if sometimes it feels like they need more than you can give).
2. Your baby will learn how to walk…. eventually.
3. Your baby will learn to sleep longer stretches….. eventually. Have you ever met a teenager who doesn’t like his/her sleep?
4. Your baby will learn to speak…..eventually. Some babies are more vocal than others and some are less. Much like some adults are more vocal than others and some are less.
5. Your baby will cry. (See point #4)
6. Your baby will be out of diapers…. eventually.
7. Your baby will get sick. A cold or fever isn’t the end of the world.
8. You will be tired. Recognize this fact and realize that, as much as it sucks, fatigue is not the end of the world. You are not entitled to 8 solid hours of sleep per night. You will impress yourself with how many years you can not only survive but learn to thrive off of interrupted sleep.
Get rid of preconceived notions about what your baby (or toddler, preschooler, school aged child, etc) should be doing. Relax and just go with the flow. Stop comparing to books and charts and, especially, to other babies you know. Your baby is unique and will therefore choose his/her own unique growth and development curve. The only one that your baby should be compared to is him/herself. Is progress being made? Why or why not?
Make the decision that when you hit a rough patch, it isn’t because your baby is broken or you are incapable of caring for him/her. It is because there are ups and downs in everyone’s life, including your baby’s.
Good news for when you’re in a rough patch: This is a phase, this too shall pass.
Bad news for when things are flowing smoothly: This is a phase, this too shall pass.
The biggest challenge is to develop an attitude towards mothering that will see you through all the highs and lows.
Step 1: Commit. You’re in for the long haul so you can either choose to be miserable for the long haul or choose to appreciate the beauty that comes with this wonderful privilege of mothering.
Step 2: Listen to your Baby. I’m not advocating that you ignore medical advice, or even advice from well meaning loved ones, but I am advocating that you listen to your child first and foremost. The more you listen to your mother’s intuition from the beginning, the more you’ll be able to discern whether someone’s advice applies to you and your situation.
Step 3: Seek encouragement. Find a friend, or group of friends, who will encourage you to listen to your baby instead of to them. Keep in mind that encouragement and advice are two very different things. Most moms already know what they should be doing and just need to be encouraged to do it.
There’s a simple 3 step plan to developing an attitude towards mothering that will put you on a significantly smoother path than comparisons and unrealistic expectations will.
What is one of the biggest preconceived notions that you have had to let go of since becoming a mother?
Make sure you don’t miss any posts in this series by subscribing to my weekly blog newsletter!