My adventures in motherhood began in May of 2003. That month, I cleared out my desk at work after 12 years; sold one home and moved into another; and gave birth to a beautiful 5 lb. 11-oz. baby boy. Time seemed to stand still those precious few days in the hospital bonding with my husband and this amazing little life we created. It was beautiful ... and easy … for a time.
But soon came the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and around-the-clock feedings, and it wasn’t long before I realized that my idea of motherhood was vastly different than the daily reality of it. Like many, I had romanticized the idea of being a stay-at-home mom.
I thought I’d be blissfully happy all the time, motherly “glow” and all. I envisioned cooking gourmet meals and keeping an immaculate house. I imagined time for new hobbies and coffee with old friends. And this little bundle of joy would bring me and my husband closer than ever, giving our marriage just the shot of energy it needed.
A Rude Awakening
Reality soon set in, and I learned the meaning of the “baby blues.” With my husband back at work, I felt isolated at home most days with little time for myself, let alone others. I quickly found that my sweet baby boy had a mind of his own and lungs to go with it, and colic to boot. I came to appreciate in a whole new way a hot shower, my own physical space, and the sweet sound of silence, all of which were hard to come by in those days.
While my marriage was strong and my husband supportive, having a baby and another one 20 months later (a baby AND a toddler!) gave us less time together as a couple and introduced new challenges as we had to grapple with shared household responsibilities and parenting decisions.
Honestly, I felt a little let down. Although I loved my children dearly, motherhood was not turning out to be all it was cracked up to be. And I felt like I was failing at it miserably because my experience did not match how it looked in the movies, books and, seemingly, everyone else’s lives. Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard this was going to be? Was I the only one feeling this way? Did this make me a bad mom?
Reaching Out for Support
My lifeline during those early days was Ministry of Mothers Sharing, a support group for mothers at my church. Once a week, I met with other moms to talk about the joys and challenges of motherhood. It was a safe place to express my feelings and to share my troubles and triumphs. It was such a relief to know that I was not alone in the struggle and that even moms who love their children and work hard at mothering well can feel exasperated and overwhelmed at times.
Now, 15 years later with some life experience, a certification in parenting and working as a licensed marriage and family therapy associate, I know for sure that being a mom – or a dad – is some of the most challenging and rewarding work of our lives! I believe as our children grow, we grow right along with them, if we allow ourselves to. New moms you are not alone and here are some tips to help you through.
5 Tips for New Moms (& More Seasoned Ones Too)
A wife, mother, therapist and parent educator, I believe in the dignity of every person and resilience of the human spirit. I am compassion focused and God centered with a deep appreciation for the connectedness of all living things.