Becoming a mom is an incredible and life-changing experience. Even when you've spent months preparing for this new role, the reality of it can still be overwhelming. It's normal to feel like you're on a never-ending roller coaster ride, but there are things that you can do to make the transition smoother.
Here, we'll discuss how to adjust to the new role of motherhood – from preparing for your baby's arrival and understanding your responsibilities as a mom, to dealing with postpartum depression and learning how to balance your time between parenting and self-care.
Reframing the Expectation of Being a Mom
As a new mom, one of the most important things you can do is to lower your expectations about what life looks like for you and embrace the chaos. Even if you have it all together on the outside, inside your mind is likely to be a whirlwind of emotion and thoughts. That’s completely natural!
Remember, there’s no “right” way to do motherhood; the only person you need to compare yourself to is you. Remind yourself that babies are unpredictable—they don’t sleep when they should, they don't go down easily for naps, feedings can take longer than expected. Be kind to yourself during this process and remember that it's okay if things don't go as planned.
By being a little gentler with yourself as you adjust to your new role, you will be able to more fully accept and enjoy all the joys that come with being a mom—even on days when it's hard.
Establishing a Good Support System
Having someone to talk to is invaluable when you're navigating this new phase of life. It's important for you to have people in your corner who will listen and understand as you figure this whole thing out. Talk to family members, friends, or join a support group online or in-person—whatever works best for you!
Additionally, having a trustworthy partner is essential. Whether your partner is the infant’s parent or not, make sure they understand their role and they don't forget the importance of their relationship with you; communication is key!
Creating a Practical Plan
Now that you've realized the new realities of motherhood, it's time to think about how to make it work—practically. You can do this by creating a plan for yourself.
It's important for new mothers to prioritize their time, and ensure that they are getting enough rest—or self-care activities—before tackling anything else. Try breaking down your day into time slots and assigning tasks or activities to each slot.
Finally, don't forget to schedule some fun activities! Being a mom doesn't mean that you can't enjoy yourself. Exercise together, go out with friends, or have date nights at home if going out isn't your thing — there are plenty of options available.
If you're having trouble getting into a rhythm after giving birth, try keeping a planner handy as a way of keeping track of what needs doing each day so you don't end up feeling overwhelmed or out of balance. Make sure that whatever plan you come up with is easily customizable and doesn't leave little room for deviations — schedules always change!
Learning to Juggle Responsibilities
One of the most important things you need to remember is that it's okay to not get everything done. Be realistic with yourself and try not to take on too much more than you can handle.
- Make lists: Create simple checklists for daily tasks or use a project-management app for bigger projects like planning your child’s birthday party or preparing for an upcoming move.
- Prioritize tasks: Take some time to prioritize your tasks by importance and urgency. This way, you will know which tasks are most important and need your attention first before moving onto anything else.
- Ask for help when needed: Reach out to family members or friends who might be willing to lend a helping hand when things get hectic.
Creating Meaningful Memories
While life may seem overwhelming now, it will fly by and it's important to create time for yourself and your family to create lasting memories. Below are some ideas for creating great memories as a new mom:
- Plan regular ‘date nights’: Even if these days have to be at home, you can plan mini-dates with your significant other—buy a bottle of wine, make dinner together, or rent a movie and make popcorn! Having something special to look forward to each month can help you enjoy the moments of motherhood.
- Capture the moment: Documenting your baby’s milestones with photos or journals is a great way to remember these moments in time.
- Create a keepsake: Have fun with crafts and creating keepsakes with your baby like handprint paintings, sleep bags, t-shirts, blankets.
- Get creative: Find ways to make special memories that fit within your family traditions—start a holiday tradition like decorating cookies for Christmas or carving pumpkins for Halloween every year, that both you and your baby can enjoy together!
Being a new mom can be a daunting yet rewarding experience. Gently give yourself the space to navigate these new waters as it will take time to adapt to the new role of motherhood. Don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t getting it right. Every mom’s journey is unique, and you’ll figure it out as you go!